فرهنگ ملی و فرار مالیاتی در سطح بنگاه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|5239||2013||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7500 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 66, Issue 3, March 2013, Pages 390–396
A significant research stream provides evidence that institutional, demographic, and attitudinal factors influence the likelihood of tax evasion. Assessments of culture's role in tax evasion are far more scarce and limited. Absent are investigations of how theoretically derived culture variables predict tax evasion likelihood. Institutional anomie theory (IAT) informs this research gap, suggesting cultural values that likely influence deviant firm behaviors. Accordingly, a cross-cultural perspective examines the influence of important cultural forces (individualism, achievement orientation, assertiveness, humane orientation) on tax evasion, simultaneously controlling for institutional, demographic, and attitudinal factors. Multilevel analysis, with both country- and firm-level data, examines actual reports of firm tax illegal evasion from over 3000 companies in 31 countries using hierarchical generalized linear modeling. After controlling for the above-mentioned factors, a subset of influential cultural values stipulated by IAT surfaces to predict tax evasion. Findings suggest a number of theoretical and practical cross-cultural research implications.
Tax evasion generally involves economic activities hidden from revenue agents. The United States Internal Revenue Service (2005) reports tax evasion numbers, also referred to as the tax gap (difference between what taxpayers should pay and what they actually pay), in excess of $300 billion per year, representing 2.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Other countries experience hidden economies between 6% of GDP (Switzerland) and 27% of GDP (Italy) (Giles, 1998). In both developed and developing countries, income taxation is necessary for the country's investment in social services and economic infrastructure. Accordingly, income tax evasion, both personal and business, potentially hurts the poorest within that taxing jurisdiction. Research examining cross-national differences in tax evasion considers an array of factors including institutional (e.g., rule of law, corporate tax rates), demographic (e.g., firm size, ownership, audit likelihood), and attitudinal (e.g., tax fairness, perceived burden) (Richardson, 2006). Cross-national research on tax morale and stated willingness to pay taxes uses similar predictors (Alm and Torgler, 2006). Although some research considers how certain aspects of cultural values relate to tax evasion or morale (Richardson, 2006), only two previous studies (Richardson, 2008 and Tsakumis et al., 2007) use any of the major national culture models (such as Hofstede, 1980). However, no study examines the influence of culture while controlling for institutional, demographic, and attitudinal predictors of tax evasion. This paper examines whether cultural values continue to influence tax evasion after controlling for institutional country-level factors, demographic factors, and attitudes toward taxes. Controlling for these factors is important because some of these previously identified variables may be proxies for cultural values held. In omitting institutional, demographic, and attitudinal information when examining the impact of culture on tax evasion, researchers may misidentify cultural influences where none exist, or fail to see more nuanced cultural effects on tax evasion. In addition to the above, this work contributes to knowledge on other fronts. First, rather than focusing on all possible dimensions of culture, the institutional anomie theory (IAT) of deviance provides a rigorous framework for selecting relevant variables. Second, the analysis employs hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), which is a statistical technique appropriate for cross-level, cross-national data (Bryk and Raudenbush, 1992). Finally, while other studies operationalize tax evasion using either individual taxpayer reports or broad estimates of national tax evasion rates, this study uses self-reports from firms about tax evasion practices as the dependent variable. Most tax evasion theories focus on the individual decision to avoid tax payments. For instance, economists question why people or firms pay taxes when the probability of an audit or penalty is so low (Dhami and al-Nowaihi, 2007). Often referred to as the “Yitzhaki puzzle” (Yitzhaki, 1974), this failure of expected utility theory encouraged investigation of more psychological, ethical, and social predictors of evasion and compliance (Hanno and Violette, 1996). Still lacking, however, is the application of a macro sociological theory explaining how context can affect rates of deviant behavior: in this case tax evasion. This study suggests that national culture creates a context that encourages or discourages different rates of tax evasion by firms regardless of other influential individual firm characteristics or other national institutional components. The classic sociological theory of anomie provides the basic insights and theoretical foundations for this investigation of the cultural influences on tax evasion. Specifically, the most recent rendition of anomie theory, institutional anomie theory (IAT) (Messner and Rosenfeld, 2001), identifies specific cultural values that might influence tax evasion. IAT suggests conditions where the willingness, through any means, legitimate or not, to achieve pecuniary benefits like monetary rewards displaces normative behavior or, in this case, tax compliance (e.g., Cullen, Parboteeah, and Höegl, 2004). The remainder of the paper describes the conceptual background and hypotheses development, explains the research approach and methodology, reports the results and concludes with a discussion of the findings and implications. 