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Which age group is most apprehensive about their taxes?

As a service to our readers, our blog has been maintaining a sort of informal countdown to Tax Day 2016, the deadline for filing tax returns with the IRS, over the last several months. In keeping with these efforts, it's important to note that we are now less than one week away from Monday, April 18, meaning there's only days left to get your affairs in order.

Interestingly enough, a recent survey by the financial website NerdWallet has found that there is at least one group for whom this looming tax deadline is especially frightening: millennials.

Indeed, the survey found that an astounding 80 percent of millennials, meaning those individuals between the ages of 18-34, were afraid of underpaying, overpaying or making some other type of error on their tax return.

While this unease with filing tax returns may seem odd to those in other age demographics, experts indicate that it actually makes sense given that not only are younger people generally less experienced with the intricacies of taxes and finances, but that many millennials work in what is known as the "gig economy."

This means that unlike their predecessors, many millennials don't earn a living through a traditional 9-5 job, but rather through a series of jobs, many of which may require sophisticated tax planning. For instance, since contract employment doesn't automatically withhold taxes, workers would need to take steps to ensure that they remain compliant with tax laws and are making the necessary payments.          

It's worth noting that the survey also discovered the following about millennials when it comes to their taxes:

  • Less than 10 percent are willing to contact the IRS when they have a tax question, preferring instead to ask family and friends
  • Roughly 25 percent will seek assistance from a tax professional as opposed to 38 percent of all other age groups

While it's understandable why millennials might be reluctant to contact the IRS directly or even enlist the services of a tax professional -- time and money are most likely motivating factors -- it's important for them to perhaps reconsider this stance once the IRS has taken action against them, as the stakes are incredibly high.

Indeed, taxpayer of all ages who are contacted by the IRS over a tax debt or an impending audit should seriously consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

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