IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Keeping it off the books: an empirical investigation of firms that engage in tax evasion

  • Lindsay Tedds

This article uses a unique dataset that contains detailed information on firms from around the world to investigate factors that affect under-reporting behaviour. The empirical strategy employed exploits the nature of the dependent variable, which is interval coded, and uses interval regression which provides an asymptotically efficient estimator provided that the classical linear model assumptions hold. These assumptions are investigated using standard diagnostic tests that have been modified for the interval regression model. Evidence is presented that shows that the firms in all regions engage in under-reporting. Regression results indicate that government corruption has the single largest causal effect on under-reporting, resulting in the percentage of sales not reported to the tax authority being 51.3% higher. Taxes have the second single largest causal effect on under-reporting, resulting in the percentage of sales not reported to the tax authority being 18.0% higher, followed by access to financing at 8.9% higher and organized crime at 7.6% higher. Inflation, political instability, exchange rates and the fairness of the legal system were found to have no effect on under-reporting. It is also found that there is a significant correlation between under-reporting and the legal organization of the business, size, age, ownership, competition and audit controls.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (2010)
Issue (Month): 19 ()
Pages: 2459-2473

in new window

Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:42:y:2010:i:19:p:2459-2473
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Orme, Chris, 1990. "The small-sample performance of the information-matrix test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 309-331, December.
  2. Pissarides, Christopher A. & Weber, Guglielmo, 1989. "An expenditure-based estimate of Britain's black economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-32, June.
  3. Apel,M., 1994. "An Expenditure-Based Estimate of Tax Evasion in Sweden," Papers 1, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  4. Keith J. Crocker & Joel Slemrod, 2004. "Corporate Tax Evasion with Agency Costs," NBER Working Papers 10690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Roberto Dell’Anno & Miguel Gómez-Antonio & Angel Alañon-Pardo, 2007. "The shadow economy in three Mediterranean countries: France, Spain and Greece. A MIMIC approach," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 197-197, July.
  7. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  8. Cremer, H. & Marchand, M. & Pestieau, P., 1990. "Evading, auditing and taxing : The equity-compliance tradeoff," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 67-92, October.
  9. Sanchez, Isabel & Sobel, Joel, 1993. "Hierarchical design and enforcement of income tax policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 345-369, March.
  10. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & McMillan, John & Woodruff, Christopher, 2000. "Why do firms hide? Bribes and unofficial activity after communism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 495-520, June.
  11. Brian Erard & Chih-Chin Ho, 1999. "Searching for Ghosts: Who Are the Nonfilers nd How Much Tax Do They Owe?," Carleton Economic Papers 99-11, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2001.
  12. Per Engstrom & Bertil Holmlund, 2009. "Tax evasion and self-employment in a high-tax country: evidence from Sweden," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(19), pages 2419-2430.
  13. Stewart, Mark B, 1982. "On Least Squares Estimation when the Dependent Variable is Grouped," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 207, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  14. David Joulfaian, 2000. "Corporate Income Tax Evasion and Managerial Preferences," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 698-701, November.
  15. Geeta Batra & Daniel Kaufmann & Andrew H. W. Stone, 2003. "Investment Climate Around the World : Voices of the Firms from the World Business Environment Survey," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15143.
  16. Harvey, A C, 1976. "Estimating Regression Models with Multiplicative Heteroscedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(3), pages 461-65, May.
  17. Watson, Harry, 1985. "Tax evasion and labor markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 231-246, July.
  18. Andreoni, James, 1992. "IRS as loan shark tax compliance with borrowing constraints," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 35-46, October.
  19. 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.
  20. Tedds, Lindsay, 2005. "The Underground Economy in Canada," MPRA Paper 4229, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. Joel Slemrod & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1996. "The Costs of Taxation and the Marginal Efficiency Cost of Funds," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(1), pages 172-198, March.
  22. Trandel, Greg & Snow, Arthur, 1999. "Progressive income taxation and the underground economy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 217-222, February.
  23. Joulfaian, David & Rider, Mark, 1998. "Differential Taxation and TaxEvasion by Small Business," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 4), pages 676-87, December.
  24. Erard, Brian & Ho, Chih-Chin, 2001. "Searching for ghosts: who are the nonfilers and how much tax do they owe?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 25-50, July.
  25. Border, Kim C & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Samurai Accountant: A Theory of Auditing and Plunder," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 525-40, October.
  26. Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1987. "Audit Classes and Tax Enforcement Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 229-33, May.
  27. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:104:y:1989:i:2:p:399-415 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:42:y:2010:i:19:p:2459-2473. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.