Accountants are viewed as sometimes helpful by a little over half of taxpayers, according to a new survey, although some see accountants as overpriced or even a scam.

The survey, by the consumer finance site WalletHub, found that 50.1 percent of the 500 taxpayers polled said accountants are sometimes helpful, and 24 percent said their accountants are a good deal. However, 21.4 percent of them view accountants as overpriced, and a small minority, 4.5 percent, see accountants as a “scam.”

Taxpayer perceptions of accountants

Their biggest tax day fear is identity theft, cited by 32 percent of the survey respondents. Making a mathematical mistake on their tax return came in a close second, cited by 30 percent of the taxpayers. Not having enough money to pay was in third place among the biggest tax day fears, cited by 20 percent of the respondents. Getting audited was the top concern of only 18 percent of those surveyed.

Doing taxes is not a favorite activity for most of the poll respondents. When asked what they would rather be doing, 73 percent said they would prefer to be doing laundry, 56 percent said they would rather cut the grass, and 12 percent would prefer to spend the night in jail.

When asked who they like more than the IRS, former President Obama topped the list, at 56 percent, followed by Pope Francis at 50 percent. However, the IRS looked good compared to O.J. Simpson, at 7 percent, and former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle, at 4 percent.

When asked whether President Trump’s tax reforms would save them money, 65.3 percent of the taxpayers polled said no.

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.