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Joint tax evasion

Robin Boadway (), Nicolas Marceau and Steeve Mongrain ()

Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, 2002, vol. 35, issue 3, 417-435

Abstract: Tax evasion analysis typically assumes that evasion involves individual taxpayers responding to some given policies. However, evading taxes could require the collaboration of at least two taxpayers. Detection depends on the costly avoidance activities of both transacting partners. An increase in sanctions leads to a direct increase in the expected cost of a transaction in the illegal sector, but it may also increase the incentive for the partners to cooperate in avoiding detection. The total cost of transacting in the illegal sector can fall, and tax evasion may increase. The policy implications of this phenomenon are considered. JEL Classification: H26 L’évasion fiscale collective. Dans les analyses de l’évasion fiscale, on suppose habituellement que le payeur de taxe fait face à un ensemble donné de politiques auxquelles il réagit. Pourtant, dans le cas des transactions marchandes, l’évasion fiscale n’est possible que si plusieurs agents coopèrent ensemble. La probabilité que l’évasion soit détectée dépend alors des efforts que chacun fait pour la cacher. Dans un tel contexte, de plus lourdes sanctions accroissent le coût espéré des transactions illégales, mais peuvent aussi, indirectement, accroître l’incitation pour les partenaires à coopérer pour cacher leur activité illégale. Il en résulte que le coût total des transactions illégales peut diminuer et l’évasion fiscale augmenter. Nous étudions les implications de ce phénomène.

Date: 2002
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