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Ethics, Tax Evasion and Religion: A Survey of Opinion of Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Andreas School of Business Working Paper

23 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2006  

Robert W. McGee

Fayetteville State University - Department of Accounting

Sheldon R. Smith

Utah Valley University - Department of Accounting

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

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.

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

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

Suggested Citation

McGee, Robert W. and Smith, Sheldon R., Ethics, Tax Evasion and Religion: A Survey of Opinion of Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (October 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=934652 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.934652

Robert W. McGee (Contact Author)

Fayetteville State University - Department of Accounting ( email )

Fayetteville, NC 28301
United States

HOME PAGE: http://robertwmcgee.com

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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