Wednesday, December 7, 2005
In 1944, Martin Crowe, a Catholic priest, wrote a doctoral dissertation titled "The Moral Obligation of Paying Just Taxes." His dissertation summarized and analyzed 500 years of theological and philosophical debate on this topic, much of which took place in Latin. Since Crowe's dissertation, not much has been written on the topic of tax evasion from an ethical perspective, with a few exceptions. In 1998 and 1999, a few articles were published on the ethics of tax evasion in the Journal of Accounting, Ethics & Public Policy. An edited book on this topic was published in 1998.
The present paper summarizes, updates and expands on Crowe's work and the other more recent work that has been published on this topic. Three basic views on the ethics of tax evasion have emerged over the centuries. This article presents and critiques those three views and raises some questions about points that have not yet been explored in the literature.