Ethics, Tax Evasion and Religion: A Survey of Opinion of Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Robert W. McGee
Fayetteville State University
Sheldon R. Smith
Utah Valley University - Department of Accounting
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 or religious 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, 562 of which were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The 18 arguments were ranked in terms of strength, from strongest to weakest. Comparisons were also made with data gathered from non-LDS students.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: tax evasion, ethics, Mormon, gender, religion
JEL Classification: D6, E62, H26, J16, J1, K34, K42, M14, M4
Date posted: October 4, 2006
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