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Tax filing in the AI era: navigating trust and trends in 2024

Tuesday, April 2, 2024
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As the tax season looms, understanding how individuals are approaching their tax filings can provide valuable insights for businesses and consumers alike.

We conducted a survey to examine the latest trends and preferences surrounding tax filings. Our recent survey sheds light on the choices, influences, and concerns of taxpayers in an era where taxes can feel more confusing than ever. 

The survey, conducted by Attest with a sample size of 999 respondents across the US on March 28 - 29, reveals diverse tax filing preferences and the significant role of technology in decision-making processes. 

Survey Results:

When asked how respondents plan to file taxes this year (multiple selections apply):

  • 32% will use tax preparation software (e.g., TurboTax, H&R Block

  • 24% will hire a tax professional/accountant

  • 23% will use a free online tax service

  • 11% haven’t decided yet

  • 5% will seek help from a tax assistance program (e.g., VITA, TCE for the elderly)

  • 4% will file manually using paper forms

  • 2% noted other

When asked what influenced their decision to file with this method, respondents said (multiple selections apply):

  • It’s how they’ve always done it (55%)

  • It was recommended by family or friends (29%)

  • Via reviews or ratings online (15%)

  • Guidance from a financial advisor or tax professional (12%)

  • A Google/Bing search (10%)

  • From advertisements (9%)

  • Other noted (3%)

52% of respondents have already filed taxes this year, but for those who have not, they shared the primary reason for having waited this long:

  • 13% are not confident in filing their taxes

  • 12% say if they owe money to the government, they likely won’t be able to afford it

  • 8% don’t know where to find resources to file accurately

  • 7% say if they owe money to the government, they won’t be able to afford household items they need

  • 9% noted other

The following will be impacted by the outcome of respondents taxes this year (multiple selections apply):

  • Groceries and household items (35%)

  • Travel/Vacations (31%)

  • Dining out (31%)

  • Delaying other bill payments (credit cards, loans, etc.) (26%)

  • Gas and transportation (25%)

  • Streaming services & subscriptions (18%)

  • Putting off medical/healthcare appointments (15%)

  • Daycare/childcare (7%)

  • Other noted (5%)

  • Nothing will be impacted (13%)

This year, there is news that AI is being implemented by companies that commonly support tax preparation and filing. With this in mind, the following is how respondents feel about trusting AI to help file taxes:

  • 50% are unlikely to trust companies that use AI to support filing taxes

  • 55% are likely to not trust AI to give advice to file taxes accurately

If respondents do not receive a sizable tax return this year (multiple selections apply):  

  • 45% say it will impact other purchase decisions

  • 31% say if they don’t receive a tax refund, it will not impact them financially

  • 21% won’t be able to afford household items (i.e., groceries)

  • 20% would consider delaying bill payments towards cost-of-living

  • 11% would consider delaying loan payments

  • 1% said none applies to them

These insights help show the diverse concerns that taxpayers hold, especially when technology and personal finances intersect more than ever. Even without putting things like AI into the mix, it’s no secret that taxes are incredibly challenging and confusing for consumers in the US. These trends can help both businesses and consumers by helping consumers understand where their confusions and concerns align with other consumers and helping businesses better educate and guide their customers through each tax season. 


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