Attitudes toward Tax Evasion in Turkey: An Empirical Study

Attitudes toward Tax Evasion in Turkey: An Empirical Study

Robert W. McGee (Fayetteville State University, USA) and Serkan Benk (İnönü University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0053-7.ch014


This chapter summarizes and analyzes the latest World Values Survey data on attitudes toward tax evasion in Turkey. In addition to examining the overall viewpoints of the 1601-person sample, we examine ethical attitudes from the perspective of the following demographic variables: gender, age, marital status, education level, employment status, occupation, social class, income level, happiness, position on the political spectrum, sector of employment, and confidence in government. Comparisons with other studies will be made to determine the similarities and differences between Turkish attitudes and the attitudes of people in other countries.
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Literature Review

Tax evasion has existed ever since the first government tried to extract taxes from the populace (Adams, 1982, 1993). Many older studies on the ethics of tax evasion have taken a religious perspective. The Christian Bible mentioned taxation in several places and seemingly indicated that there is at least some moral obligation to pay some taxes. Jesus supposedly said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22, p. 21). His answer begs the question of what Caesar (the State) is entitled to. Saint Paul’s statement does not shed much light on the question of government’s entitlement to taxes either. “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13, p. 7).

Basically, both of those statements say that we should pay our just debts. The unanswered question is, “When is there a duty to pay taxes?”

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