The Ethics of Tax Evasion: A Case Study of Opinion in Iran
16 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2009
Date Written: January 4, 2009
The ethics of tax evasion has been discussed sporadically in the theological and philosophical literature for at least 500 years. Martin Crowe wrote a doctoral thesis that reviewed much of that literature in 1944. The debate revolved around about 15 issues. Over the centuries, three main views evolved on the topic. But the business ethics literature has paid scant attention to this issue, perhaps because of the belief that tax evasion is always unethical. This paper reports the results of an empirical study of opinion in Iran. A survey of master students of accounting was conducted to determine the extent of their agreement or disagreement with the 15 main issues that Crowe (1944) identified plus three more recent issues. The arguments that have been made over the centuries to justify tax evasion were ranked to determine which arguments are strongest and which are weakest in Iran. Male scores were compared to female scores to determine whether the responses differed by gender.
Keywords: tax evasion, ethics, Iran, gender
JEL Classification: H26, D6, E62, J16, K34, K42, M4, O53
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