Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Looking in the wrong place...

How do farmers stack up against other occupations when it comes to income tax honesty?

From one frame of reference - income reporting - kinda below average. At least we're better than truckers and contractors.

But this is only one side of the equation. It is the deductions of expenses to get to taxable income that is the true ethical challenge. Since most farmers use tax preparers this is somewhat "supervised", but I suspect if more of us used tax software and did our own accounting, the results might be even more unflattering.

Business income reporting has a large scope for potential underreporting, because the I.R.S. cannot as easily match third-party transaction reports to business tax returns the way it can with, say, employee W-2s.For example, the construction trades do not appear to value integrity as much as other occupations do – Dr. Vela found the occupation to be ranked third from the bottom, based on the Occupational Information Network. Construction is also one of the top occupations in terms of underreporting business income.Another finding is that the much-disparaged legal occupation is near the top in terms of valuing integrity, and that lawyers underreport a relatively small fraction of their business income.Dr. Vela also examined other times of tax cheating and other demographic factors that were correlated with it, such as education (education and tax compliance were positively correlated).He concluded that taxpayer integrity cannot be taken for granted, and that it evolves over time according to changes in a nation’s education and occupational structure. [More]
Not that I am using me as an example (pdf), of course.

Of course, that pickup is 100% business.

And those tools.

And the 'gator.

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