How Serious is Tax Evasion?: An Empirical Legal Answer
Robert W. McGee
Journal of Accounting, Ethics & Public Policy
Florida International University
Thomas J. Tarangelo
Florida International University (FIU) - School of Accounting
November 25, 2013
Indonesian Journal of International and Comparative Law 1(1): 218-259 (2014, Forthcoming)
Tax evasion has persistently carried severe penalties, although its intended deterrence effect is highly doubtful. We can safely say that it is based on the widely shared assumption among government officials that tax evasion is among the more serious crimes. In other words, the rationale of the current approach is that the punishment should fit the crime. By taking this into account, this empirical work sets out to expand on previous studies by examining the relative seriousness of 75 crimes and analyzing some demographic variables, including gender, age, marital status, religion and others, to determine whether tax evasion is as serious a crime as some policy makers believe it to be, and to determine whether opinions differ based on demographics. The study finding shows that tax evasion is deemed to be less serious than the average crime. The article concludes that since tax evasion was deemed to be less serious than most other offenses, one might reasonably conclude that the punishment for tax evasion should be less than the punishment for most other offenses.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: Tax Evasion, Empirical Legal Studies, Tax Laws, Law and Morality, Crime and Punishments, Criminal Legal Theories, Jurisprudence, Legal Theories.
JEL Classification: D63, D71, D78, H2, H26, J12, J16, K14, K34, M4
Date posted: November 26, 2013
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