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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward Christie & Mario Holzner, 2006. "What Explains Tax Evasion? An Empirical Assessment based on European Data," wiiw Working Papers 40, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  • Handle: RePEc:wii:wpaper:40
    as

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    File URL: https://wiiw.ac.at/what-explains-tax-evasion-an-empirical-assessment-based-on-european-data-dlp-540.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Anna Ivanova & Michael Keen & Alexander Klemm, 2005. "The Russian ‘flat tax’ reform," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 397-444, July.
    4. 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.
    5. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 818-860.
    6. 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, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Edward Christie & Mario Holzner, 2005. "Household Tax Compliance in Albania," wiiw Research Reports 316, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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 21:33:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Leopoldo Fergusson & Carlos Molina & Juan Felipe Riaño, 2017. "I evade taxes, and so what? A new database and evidence from Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 015444, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Jon Bakija & Ivan Badinski, 2014. "Evidence on the Responsiveness of Export-Related VAT Evasion to VAT Rates in the EU," Department of Economics Working Papers 2014-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    6. Antonio Gómez Gómez-Plana & Pedro Pascual Arzoz, 2011. "Fraude fiscal e IVA en España: incidencia en un modelo de equilibrio general," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 199(4), pages 9-52, December.
    7. 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 Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 64(4), pages 423-443.
    8. Andras Simonovits, 2009. "Underreported earnings and age-specific income redistribution in post-socialist economies," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0927, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    9. Sokolovska, Olena & Sokolovskyi, Dmytro, 2015. "VAT efficiency in the countries worldwide," MPRA Paper 66422, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. 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.
    11. Luca Barbone & Richard Bird & Jaime Vázquez Caro, 2012. "The Costs of VAT: A Review of the Literature," CASE Network Reports 0106, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
    12. Andras Simonovits, 2010. "Tax Morality and Progressive Wage Tax," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1005, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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