Unbelievable Things Americans Would Do to Get Out of Paying Taxes

A recent survey finds some Americans are willing to go to the extreme if it means not paying taxes.

Finishing your tax return only to find out you owe money to Uncle Sam can be stressful, to say the least. But what if you could get out of paying taxes altogether?

GOBankingRates asked more than 1,000 people what they would do to escape their taxes. Find out some of the craziest things Americans would do to avoid taxes.

One-Third Would Do This Embarrassing Act to Avoid Taxes

One-third (32 percent) of respondents to the GOBankingRates survey said they’d gladly get up and perform five karaoke songs in front of their company if they could avoid paying taxes. This choice was the clear winner in the survey for both females and males in every age group.

But some Americans are willing to go to more extreme circumstances to get out of paying taxes:

  • 18% are willing to go without WiFi for one year
  • 13% are willing to gain 20 pounds
  • 11% are willing to have their web browsing history made public
  • 5% are willing to smell like a skunk for six months
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It’s clear many Americans wouldn’t mind getting embarrassed if it meant paying less in taxes. However, some Americans are willing to put their finances at risk in order to reduce their tax burden. This survey also asked respondents if they would do the following to avoid paying taxes: have their credit score reduced by 50 points and give up half of their retirement savings.

Sixteen percent are willing to take a 50-point hit to their credit score, even though as little as 20 points can make the difference in getting a better interest rate that will save thousands over the life of a home or auto loan. And only 5 percent of Americans would give up half of their retirement savings. Such a small percentage is an encouraging sign about Americans’ savings habits, considering GOBankingRates 2017 Retirement Savings survey found one in three Americans still has $0 saved for retirement.

Gen Xers More Willing to Sacrifice Finances to Avoid Paying Taxes

Although people of all ages saw singing for their co-workers as the best of all options to get out of paying taxes, life perspectives are much different on other matters.

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For example, GenXers (ages 35 to 54) are the most willing to lower their credit score by 50 points. Young GenXers (ages 35 to 44) are also slightly more willing than the other age groups to sacrifice half of their retirement savings, although only 7 percent chose this option.

GenXers are also the most willing to have their web browsing history made public, even more so than the 65-plus age group. However, seniors are more willing than any other age group to go without WiFi for a year.

Young millennials (ages 18 to 24) also have their preferences. They are the age group most willing to gain 20 pounds to avoid taxes.

Also See: How Much Americans Would Pay to Magically Lose Weight

Southerners More Willing to Take a Credit Score Drop

Where a person lives also influences their opinion on the best way to avoid paying taxes. Folks in the Northeast and Midwest are the most enthusiastic about singing in front of coworkers, with 41 percent and 35 percent choosing this option, respectively. This answer choice was also overwhelming popular among Western survey respondents, with 33 percent choosing this option.

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Meanwhile, 29 percent of Southerners are willing to sing karaoke. But a significant portion is more willing to lose 50 points on their credit score if it means not paying taxes. Twenty-one percent expressed this as the best option compared to just 16 percent of people in the Midwest, 15 percent in the West and 13 percent in the Northeast. But this finding isn’t particularly surprising, considering Southern residents have some of the lowest credit scores in the country.

People from the South are also the most willing to gain 20 pounds. Eating more scrumptious Southern cuisine to avoid paying taxes appealed to 15 percent of survey respondents. And with 21 percent choosing this option, Westerners favor going without WiFi for a year more so than any other region.

Up Next: 79% of Americans Don’t Know These Crucial Tax Law Changes

Methodology: The GOBankingRates’ survey posed the question to 1,008 respondents, “Which of the following would you do to get out of paying your taxes?” Respondents could select one of the following answer options: 1) Be stuck with skunk stench for 6 months, 2) Perform 5 karaoke songs for your company, 3) Have your web browsing history made public, 4) Go without WiFi for 1 year, 5) Have your credit score reduced by 50 points, 6) Gain 20 pounds and 7) Give up half of your retirement savings. Responses were collected through a Google Consumer Survey conducted March 6 – 8, 2017, and responses are representative of the U.S. online population.

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About the Author

Jodi Thornton-O'Connell

Jodi O’Connell is a freelance wordsmith based in Sedona, Arizona, who writes about everything from vacation vagary and adventure sports to real estate and pets. She spent more than a decade in Arizona’s real estate industry advising first-time homebuyers and commercial investors before indulging her passion for the written word on a full-time basis. Her articles appear on websites as diverse as U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, Hipmunk, Roots Rated, and Travelocity.

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