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Tax Evasion across Industries: Soft Credit Evidence from Greece

Author

Listed:
  • Nikolaos Artavanis
  • Adair Morse
  • Margarita Tsoutsoura

Abstract

We document that in semiformal economies, banks lend to tax-evading individuals based on the bank's assessment of the individual's true income. This observation leads to a novel approach to estimate tax evasion. We use microdata on household credit from a Greek bank, and replicate the bank underwriting model to infer the banks estimate of individuals' true income. We estimate that 43%-45% of self-employed income goes unreported and thus untaxed. For 2009, this implies 28.2 billion euros of unreported income, implying foregone tax revenues of over 11 billion euros or 30% of the deficit. Our method innovation allows for estimating the industry distribution of tax evasion in settings where uncovering the incidence of hidden cash transactions is difficult using other methods. Primary tax-evading industries are professional services — medicine, law, engineering, education, and media. We conclude with evidence that contemplates the importance of institutions, paper trail and political willpower for the persistence of tax evasion.

Suggested Citation

  • Nikolaos Artavanis & Adair Morse & Margarita Tsoutsoura, 2015. "Tax Evasion across Industries: Soft Credit Evidence from Greece," NBER Working Papers 21552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21552
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    Cited by:

    1. Ioannidis, Yiorgos, 2013. "The peculiar distributional character of the Greek taxation system (1995‐2008) and the reform that never took place," MPRA Paper 52121, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Chrysoloras, Nikos, 2013. "Rebuilding eurozone's ground zero: a review of the Greek economic crisis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48254, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Ioannidis, Yiorgos, 2015. "The political economy of the distributional character of the Greek taxation system (1995–2008)," MPRA Paper 64033, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Erlend E. Bø & Joel Slemrod & Thor O. Thoresen, 2015. "Taxes on the Internet: Deterrence Effects of Public Disclosure," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 36-62, February.
    5. Costas Azariadis & Yannis M. Ioannides, 2014. "Thinking About Corruption in Greece," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0783, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    6. Michael G. Arghyrou, 2015. "The Greek Crisis and Financial Assistance Programmes: An Evaluation," CESifo Working Paper Series 5591, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Blaufus, Kay & Braune, Matthias & Hundsdoerfer, Jochen & Jacob, Martin, 2015. "Does legality matter? The case of tax avoidance and evasion," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 193, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    8. Michael G. Arghyrou, 2014. "Is Greece Turning the Corner? A Theory-Based Assessment of Recent Greek Macro-Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 4995, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Michaelides, Alexander, 2014. "What Happened in Cyprus?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9993, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Yanos Zylberberg & Francesco Pappada, 2014. "Austerity plans and tax evasion : theory and evidence from Greece," 2014 Meeting Papers 1031, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Athanasios O. Tagkalakis, 2014. "The direct and indirect effects of audits on the tax revenue in Greece," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(2), pages 984-1001.
    12. repec:spr:izalpo:v:7:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1186_s40173-017-0093-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:spr:joecth:v:63:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00199-016-0976-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Győrffy, Dóra, 2014. "Válság és válságkezelés Görögországban. A puha költségvetési korlát szerepe a gazdasági összeomlásban
      [Crisis and crisis management in Greece. The role of soft budget constraints in the economic co
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(1), pages 27-52.
    15. Antonis Adam & Thomas Moutos, 2017. "The Modality of Fiscal Consolidation and Current Account Adjustment," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 63(2), pages 162-181.
    16. Leventi, Chrysa & Matsaganis, Manos & Flevotomou, Maria, 2013. "Distributional implications of tax evasion and the crisis in Greece," EUROMOD Working Papers EM17/13, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    17. Lorenzo Casaburi & Ugo Troiano, 2016. "Ghost-House Busters: The Electoral Response to a Large Anti–Tax Evasion Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(1), pages 273-314.
    18. Blaufus, Kay & Braune, Matthias & Hundsdoerfer, Jochen & Jacob, Martin, 2015. "Does legality matter? The case of tax avoidance and evasion," Discussion Papers 2015/23, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    19. Tagkalakis, Athanasios O., 2013. "Audits and tax offenders: Recent evidence from Greece," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(3), pages 519-522.
    20. Tryphon Kollintzas & Dimitris Papageorgiou & Efthymios Tsionas & Vanghelis Vassilatos, 2018. "Market and political power interactions in Greece: an empirical investigation," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-43, December.
    21. Athanasios O. Tagkalakis, 2014. "Tax arrears and VAT revenue performance: Recent evidence from Greece," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(2), pages 1141-1155.
    22. Huliaras, Asteris & Sotiropoulos, Dimitri A., 2018. "The crisis in Greece: the semi-rentier state hypothesis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 87077, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    23. Sara Torregrosa, 2015. "Bypassing progressive taxation: fraud and base erosion in the Spanish income tax (1970-2001)," Working Papers 2015/31, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    24. repec:eee:jmacro:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:107-126 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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