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Tax avoidance - a natural experiment


  • Ohlsson, Henry

    () (Department of Economics)


The objective of this paper is to empirically study if and to what extent people legally reduce their tax payments. There are few empirical studies of tax avoidance although avoidance may seriously affect the possibilities to raise tax revenue. I use a sample of Swedish siblings receiving inheritances in 2004. These children of deceased had the opportunity to avoid inheritance taxes by partly or fully ceding their inheritances to the grandchildren. My first main result is that almost two thirds of the children avoid taxes. The likelihood of avoiding taxes decreases with age. The more of the taxes a child potentially can avoid, the more she avoids. Second, only one out of four minimize their tax payments. The more of the taxes a child potentially can avoid, the more likely he is to minimize taxes. And third, siblings tend to make the same choices whether or not to avoid taxes and to minimize taxes.

Suggested Citation

  • Ohlsson, Henry, 2007. "Tax avoidance - a natural experiment," Working Paper Series 2007:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2007_013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ohlsson, Henry, 2007. "The equal division puzzle – empirical evidence on intergenerational transfers in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2007:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. Sandmo, Agnar, 2005. "The Theory of Tax Evasion: A Retrospective View," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(4), pages 643-663, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elinder, Mikael & Erixson, Oscar & Waldenström, Daniel, 2015. "Inheritance and wealth inequality: Evidence from population registers," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2015:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. Ohlsson, Henry, 2011. "The legacy of the Swedish gift and inheritance tax, 1884–2004," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 539-569, December.
    3. Katarina Nordblom & Henry Ohlsson, 2011. "Bequests, gifts, and education: links between intergenerational transfers," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 343-358, April.
    4. Elinder, Mikael & Erixson, Oscar & Escobar, Sebastian & Ohlsson, Henry, 2014. "Estates, bequests, and inheritances in Sweden - A look into the Belinda databases," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2014:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    tax avoidance; inheritances; cede to children;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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