Uncle Sam has been given some good news: The vast majority of Americans still believe that you should never cheat on your taxes — or, at least, that’s what they tell the pollsters representing the Internal Revenue Service Oversight Board.

The bad news: The percentage of people who say you should cheat on your income taxes “as much as possible” hit 8 percent in 2011, double what it was in 2010. That’s also higher than any other recent year in which the question was asked.

Another 6 percent of those surveyed said a little cheating here and there is OK.

The oversight board this week released its annual survey of taxpayer’s attitudes about the IRS. The survey was conducted by an outside research firm in August.

For the most part, despite our grumbling, Americans seem to at least accept that taxes are a necessary part of life. Almost everyone surveyed agreed that it is every American’s civic duty to pay taxes, and most people said they thought tax cheats should be held accountable.

Still, that doesn’t mean we all feel the need to be the tax police. About six in 10 people said people have a personal responsibility to report tax cheats.

Americans also seem to think we should pay our fair share of taxes because it’s the right thing to do. Most people said their “personal integrity” had a great deal of influence on whether they report their income honestly.

Other factors, such as a fear of an audit, seemed to have less influence.




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