2. Background, related research and hypotheses 2.1. Taxation, ethics and norms Businesses typically arrange operations and financial transactions to minimize taxes, which is commonly accepted practice. Defining appropriate arrangements or management of tax positions characterizes the primary debate between taxpayers and tax collectors. Tax accountants often push the envelope with legitimate means to reduce tax liabilities, sometimes breaching ethical and legal standards. The concern of this study is illegal tax evasion behaviors (i.e., not reporting sales revenue to taxing authorities) rather than the possible legal approaches to avoiding tax payments. Research examining efficient and effective methodologies to improve tax compliance includes communicating legal sanctions to taxpayers for non-compliance with tax laws, as well as appeals to taxpayers' morals and other social norms regarding compliance (Wenzel, 2004 and Wenzel, 2005). Other work probes taxpayers' ethical, moral, and social attitudes and considers the relationship between these attitudes and compliance (e.g., Hanno and Violette, 1996). Broadly, these research streams find that culture envelops attitudes toward tax compliance and evasion. Culture shapes these attitudes through social learning and environmental influences (Wenzel, 2004). As a result, taxpayer values reflect values generally held by others within the social environment (social norms) (Wenzel, 2005).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Recent iterations of classic sociological work on deviance inform this research. Analyses extend the questions to a multilevel framework testing hypotheses relating theoretically grounded culture variables to the likelihood of illegal tax evasion. The multilevel framework also controls for relevant country and firm characteristics demonstrated to influence deviant behavior in past research. The advantages of a cross-cultural, multilevel approach involve the ability to span a variety of national contexts representing 31 countries. This perspective on culture mapped to the theoretical tenets of institutional anomie theory is useful in predicting deviant firm behaviors cross-culturally. However, results provide mixed support for the predictions of IAT. Specifically, findings for individualism and humane orientation are consistent with the central tenets of IAT. The IAT theoretical framework holds that more individualistic countries have stronger drives for success at the expense of the collective, and will therefore have more societal actors that choose deviance or illegitimate means to success. Findings support this notion. Findings also support the notion that more humane-oriented societies will foster behaviors that reduce deviance in the form of illegal tax evasion. Yet, significant findings for achievement orientation and assertiveness on tax evasion likelihood counter IAT stipulations. IAT predicts that high achievement-oriented and high assertive cultures will more likely engage in illegal tax evasion behaviors. Instead, results suggest that lack of opportunities and lack of ambition to succeed can encourage firms in low achievement, low assertive cultures to engage in deviant behavior like tax evasion. Past research using an IAT approach to understand firm deviance (e.g., Cullen et al., 2004) might provide some insights for interpretation. Specifically, achievement orientation and assertiveness possibly lead people to search first to minimize tax burden legitimately by taking full advantage of loopholes in the laws and tax advice. This interpretation echoes previous research showing that those who approach a tax system with strong motivation to avoid paying can gain economically (Bartelsman and Beetsma, 2003). Firms hire aggressive tax advisors to sift through complex tax codes to find legal alternatives to minimize the overall tax burden (Erard, 1993). If firms can achieve the same outcome of paying lower taxes via less risky and legal means, then assuming economically rational decision-making, the high achievement orientation/high assertive cultural values should, indeed, reduce tax cheating rates in favor of tax avoidance. Further, anomie theorists elaborating on Merton's early ideas (e.g., Cloward and Ohlin 1960) suggest that deviance occurs in part from differential opportunities available to seek both deviant and legitimate means to achieve ends. Strong achievement orientation and/or assertiveness cultures typically embody values motivating firms to avoid payment using any available means. Given available legal means, blunt methods, including hiding sales revenue, become less preferable. Weak achievement orientation and/or assertiveness cultures may be less motivated to invest psychic energy and resources to avoid government payments legally, and may therefore hide funds as more passive resistance to taxation. Specifically, in low achievement-orientation cultures, where people are less likely to pursue means to lower their tax