4/12/05 FOX Poll: Majority Uses Accountant To Do Taxes; Many Think Friends Cheat

More than three times as many Americans have someone else prepare their taxes (search) as use a computer program or a calculator to do the job. A majority agrees taxes are too high, and most say even more annoying than how much they pay is how the government spends the money. Slightly more think a friend or neighbor cheats on their taxes than think they are honest taxpayers. These are just some of the findings from the latest FOX News national poll.

As the April 15 tax filing deadline approaches, the poll asked Americans how they prepare their taxes: 61 percent say they use an accountant or a tax preparer, 19 percent use a computer software program and 16 percent use a good-old-fashioned calculator and pencil. Those most likely to use a software program are baby boomers and high-income earners, while the people most likely to use a calculator and a pencil are seniors over age 65.

Opinion Dynamics Corporation (search) conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News on March 29-30.

Four in 10 Americans say the amount they pay in taxes is "about right," and 3 percent say "too low." And even though a small majority thinks the taxes they pay are too high (54 percent), it’s really how the money is spent that bothers people. There is widespread agreement that when it comes to taxes, it is more troublesome how the government spends tax dollars (71 percent) than how much individuals are required to pay (12 percent).

"It is interesting that while people complain about how the government spends their money, other surveys have shown most people cannot correctly tell us what proportion of the money goes to any particular areas," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "People are convinced that much of their money is wasted, but this is clearly more a general feeling than a reaction to any particular spending program."

How do people plan to spend their refund checks? About a third say they will use the money to pay bills, 22 percent will put it in savings, 8 percent will invest it and 7 percent plan to buy something new. Nearly one in five say they "never" receive a tax refund.

A 38 percent plurality thinks at least one of their friends or neighbors cheats on their taxes, but almost as many — 35 percent — disagree and another 28 percent are unsure or are unwilling to venture an opinion.

• PDF: Click here for full poll results.