Findings also show that Most Americans Refuse to Cheat; Majority Value Taxes and the Services they Provide
MINNEAPOLIS – April 6, 2010 – As the old saying goes, there are two certainties in life – death and taxes. But which is least enjoyable, especially considering state and federal tax payments are due next week? According to a recent survey* from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz), a majority of people (51 percent) indicated that attending a funeral is their least enjoyable activity, surpassing those who ranked paying taxes as their least favorite (21 percent). But, tax season still leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many Americans. In fact, paying taxes came in just two percent behind visiting the dentist (23 percent), and far ahead of visiting the in-laws (five percent).
Yet, despite the obvious displeasure associated with paying taxes, a majority of people see the value in the services they provide and would not cheat on their taxes, even if there was no chance that they’d ever be caught. When asked if they would prefer to live in a world without taxes and the services provided by tax money, 57 percent responded “no.” In addition, 86 percent indicated that they would be ethical and honest with their tax payments, despite facing no repercussions for cheating.
Save, Spend or Invest
Nearly two out of three Americans (62 percent) expect to get a tax refund this year, but figuring out what to do with it can be challenging, as indicated by the variety of ways survey respondents said they will use their money. Forty-two percent plan to save it, followed by 29 percent who will spend it all. Only six percent said they plan to invest their refund, with most choosing stocks (45 percent) and bonds (43 percent) as the places they hope to grow that money.
Of those who plan to spend their refund dollars, 54 percent will pay off bills, followed by 35 percent who will spend on general purchases like home improvements, redecorating, appliances/electronics and clothing. Females are more likely to spend the money paying their bills, while males are more likely to spend their refund on hobbies.
“While most people don’t love paying taxes, many look forward to a refund this time of year and are contemplating what to do with the money,” said Allianz Chief Marketing Officer Nancy Jones. “We encourage people who will be receiving tax refunds to consider saving at least a portion for their retirement and to look for retirement products that can provide guaranteed income.”
Top Tax Season Worries
When asked what they are most worried about during tax season, a surprising 50 percent indicated that they have no worries at all. Of those who do have concerns, the majority are worried about having to pay more than expected (22 percent), followed by those who don’t want to miss out on refund money due to incorrect filing (15 percent) and people who fear being audited (12 percent).
One thing that doesn’t seem to be affecting people’s plans for their tax refunds is the recent market crisis. A majority of those surveyed indicated that the lessons from the crisis would have no impact on their refund plans – with 77 percent choosing to save and spend like they did last year. Only 23 percent of respondents indicated they will change their behavior due to the market crisis by saving all of their refund (six percent), saving more than last year (13 percent), or saving less (four percent).
Founded in 1896, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America provides an array of annuity and life insurance products in the U.S. through a nationwide network of independent distribution. The company is part of Allianz SE, a global financial services organization that is the 20th largest company in the world based on revenue (Fortune Global 500, August 2009), employing nearly 155,000 people worldwide.
*Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America conducted an eNation survey (+/- 3.1% margin of error) through Synovate Research in March 2010 with 1,000 respondents. Full results are available upon request.