By PT Staff, published on April 1, 2003 - last reviewed on April 9, 2007
Hiding from the IRS? The most common excuse for avoiding the
taxman is: "I couldn't be bothered." According to a study in
State Tax Notes, one out of three American taxpayers
who intentionally fail to file their taxes are due a refund or owe no
money at all.
Deborah Thomas, at the University of Arkansas looked at a past Arkansas amnesty program, where
noncompliant taxpayers could file their overdue 1040s penalty-free. Some
44 percent of the 1,025 filers explained why they missed the April 15
Among these late-comers, 6 percent did not have the money to pay
their taxes; another 20 percent chose not to pay as a form of protest
against the government; and 17 percent were afraid they would be caught
for not paying in previous years. But the largest number of these late
filers—33 percent—didn't owe a penny.
Why bother filling out the forms? They may feel that the effort to prepare taxes is just too great. Study author Deborah Thomas also
suggests that the best way to encourage more people to turn in their
taxes is to make the whole process less confusing.