The ethics of income tax evasion: a UK perspective

Hammacott, Nicholas (2014) The ethics of income tax evasion: a UK perspective. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This research examines income tax evasion. It looks at need, greed and opportunity as motivating factors. Considers gender, age, education, income and marital status as elements that may affect offending and tests the hypothesis that anomie, strain and control theory offer additional explanations for such crime. Income tax evasion has a high media and political profile, therefore the research examines counter measures from around the world and considers how these could be used to improve the government’s current approach. Qualitative data was collected during this study, through a content analysis of media articles and survey of local finance professionals and cross-checked through methodological triangulation. The empirical evidence supports the view that income tax evasion is motivated by need and greed, influenced by whether people perceive their tax duty to be fair and facilitated by insufficient social controls, weak organisational controls and opportunity. Therefore anomie, strain and control theory each provide a perspective on why income tax evasion occurs, but no single theory provides all the answers. While the government’s strategy to countering income tax evasion was found to be strong, its approach to income tax collection was found to be weak because it did not acknowledge the causes of income tax evasion and demonstrate what it is doing to improve compliance. The research concludes responsive regulation is the way forward, which includes: a tax charter with a commitment not only to maximise tax receipts for the benefit of society, but also to enable individuals an ‘equal opportunity for self-realisation’ (Repetti, 2008, p.1185); a strategy that outlines why income tax is collected and what it will be used for; a policy that shows how the tax burden is to be fairly calculated; and the education of society about the government’s approach.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2015 14:27
    Last Modified: 06 Mar 2015 14:27
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/16900

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