Filling out income tax returns can be complicated, but a lot of us make it harder on ourselves by stalling until (or even after) the last minute, or by slacking off on the number-crunching. When it comes to taxes, though, laziness can cost you in the form of fees, penalties or even an audit.
According to the new MasterCard Tax Season Survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 13% of more than 2,200 survey respondents say they’ve considered blowing off their tax obligations because filling out all those forms is just too complicated. Another 17% admit they just guess at some of the numbers they enter on their returns, even though they know this could put them in the IRS’s crosshairs for an audit.
Maybe it’s that hassle factor that leads so many of us to procrastinate. The survey says 10% of Americans won’t file until April; 2% will wait until the due date. An additional 2% of filers are already planning to miss this year’s April 17 deadline, while another 6% admit they have no idea when they’re going to get around to filing.
An increasing number of taxpayers who owe Uncle Sam — nearly one in five — say they plan to pay their taxes this year with a credit or debit card. While this is easier than filling out a check and running to the post office, that convenience will cost you, especially for the 11% who say they plan to use a credit card.
While the IRS doesn’t penalize you for paying with a card, the services they use to process those payments do tack on a fee. For debit cards, it’s around $4; credit cards cost around 2% of the total. And of course, if you don’t pay the balance off before the due date, you’ll also have to pay interest.
About 1% of respondents say they simply will not pay the income taxes they owe. Really, people? The IRS does know how to find you; you don’t want to make them come looking.