47% of Tax Filers Delay Filing Returns

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Tuesday, April 9th, 2024

TaxAct® today released new research that showcases the stress American tax filers feel as Tax Day looms. The State of Taxpayer Stress in America highlights how procrastination gets in the way of starting the process of filing a return—even when people expect to get a tax refund. Why delay filing and retrieval of that sweet refund? Stress.

Per the survey, on average, individuals will spend 8 hours stressing over their annual tax preparation this year alone. That's longer than a cross country flight, binge watching half a season on streaming TV, or cooking a pot roast. The tension has a snowball effect. Nearly half of respondents (43%) claimed they spend as much or more time procrastinating than the time it takes to prepare their taxes.

The survey data is part of TaxAct's detailed look at the emotions and behaviors that affect how Americans file their taxes. The insights are based on a national survey of 1,100 tax filers ages 18 and older.


  • The survey found 47% of tax filers delay the task. Although some invent creative excuses, for many it is as simple as wanting to put off the inevitable. One imaginative survey respondent shared his go-to defense is "I was at my mother-in-law's funeral again."

  • When they finally do get around to filing, 61% of tax filers take at least one break from the process before returning to file and taking their victory lap.


  • Members of Gen Z (aged 18-27) join Millennials (aged 28-43) as being the generations most likely to put off filing their taxes, spending about 30-40% more time procrastinating than filing, compared to the older generations surveyed.

  • For Millennials, a desire to delay filing might stem from reaching new life stages, such as marriage or homeownership, that can complicate their tax profile. For example, Millennials surveyed are more likely to have dependents (52%) than members of other generations (33%). They also have unique financial situations. While dealing with positive changes in their net worth,1 disclosing that income can be trickier as they are also more likely to be freelancers,2 participate in the gig economy,3 and report student debt.4

How TaxAct Can Help Streamline Tax Filing

TaxAct can make taxes less of a hassle so filers can get to the feeling of sweet relief after filing. It offers features and benefits that filers look for in a DIY tax software including ease of use (50%), help with maximizing their refund (48%) and confidence in accurate tax calculations (40%). These resources below can help filers reach the submission stage with less stress:

  • $100k Accuracy Guarantee: No need to research jail time for tax mistakes! You can count on TaxAct software to be 100% correct, backed by $100,000.*

  • Simple-to-Use Interface: Tax Act's straightforward interface streamlines the filing process so you can get to that feeling of accomplishment faster.

  • Self-Employment Calculator: Self-employed filers navigating the gig economy can benefit from access to this easy-to-use tool that can help remove the guesswork from filing.

  • Xpert Assist: Don't want to go it alone? Don't worry. Add Xpert Assist to your experience which allows you to easily connect one-on-one with TaxAct's team of experts so you can get the guidance you need to file with confidence.**

There is no wrong way to get started. In fact, 22% shared they still use a shoebox or junk drawer to compile necessary files. Chip clips and storage in a water pitcher also make the list of prep tools. Some (14%) said they just dive in with no real system for organizing tax documents at all. Whatever the approach, count on TaxAct.com to get past paralysis and closer to getting them "over with."