Factors of Tax Evasion in Greece: Taxpayers’ Perspective

Mihail Diakomihalis

Abstract


The aim of this study is to analyze the causes (criteria and sub-criteria) of tax evasion in contemporary Greece. Within the framework of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) methodology, the research questions this study seeks to address are as follows: what drives people to avoid or evade taxes? What is the significance of each criterion and sub-criterion and how can they be ranked? The questionnaire survey covered 2,789 respondents (business owners, accountants and tax officers) from 26 Greek prefectures. The main objective of the AHP analysis is to classify the alternatives by making pairwise comparisons of qualitative and/or quantitative criteria (and sub-criteria) based on experts’ judgements. The results showed that excessive taxation and impunity for tax evasion are considered to be the main reasons for tax evasion in Greece. Among other significant factors are complexity of the legislation and opacity in public financial management. At the same time respondents did not consider deficient education as a significant factor. We also found differences in respondents’ evaluations of the sub-criteria: for instance, businessmen and tax officers disagreed about the significance of such factors as the unfair tax scale and corruption among tax collectors. The results reveal the mutual lack of trust between taxpayers and tax authorities in Greece. The Greek government is required to ensure justice and stability of the tax system; lower the tax rates; and introduce heavier penalties for tax evaders. Moreover, the system of public financial management should become more transparent to foster taxpayers’ trust and thus encourage tax compliance.

For citation

Diakomihalis M. Factors of Tax Evasion in Greece: Taxpayers’ Perspective. Journal of Tax Reform. 2020;6(2):180–195. DOI: 10.15826/jtr.2020.6.2.081.

Article info

Received May 14, 2020; Revised May 22, 2020; Accepted June 14, 2020


Keywords


ax evasion, Greece, analytic hierarchy process, excessive taxation, impunity, complexity of legislation, opacity in public financial management, deficient education

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