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30% of Americans would rather "eat a bowl of insects" than file tax returns

Tax return day 2020 still a mystery to alarming number of Americans
(Image credit: iStock/Getty)

An alarming number of Americans don't know the most important date of the 2020 tax season, a new study has revealed. Conducted by OnePoll, the survey was commissioned by credit building company Self (H/T New York Post) and found that just 27% of US citizens can correctly identify April 15 as the day when tax filings are due. 

That’s not all, though. Over 50% of respondents revealed that they waited until deadline day to file their taxes out of fear they owe the government money, while 41% admitted buzzer-beating due to sheer procrastination (if you need help, here are our picks of the best tax software options).

“If you need help filing, look into resources in your local community or online that can help give you guidance to correctly file your taxes on. Getting it late or getting it wrong could cost you in fees or penalties down the road," a Self spokesperson said.

Tax jargon was also found to befuddle many of us, with the poll finding that 29% of Americans thought a ‘split refund’ was when a tax return was divided between two spouses – while 17% thought it meant receiving their return in separate instalment.

In fact, a split refund is when you divide your tax return between up to three different accounts. The worrying statistics points to a simple truth: taxes are confusing, and many of us have questions about what we need to do to and when.

There’s no shame in that, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to 2020 tax returns, which is loaded with important information including key dates, jargon busters, and much more.

Insects and in-laws both beat tax day 2020

We all know that taxes are a pain, but the extent to which we loathe this particular time of the year is startling. According to the study, 30% of people would rather eat a bowl of insects than file their taxes, while 59% rate the experience as more stressful than seeing their in-laws. And if you are the in-laws, and you still need to file taxes, check out our tax return tips for senior citizens.

But while it’s easy to be lighthearted about this tiresome time of the year, the importance of obtaining your tax refund shouldn’t be underestimated.

Many Americans are relying on their tax return to cover their holiday spending (35%), while 44% are planning to use their refund to pay off credit card bills. A further 36% have their tax return pre-emptively set aside to fund a holiday.

By way of advice, Self added: “If you’re anticipating a large refund this year, be sure to have a plan in place for how to use that money. Give every dollar a job, whether it’s toward debt or savings or even a little to enjoy yourself." In total, a third of respondents agreed with the statement that they were "very dependent" on receiving their tax return in a timely fashion.

If you're struggling with money, our guide to the best credit repair services will be of help. And you can always monitor your score with the best credit report services too.

A technology journalist with nearly 10 years of experience, James is the former News and Features Editor at Trusted Reviews, and has also served as regional Editor of Lifehacker. His articles have been spotted on sites ranging from The Sun to InStyle, but his true love is shiny things and the story behind them. An avid golfer in his spare time, you'll also regularly catch him hovering over the BBQ listening to Pearl Jam.