Abstract
The ethics of tax evasion has been discussed sporadically in the theological and philosophical literature for at least 500 years. Martin Crowe wrote a doctoral thesis that reviewed much of that literature in 1944. The debate revolved around about 15 issues. Over the centuries, three main views evolved on the topic. But the business ethics literature has paid scant attention to this issue, perhaps because of the belief that tax evasion is always unethical. This paper reports the results of an empirical study of opinion in Utah and New Jersey. A survey of business students was conducted to determine the extent of their agreement or disagreement with the 15 main issues that Crowe (1944) identified plus three more recent issues. The arguments that have been made over the centuries to justify tax evasion were ranked to determine which arguments are strongest and which are weakest. Scores were compared between samples to determine whether the responses were significantly different.
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