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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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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    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

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    Cited by:

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    2. Andras Simonovits, 2010. "Tax Morality and Progressive Wage Tax," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 1005, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    3. 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.
    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. Anna Kowal & Grzegorz Przekota, 2021. "VAT Efficiency—A Discussion on the VAT System in the European Union," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(9), pages 1-16, April.
    6. Saudin Terzić, 2017. "Model for determining subjective and objective factors of tax evasion," Notitia - journal for economic, business and social issues, Notitia Ltd., vol. 1(3), pages 49-62, December.
    7. Leopoldo Fergusson & Carlos Molina & Juan Felipe Riaño, 2019. "Consumers as VAT “Evaders†: Incidence, Social Bias, and Correlates in Colombia," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 21-67, April.
    8. Karolina Konopczak, 2020. "Kwantyfikacja zmian luki VAT: podejście ekonometryczne," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 2, pages 25-42.
    9. Sokolovska, Olena & Sokolovskyi, Dmytro, 2015. "VAT efficiency in the countries worldwide," MPRA Paper 66422, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. 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.
    11. Jana Stavjaňová, 2014. "Value Added Tax Gap in the Czech Republic," Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis, Mendel University Press, vol. 62(6), pages 1427-1436.
    12. 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.
    13. Agnieszka Szczypińska, 2019. "What drives the VAT gap in the European Union?," Collegium of Economic Analysis Annals, Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of Economic Analysis, issue 55, pages 69-82.
    14. Romain Houssa & Kelbesa Megersa & Roukiatou Nikiema, 2017. "The sources of VAT gaps in WAEMU: case studies on Benin and Burkina Faso," BeFinD Working Papers 0122, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    15. Maria Lacko, 2007. "Interrelationships of the hidden economy and some visible segments of the labour market," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 0707, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    16. Antonio Gómez Gómez-Plana & Pedro Pascual Arzoz, 2011. "Fraude fiscal e IVA en España: incidencia en un modelo de equilibrio general," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 199(4), pages 9-52, December.
    17. Andras Simonovits, 2009. "Underreported earnings and age-specific income redistribution in post-socialist economies," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 0927, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    18. Pukelienė Violeta & Kažemekaitytė Austėja, 2016. "Tax Behaviour: Assessment of Tax Compliance in European Union Countries," Ekonomika (Economics), Sciendo, vol. 95(2), pages 30-56, February.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    taxation; tax compliance; tax evasion; income inequality; tax complexity; flat tax; transition economies;
    All these keywords.

    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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