Tax Evasion and Inequality
AbstractDrawing on a unique dataset of leaked customer lists from offshore financial institutions matched to administrative wealth records in Scandinavia, we show that offshore tax evasion is highly concentrated among the rich. The skewed distribution of offshore wealth implies high rates of tax evasion at the top: we find that the 0.01 percent richest households evade about 25 percent of their taxes. By contrast, tax evasion detected in stratified random tax audits is less than 5 percent throughout the distribution. Top wealth shares increase substantially when accounting for unreported assets, highlighting the importance of factoring in tax evasion to properly measure inequality.
CitationAlstadsæter, Annette, Niels Johannesen, and Gabriel Zucman. 2019. "Tax Evasion and Inequality." American Economic Review, 109 (6): 2073-2103. DOI: 10.1257/aer.20172043
- D31 Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
- H24 Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies; includes inheritance and gift taxes
- H26 Tax Evasion and Avoidance
- K34 Tax Law