Tax Evasion in Armenia: An Empirical Study
16 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2005
Date Written: January 2006
Tax evasion has probably existed ever since the first tax was imposed. But tax evasion - the illegal nonpayment of taxes - is not equally widespread. It is more prevalent in some countries than others. There are several reasons for this lack of homogeneity across time and cultures.
Many studies have been done on tax evasion over the years. The vast majority of these studies have taken an economic or public finance perspective. Very few studies have looked at the underlying ethical issues. But these issues are important, since they do much to explain why tax evasion is more rampant in some cultures and countries than others.
After a brief introduction the paper reviews the literature on tax evasion that was written from an ethical perspective. One of the most comprehensive twentieth century works in this area was undertaken by Martin Crowe, who published a doctoral dissertation on this subject in 1944. More recent comprehensive works on the philosophy of taxation and public finance were published by McGee in 1998 and 2004.
This paper reviews the literature that has been published on tax evasion in Armenia. Special attention is paid to a study by McGee (1999e), which consisted of a series of interviews with Armenian taxpayers.
The paper then presents the results of a survey of Armenian theology and business students that was conducted in 2005. The statements in the survey synthesize 500 years of theological and philosophical debate on the ethics of tax evasion. A seven-point Likert scale was used and participants were asked to insert a number in the space provided to indicate the extent of their agreement or disagreement with each statement. The statements were derived partly from the Crowe thesis (1944), which identified the most prevalent arguments that have been made for ethically evading taxes. Crowe's research looked mostly at the Christian literature of the past 500 years. Crowe's research was supplemented by some more recent research.
Keywords: tax evasion, evade, Armenia, Caucasus, ethics
JEL Classification: H26, K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation