2021 Tax Season An Uncertain Time For Many U.S. Taxpayers

CHICAGO, March 29, 2021 – More than a quarter of U.S. taxpayers—26 percent—say tax time is going to be more complicated this year, with roughly a third—32 percent—saying they are unsure whether they will receive a refund or owe the Internal Revenue Service.

“Tax season can be a stressful time for many people living in the United States. This year it is even more complicated due to the increase in unemployment insurance payments, working from home, and the stimulus check distribution intended to help people get through the pandemic,” said Angela Fontes, vice president of the Economics, Justice, and Society department at NORC at the University of Chicago. “Some taxpayers may not know how these things will affect how much they owe or will receive from the government, or how to factor them in when filing their federal returns.”

The new survey data from NORC at the University of Chicago show that twice as many households (36 percent) with incomes over $100,000 expect filing taxes to be a complicated process as households earning less than $30,000 (18 percent).

Higher Income Households Expect Greater Complexitiy This Tax Year

The self-funded poll was conducted between February 25 and March 1, 2021, during a monthly Omnibus survey. It included 1,076 interviews with a nationally representative sample (margin of error +/- 4.09 percent) of adult Americans age 18+ using the AmeriSpeak Panel. AmeriSpeak® is NORC’s probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population. A comprehensive listing of all study questions, tabulations of top-level results for each question, and detailed methodology is available here.

About the AmeriSpeak Spotlight on Personal Finance
NORC at the University of Chicago’s AmeriSpeak® Spotlight on Personal Finance is a series of quick-hitting national surveys on issues vital to finance and investing, conducted using AmeriSpeak’s probability-based panel.

About NORC at the University of Chicago
NORC at the University of Chicago conducts research and analysis that decision-makers trust. As a nonpartisan research organization and a pioneer in measuring and understanding the world, we have studied almost every aspect of the human experience and every major news event for more than eight decades. Today, we partner with government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world to provide the objectivity and expertise necessary to inform the critical decisions facing society.

Contact: For more information, contact Eric Young at NORC at
young-eric@norc.org or (703) 217-6814 (cell).