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Experts warn almost 80% of youth get tax advice from social media

Data says a majority of young people get financial and tax advice from social media, but experts warn that we can't trust all of it.
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Posted at 8:37 PM, Mar 29, 2023

Tax season is here, and deadlines are quickly approaching, but experts have warned tax payers to be careful with tax advice online. 

Recent data indicates a majority of young people are getting financial and tax advice from social media, a survey found. 

The market research company Prolific compiled data from respondents showing that 79% American millennials and those considered Gen Z have gotten advice about their finances and tax returns from social media. 

The study also found that nearly 80% have found that the prevalence of financial advice on social media has made the topic easier to talk about. 

Respondents said they take tax and financial advice from a number of sources, including the popular social media platform TikTok — with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn coming in on the list behind that. 

Reddit and Youtube topped the list with the most respondents saying they get financial and tax advice from those social media sources. 

The IRS and other experts warn that while there is accurate information that can be found on social media, if it seems too good, beware. 

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The attraction of social media for advice is that it's readily available and searchable from the devices that we use every day. Despite the allure of quick and seemingly trustworthy advice, the IRS said it has seen multiple examples this year of misleadinginformation about the U.S. tax code and how tax filers should submit tax forms. 

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said, "People should remember that there is no secret way to fill out a form and simply get a larger refund that they aren’t entitled to."

A Kiplingerreport details how some on social media have advised filers to fill out an IRS 8944 e-file form meant as a hardship waver. The misinformation claims that those who use the form might be able to receive a tax refund even if they aren't due one. The claim is untrue and experts say it cannot be used to get a larger refund. 

The IRS has published what it calls its "Dirty Dozen" list, which is what the agency has found to be the "worst of the worst" tax scams. 

Tax professionals say that while this is not a list revealing the agency's enforcement priorities, it can be a good guide for social media users to know which clues to watch out for on social media, so they don't fall victim to bad information.