Journal of Accounting and Management Information Systems (JAMIS)

The impact of tax rates on tax evasion: A macroeconomic study

Vol. 19, No. 2/2020 ,   p252..282

Wajdi Affes

Keywords:   income tax rates, tax evasion, economic characteristics, developed economies emerging economies

Abstract:   Research Question: What is the impact of high tax rates on the level of tax evasion in different economies? Motivation: after the occurrence of the famous panama papers and paradise papers scandal (Alstadsæte et al., 2019) and seeing that tax burden has been incessantly increased due to higher tax burden (Slemrod, 2017). Many research papers focused on the impact of tax evasion on the equilibrium of economies (Fisman & Wei, 2004; Picur & Riahi-Belkaoui, 2006). That’s why we tried in our research paper to insist on the growth of the income tax rate as a principal determinant of tax evasion by emphasizing the importance of the economic characteristics of different countries. Idea: We examine the impact of tax burden on the level of tax evasion by analyzing the relationship between tax rates and tax evasion in the developed and emerging countries while taking on consideration their economic characteristics. Data: First of all, we analyze a sample of 143 countries where we focus on the cited relationship, then we divide this sample into 33 developed countries and 110 emerging countries. The collected data are related to the period preceding the publication date of the panama papers. Tools: We use a cross section analysis based on univariate and multivariate regression model applied for the whole sample and the two cited subsample groups. Findings: We find a positive and significant relationship between tax rates and tax evasion. This relationship no longer remains significant in the first group of the study which is composed by 33 developed countries however the second group composed by 110 emerging countries indicates that there is a positive and significant relationship between the two studied variables. Hence, in the following research we will strive for highlighting the main discriminate variables between both of the two cited samples. Contribution: The empirical findings have economic and tax implications for governments and decision and policies makers especially in economies with high levels of tax evasion.