Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 21:21 EDT

DDB Life Style Study® Discovers the Secret Lives of Americans Who Admittedly Cheat on Their Taxes

April 12, 2012

CHICAGO, April 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — In the midst of tax season and intensified political campaigning, news headlines are dominated by contentious and partisan issues surrounding income taxes–who is responsible for what percentage, whether the rates are justified, and if the tax code should be revisited. No matter how much most Americans complain about the burden of taxes, the majority of Americans claim honesty when it comes to filing their taxes. A recent DDB Life Style Study survey uncovered that while only 7% of Americans concede that they are likely to cheat on their taxes, the “tax cheats” share some disconcerting overall characteristics.

Demographically, the biggest difference between cheats and noncheats this year is still gender (http://www.ddb.com/newsline/tax_chart_short.jpg). Of admitted cheats, 72% are men. While 55% of tax cheats are under 45, somewhat surprisingly there are no other significant demographic differences between cheats and noncheats.

Based on the data from the DDB Life Style Study, the dishonesty that characterizes those who are tax cheats is, however, evident across many other chronic wanton behaviors (http://www.ddb.com/newsline/tax_chart_long.jpg), illustrating a skewed moral compass and an inflated sense of entitlement. For example, tax cheats are more likely than noncheats to keep the wrong change given to them by a cashier, take money from their child’s piggy bank that they don’t intend to return, and value their own happiness over that of others.

“The behavioral patterns of those who evade their taxes illustrate that tax cheats also have an inflated sense of entitlement compared to those who dutifully obey the law and pay their taxes in full,” said Denise Kalfayan Delahorne, Group Strategy Director at DDB Chicago. “Tax cheats are more likely to consider themselves as ‘better’ and ‘more attractive’ than most people, and tend to value their own happiness ahead of others including their own children.”

Tax cheats are more likely than their noncheating counterparts to engage in dishonest or unethical behavior such as:

For download:

Tax Cheat Infographic – Long Version:



Tax Cheat Infographic – Short Version:



                                           Tax Cheats      Non Tax Cheats
                                           ----------      --------------
    Keep the wrong change given to them by
     a cashier                                         53%                 23%
    --------------------------------------            ---                 ---
    Feign liking somebody to be treated to
     dinner                                            31%                  6%
    --------------------------------------            ---                 ---
    Fabricate part of a resume                         41%                  6%
    --------------------------                        ---                 ---
    Work a job under the table while
     maintaining eligibility for
     unemployment benefits                             60%                 13%
    --------------------------------                  ---                 ---
    Regift something rarely used and pass
     it off as new                                     47%                 19%
    -------------------------------------             ---                 ---
    Take credit for someone else's work to
     help get ahead                                    24%                  6%
    --------------------------------------            ---                 ---
    Find a decadent life of "sex, drugs,
     and rock-and-roll" appealing                      39%                 16%
    ------------------------------------              ---                 ---
    Assert a superiority complex, claiming
     to be better than most people                     52%                 29%
    --------------------------------------            ---                 ---
    Park in a handicapped space if no
     other places are closer                           26%                  6%
    ---------------------------------                 ---                 ---
    Seek out the rightful owner if they
     uncovered an unclaimed $100 bill                  21%                 38%
    -----------------------------------               ---                 ---
    Declare they would put themselves
     ahead of their kids                               40%                 18%
    ---------------------------------                 ---                 ---
    Assert vanity claiming to be more
     attractive than most people                       47%                 27%
    ---------------------------------                 ---                 ---
    Value own happiness over that of
     others                                            51%                 29%
    --------------------------------                  ---                 ---

About DDB

DDB Worldwide Communications Group Inc (www.ddb.com) ranks among the top five consolidated advertising and marketing services global networks, according to Advertising Age. DDB emphasizes Social Creativity to grow the value and influence of brands around the world by creating ideas that people want to play with, participate in and pass along. The agency is consistently one of the most awarded at the Cannes Festival of Creativity and was recognized by The Gunn Report as one of the Top 3 Global Networks for 10 of the last 12 years. DDB was also recently named the Spikes Asia Network of the Year for the second consecutive year and the Eurobest Network of the Year for the third consecutive year. DDB Worldwide is part of Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC) and consists of more than 200 offices in over 90 countries.


Jeff Swystun: 212-415-2186
Elena Weinstein: 212-415-2191

SOURCE DDB Worldwide Communications Group Inc.

Source: PR Newswire