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National Revenue

Altruist or outlaw: What kind of taxpayer are you? Add to ...

How likely are you to cheat on your taxes?

And, more importantly, can Ottawa talk you out of it?

The Canada Revenue Agency is enormously preoccupied with these questions, particularly when Ottawa is trying to erase a massive budget deficit.

To this end, the tax collector commissioned a market research study that sorted Canadians into categories, based on their likelihood of ducking taxes owed and their reasons for complying or cheating.

It turns out that all taxpayers in Canada can be slotted into six groups, from “law abiders” to “outlaws.”

Nearly half of us – 49 per cent – are relatively unlikely to fudge our returns.

Another 13 per cent of us are likely irredeemable cheaters, resistant to warnings or exhortations to stop evading taxes.

This leaves a great middle mass of taxpayers – nearly 40 per cent of the filing population – who vary in their inclination to seek opportunities to pay cash under the table to avoid taxes.

This grouping of potential cheats includes “rationalizers,” “underground economists” and “over-taxed opportunists,” according to the July, 2011, research report that sliced and diced taxpayers into the CRA’s six segments.

These taxpayers are the most likely to be discouraged from cheating by targeted messaging from the federal taxman, the report says.

“The top potential motivators tend to be understanding their tax responsibilities, fear of penalties and knowing how their tax dollars are spent,” it says.

The study surveyed more than 3,880 adults between Jan. 29 and Feb. 28, 2011.

Click here to learn what kind of taxpayer you are.

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