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The Ethics of Tax Evasion: An Empirical Study of Utah Opinion

Robert W. McGee

Fayetteville State University

Sheldon R. Smith

Utah Valley University - Department of Accounting

September 2006

Andreas School of Business Working Paper

In 1944, Martin Crowe, a Catholic priest, wrote a doctoral dissertation titled The Moral Obligation of Paying Just Taxes. His dissertation summarized and analyzed 500 years of theological and philosophical debate on this topic, which identified three basic philosophical positions on the issue. Since Crowe's dissertation, not much has been written on the topic of tax evasion from an ethical perspective.

The present paper is an empirical study, the goal of which is to determine the strength of the 15 arguments justifying tax evasion that Crowe identified plus 3 more recent arguments. A survey was constructed using a seven-point Likert scale that included all three positions and all 18 arguments and distributed to 638 students at a large college in the western United States. The 18 arguments were ranked in terms of strength, from strongest to weakest. Comparisons were also made between male and female responses and between majors.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: tax evasion, ethics, Utah, Mormon, gender

JEL Classification: D6, E62, H26, J16, J1, K34, K42, M14, M4

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Date posted: October 4, 2006  

Suggested Citation

McGee, Robert W. and Smith, Sheldon R., The Ethics of Tax Evasion: An Empirical Study of Utah Opinion (September 2006). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=934649 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.934649

Contact Information

Robert W. McGee (Contact Author)
Fayetteville State University ( email )
School of Business and Economics
Fayetteville, NC 28301
United States
Sheldon R. Smith
Utah Valley University - Department of Accounting ( email )
800 West University Parkway
Orem, UT 84058
United States
801-863-6153 (Phone)
801-863-8060 (Fax)
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References:  36
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