Single men more likely to cheat on taxes

March 30, 2011 at 7:53 AM ET

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Who are the biggest tax cheats in America? Single men under age 45.

Sixty-four percent of people who admit to fudging their taxes were single men, and 55 percent were under 45, according to a recent survey by DDB Worldwide Communications Group. The good news: Only 15 percent of Americans admitted to cheating the tax man.

An inability to smartly manage money appears to be another characteristic of self-identified cheaters − 42 percent said their financial situation was "one missed paycheck away from disaster," the survey found. Cheaters are less likely to save money, with 45 percent describing themselves as "a spender rather than a saver."

"We've found that there are no major differences in income between tax cheaters and noncheaters," said James Lou, a strategist with DDB. "However, there are significant differences in how they make their income last and how they view themselves."

It comes as no surprise the survey found that those trying to fool the IRS are more likely than their noncheating counterparts to engage in shady behavior.

"Their willingness to cheat is not limited to their taxes but spans a wide range of situations and behavior where they are looking to get away with something," Lou said.

How cheaters compare with noncheaters:

  • Taking money from their child's piggy bank: 28% vs. 8%
  • Working a job under the table while getting unemployment: 73% vs. 20%
  • Keeping the wrong change given to them by a cashier: 71% vs. 3%
  • Asking a friend to pose as an ex-boss on a reference check: 59% vs. 13%
  • Lying about their income to qualify for free government aid: 51% vs. 5%
  • Lying about finding something in their food to get a free meal: 26% vs. 3%
  • Wearing an outfit to an event and then returning it: 46% vs. 14%
  • Keeping a $20 bill they saw somebody drop: 31% vs. 12%
  • Shoplifting: 37% vs. 3%