Determinants of tax evasion: A cross-country investigation

Grant Richardson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

194 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study is to expand on the work of Riahi-Belkaoiu [Riahi-Belkaoiu, A. (2004). Relationship between tax compliance internationally and selected determinants of tax morale. Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, 13, 135-143] and systematically investigate, on a cross-country basis, many of the key determinants of tax evasion identified by Jackson and Milliron [Jackson, B. R., & Milliron, V. C. (1986). Tax compliance research: findings, problems and prospects. Journal of Accounting Literature, 5, 125-165]. Based on data for 45 countries, the results of the OLS regression analysis show that non-economic determinants have the strongest impact on tax evasion. Specifically, complexity is the most important determinant of tax evasion. Other important determinants of tax evasion are education, income source, fairness and tax morale. Overall, the regression results indicate that the lower the level of complexity and the higher the level of general education, services income source, fairness and tax morale, the lower is the level of tax evasion across countries. These findings remain robust to a broad range of cross-country control variables, an alternative tax evasion measure and various interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-169
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Complexity
  • Education
  • Fairness
  • Income source
  • Tax evasion
  • Tax morale


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