John L. Swigert, Jr., the Apollo 13 astronaut who went to the moon in 1970, recalls how
his job almost interfered with filing his federal income-tax forms: "On the second
day of Apollo 13, April 12, I asked Mission Control to begin work to get me an extension
of the filing date for my income tax. Since I had been a last-minute substitution on the
Apollo 13 flight, things had moved so fast that I didn't have a chance to file my
The IRS didn't have to make a special ruling to grant Swigert a two-month extension
because of his I'm-on-my-way-to-the-moon excuse, though. There was already a regulation
that provided an automatic extension for anyone out of the country.
Clyde Haberman and Albin Krebs, New York Times.
When you made out your income tax return this year, we trust you remembered that it's
better to give than to deceive.
Bits & Pieces, May 1990, p. 17.
Research & Statistics
An IRS funded survey showed:
- 1/5 of filers admit to understating income,
- 1/10 to overstating deductions,
- 1/6 claim dependents illegally,
- 50% said they thought everyone would cheat if they felt they could get away with it.
- The more tax evaders a person knows, the more likely he is to cheat.
Shlomo Maital, Psychology Today, March, 1982.