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What Explains Tax Evasion? An Empirical Assessment based on European Data

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  • Edward Christie
  • Mario Holzner

    ()
    (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)

Abstract

This study computes estimates of tax compliance in selected European countries for value added tax, excise tax, personal income tax and social security contributions, using national accounts data together with data on official tax structures and revenues. These estimates are then analysed to explain the differences in compliance rates across European countries and across time. In accordance with the classical models of Allingham-Sandmo and their successors, we find that tax evasion is positively correlated with the tax rate itself. However, we also find support for Bloomquist's hypothesis that higher income inequality leads to higher tax evasion. We also find that the quality of the judicial system plays a role in explaining VAT evasion, confirming general hypotheses on the main drivers of the shadow economy. Finally, we find that our chosen measure of tax complexity is positively correlated with tax compliance for personal income tax, leading us to doubt the soundness of 'flat tax' reforms in transition countries, at least with respect to their impact on compliance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw in its series wiiw Working Papers with number 40.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Publication status: Published as wiiw Working Paper
Handle: RePEc:wii:wpaper:40

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Related research

Keywords: taxation; tax compliance; tax evasion; income inequality; tax complexity; flat tax; transition economies;

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References

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  1. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
  2. Anna Ivanova & Michael Keen & Alexander Klemm, 2005. "The Russian 'flat tax' reform," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 397-444, 07.
  3. repec:att:wimass:9610 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Naomi E. Feldman & Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Estimating tax noncompliance with evidence from unaudited tax returns," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(518), pages 327-352, 03.
  5. Friedrich Schneider & Robert Klinglmair, 2004. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we know?," Economics working papers 2004-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  6. Edward Christie & Mario Holzner, 2005. "Household Tax Compliance in Albania," wiiw Research Reports 316, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  7. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  8. Andrea Gebauer & Chang Woon Nam & Rüdiger Parsche, 2003. "Is the Completion of EU Single Market Hindered by VAT Evasion?," CESifo Working Paper Series 974, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Globally Speaking, American Taxpayers are Pushovers
    by J.D. Tuccille in Hit & Run blog on 2012-04-17 16:33:00
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Cited by:
  1. Luca Barbone & Richard M. Bird & Jaime Vazquez-Caro, 2012. "The Costs of VAT: A Review of the Literature," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1222, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  2. Cebula, Richard J., 2011. "Aggregate Income Tax Evasion: Empirical Results Using new IRS Data for the U.S. - L’evasione aggregata del reddito: risultati empirici ottenuti utilizzando i nuovi dati IRS per gli USA," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio di Genova, vol. 64(4), pages 423-443.
  3. Cécile Bazart & Michael Pickhardt, 2009. "Fighting Income Tax Evasion with Positive Rewards: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 09-01, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2009.
  4. Simonovits, András, 2009. "Keresetbevallás és újraelosztás az együttélő nemzedékek modelljében
    [Underreported earnings and redistribution in the overlapping-generations model]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(2), pages 101-118.
  5. Luca Barbone & Misha V. Belkindas & Leon Bettendorf & Richard Bird & Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovskiy & Michael Smart, 2013. "Study to quantify and analyse the VAT Gap in the EU-27 Member States," CASE Network Reports 0116, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
  6. Maria Lacko, 2007. "Interrelationships of the hidden economy and some visible segments of the labour market," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0707, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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