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Everyday representations of tax avoidance, tax evasion, and tax flight: Do legal differences matter?

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  • Kirchler, Erich
  • Maciejovsky, Boris
  • Schneider, Friedrich

Abstract

From an economic point of view, legal considerations apart, tax avoidance, tax evasion and tax flight have similar effects, namely a reduction of revenue yields, and are based on the same desire to reduce the tax burden. Due to legal differences and moral concerns it is, however, likely that individuals perceive them as different and as unequally fair. Overall, 252 fiscal officers, business students, business lawyers, and entrepreneurs produced spontaneous associations to a scenario either describing tax avoidance, tax evasion, or tax flight, and evaluated them as positive, neutral or negative. The results indicate that everyday representations differ with respect to tax avoidance, tax evasion, and tax flight. Tax evasion was perceived rather negatively, tax flight neutrally, and tax avoidance positively. Although fiscal officers judged all forms of tax reduction least fair, all sub-samples found tax evasion less fair than tax avoidance or tax flight. With regard to knowledge of tax law and fairness perception, differential effects were found: Business lawyers and entrepreneurs judged tax avoidance the fairer the higher their knowledge was. Fiscal officers, on the other hand, found tax evasion especially unfair if their knowledge was high.

Suggested Citation

  • Kirchler, Erich & Maciejovsky, Boris & Schneider, Friedrich, 2001. "Everyday representations of tax avoidance, tax evasion, and tax flight: Do legal differences matter?," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,43, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200143
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax Evasion; Everyday Representations; Tax Knowledge;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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