Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tax season brings out the traditional in millennials

For all the talk about Millennials being mavericks, a recent study shows this group is surprisingly traditional when it comes to tax season.

Research among taxpayers shows Millennials (people under age 35) are poster children for the model ‘voluntary taxpayer’.

  • Millennials attitudes toward taxes in general track with their parents. 76% believe it’s very important for every citizen to pay taxes.
  • Millennials don’t just pay on time, they pay earlier than other age groups.
  • When they get their refunds, they tend to sock the money away into savings.

The research, published by Voccii – a leading research and brand strategy firm based in Charlotte, NC - reveals Millennials have a hope of turning out just like their parents - only better.

“We wanted to find out more about how Millennials behave during tax season,” said Voccii principal and research director Gayle Ireland. “The results were a surprise. One might assume Millennials chafe at this ultimate government reach, but that was not the case at all. They appear to be quite traditional in both attitude and action when it comes to taxes.”

Voccii’s research into tax behavior and attitudes showed that Millennials are more than prompt. The vast majority of Millennials get their taxes done quite early. Less than 2% wait until April 15 to finish. The majority – 60% - finish their tax work at least a month early, on or before March 15. The remainder finish during or before the first week in April.

Nearly half of all taxpayers surveyed said they prefer to file their taxes as early as possible, even if they owed money – and Millennials are 1.5 times more likely to say this compared to their older counterparts (54% of Millennials, compared to 36% of those 35 or older).

Millennials are just as likely as those over 35 to do their own taxes (about 40% of each group do their own taxes).  Familiar programs, like TurboTax or Quicken, are the norm for all ages (used by about 77% of both age groups who prepare their own taxes). But Millennials won’t pay for software if they don’t have to - they are twice as likely as taxpayers over 35 to look for free software or online services.  (41% of Millennials vs 22% of 35+ use free software/services).      

Half of the participants in the study said preparing taxes is either ‘challenging’ or ‘very challenging.’ However, this younger group of taxpayers tends to find it a bit easier to navigate the process than their parents, on average describing it as “not very challenging.” Nonetheless many do not like the task. Almost 40% of Millennials admit they don’t like doing their taxes, compared to 30% of the more “experienced taxpayers” 35 or older.

When it comes to refunds, two-thirds of Millennials expect to get funds back from the government (a bit more than those over 35). With that money, they say they will either save or pay bills at the same rate as older taxpayers. It may not be surprising, however, that they are twice as likely as other taxpayers to use some of the money to treat themselves and their family.   

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