Even in normal times, many tax filers scramble to navigate the continually changing tax code. These are not normal times, which only adds to taxpayers’ confusion and anxiety.
A recent survey from TaxAct, which provides online and digital tax software, found that 44% of Americans had made at least one mistake on a tax return at some point in their lives; 57% of men said they had done so, compared with 32% of women.
The survey also uncovered a correlation between the approach individuals take to filing their returns and their tendency to make a mistake.
Thirty-three percent of respondents who always self-file reported that they had made mistakes at least once on their tax return, while 48% of those who rely on others to file their return for them reported a mistake.
Furthermore, 31% of survey participants said confusion over the tax code was a big reason they elected not to file their own taxes. And of those who reported making mistakes on a past return, a surprising 57% described their approach to doing their taxes as “slow and steady.”
Wakefield Research conducted an online survey among 1,000 Americans 18 and older between Feb. 12 and Feb. 19 — one month before the Internal Revenue Service announced the extended tax deadline owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sixty-four percent of taxpayers in the survey expressed concern that they were not getting the biggest refund they could.
The survey results indicated why. Ninety-five percent of Americans did not fully understand the changes to tax laws that could directly affect their refund.
Only 46% knew about the recent change to the standard deduction, while just 22% knew that personal exemptions have been eliminated. Many filers were also confused about individual tax deductions, which vary considerably state by state.