burden legally, illegal cheating in the form of tax evasion may present a desirable option when firms face the actual payment. In an earlier test of IAT, Cullen et al. (2004) also found achievement orientation negatively associated with managers' willingness to justify ethically suspect behavior. Cullen et al. (2004) also argue that managers prefer to use stronger ethical reasoning when given the opportunity to obtain achievement goals via legitimate paths. Similarly, although low assertive cultures lack ambition on a number of fronts (House et al., 2004), these cultures remain committed to generating wealth. This commitment to wealth coupled with the culturally predominant lack of ambition means that success through illegitimate means, including implementing tax avoidance strategies, may provide the more available opportunity to wealth achievement. Cloward and Ohlin (1966) do, in fact, suggest that low assertive/low ambition cultures will promote greater tax evasion behaviors by firms. A more fine-grained consideration of the cultural value of achievement orientation and its polar opposite, ascription, suggests further explanation for the findings. In contrast to high achievement-oriented cultures, low achievement-oriented cultures tend to value ascription. That is, ascription-oriented societies view status and legitimation as rightly based on the actor's location in a social system (e.g., high social status). Achievement-oriented cultures promote values that regard status and legitimation as linked to accomplishments based on outcomes of fair competition. When applied to companies in low achievement societies, more companies use connections with other companies or government entities to achieve success and legitimation based on ascription rather than through competitive performance. Such cultures may tolerate more tax evasion because the rules of the game downplay company accomplishments in favor of firm location in a social system. By contrast, in high achievement societies, success norms promote equal application of the rules of the game and suggest stronger sanctions for those who attempt to evade taxes. The unexpected findings for the cultural values of achievement orientation and assertiveness signal the need for additional empirical studies to understand more completely the key tenets of IAT when applied to organizational or white-collar deviance. For example, what unique characteristics of deviant firm behaviors (bribery, unethical reasoning, and tax evasion) cause firms and their decision makers to respond differently to cultural forces? Future research should examine strategically aggressive behaviors like tax avoidance and the association with high achievement and high assertive cultures. The possibility of interactions between assertiveness and achievement also warrants further investigation. More broadly, IAT provides a theoretical explanation for why a behavior like tax evasion, although universally denounced as wrong, continues to thrive in firms across the world. Specifically, IAT facilitates understanding of why deviant behaviors differ by country, based on variations in the cultural context. Results signify the potential value in applying this broad based framework as a cross-cultural, cross-level explanatory backdrop in global business research, particularly relevant to the contemporary international competitive landscape. With widespread globalization, managers cannot afford to be uneducated or misinformed about predominant host country business practices. These results augment previous empirical tests of IAT that shed light on cross-national bribery practices and ethical reasoning described above. As cross-cultural research continues to investigate critical variation in such behaviors, multinational enterprises will become even better equipped to confront and manage prevailing cultural forces—many of which have the potential to create severe competitive obstacles or blockages. From a regulatory perspective, the findings suggest cultural and national contexts that are increasingly prone to illegal tax evasion. The results may provide national and international lawmakers a clearer picture of why some countries experience greater prevalence of tax evasion than others. Local economies that continue to face significant firm illegal tax evasion may better understand forces at play through this framework. These authorities also may craft strategies and responses for subverting such behavior, or perhaps devise alternate approaches for garnering resources to redistribute to the population's most needy and for supplementing established social welfare nets. Although this study presents many important findings, an important limitation exists. Specifically, limits inherent in the use of secondary data constrain empirical testing of the questions. Nonetheless, this study provides important insights for a relatively large number of countries, potentially outweighing limitations. Future research might apply IAT via a cross-level lens to other areas of corporate wrongdoing, such as the practices leading to the worldwide financial crisis. In addition, the strength and certainty of legal sanctions or other punishment mechanisms in response to tax evasion or other deviant behaviors might prove an important area for future research. As suggested by this study, different or additional cultural factors, possibly paired with institutional factors, may be required for such investigations.