Talk:Tax evasion in the United States

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Historical tax evasion cases in the U.S. section of article[edit]

The tag in that section says cites are needed and I agree. I propose editors, such as myself, go to the original article about the person and find a long standing cite to support the text in this list. I started with adding cites to the case of Rep. Rangel. Please discuss. Geraldshields11 (talk) 17:52, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, and one thing we need to consider is the specific crime for which each individual was convicted, and how Wikipedia should handle this.
Here's the problem.
In the news media, and among the public generally, the term "tax evasion" is sometimes erroneously used broadly to refer to any criminal conduct related to taxation. To explain why this is incorrect, we can illustrate with federal tax law.
Federal tax crimes are imposed under Chapter 75 of the Internal Revenue Code, consisting of sections 7201 through 7344. Of these provisions, section 7201 is the tax evasion provision ("Attempt to evade or defeat tax"). A violation of section 7201 is a felony.
By contrast, willful failure to file a return (or, more correctly, willful failure to timely file a return) is only a misdemeanor, under section 7203. Willfully filing a false return is a felony (section 7206), but not quite as serious as tax evasion.
All these provisions (and other criminal tax provisions) under Chapter 75 are often lumped together by the media as "tax evasion."
Wesley Snipes, for example, has never been convicted of tax evasion, a felony. He was convicted of failure to file (section 7203), a misdemeanor.
I think Wikipedia could be opening itself up to some unpleasant scrutiny if we aren't careful about these details. I would suggest that the article needs to be careful to identify individuals who have been convicted of "tax evasion" only if they have actually been convicted of tax evasion.
An alternative would be to rename the article as "tax crimes", which of course would cover all federal (and state) tax crimes.
I bring this up because this has definitely been an issue of some contention in the talk pages of the tax-related articles in Wikipedia from time to time. If I were a victim of an incorrect characterization of myself as a "convicted felon" when such was not the case, or as having been convicted of "tax evasion" when such was not the case, I don't know that I would take sloppy reporting by the news media as a valid excuse for sloppy work in a Wikipedia article that mentioned my name.
Now, sometimes, a news media report will erroneously use the term "tax evasion" in the title of the report where the subject was convicted of something else, and there's nothing Wikipedia can do to change that. But we can at least strive to be accurate in the Wikipedia article text as a whole.
Thoughts, anyone? Famspear (talk) 18:43, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Also, this would be an example where the use of primary sources as augmenting sources would be beneficial and would help protect not only Wikipedia but the persons mentioned in the articles. If the actual conviction was Crime X, the fact that the news media report (a secondary source) erroneously says "Crime Y" because of sloppy work on the part of the reporter, a reference to the actual judgment of conviction (available on the Federal courts' PACER online system) would clear that up. As Wikipedia editors, we tend to prefer secondary sources over primary sources but, in this case, the failure to corroborate by checking the primary source -- if it turns out that the secondary source is wrong -- might be viewed outside Wikipedia as not being, shall we say, particularly prudent. Famspear (talk) 18:54, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

And moral[edit]

"Tax avoidance is both legal and moral"

And moral? Citation needed.128.97.68.15 (talk) 18:40, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Dr. Cebula's comment on this article[edit]

Dr. Cebula has reviewed this Wikipedia page, and provided us with the following comments to improve its quality:


The problem with this article is that it omits the efforts to explain the magnitude of income tax evasion. A full-blown cost-benefit model of income tax evasion for the U.S. [and elsewhere] was first published in April, 1997 [Cebula, American Journal of Economics and Sociology (AJES)] that helped to isolate potential determinants of income tax evasion and to empirically test hypotheses regarding the factors that proved to actually influence that tax evasion. The latter studies then formally provide insights to help policymakers identify the most efficient policies to limit the evasion. This is arguably as interesting and important as reporting estimates of the extent of the tax evasion. A series of articles summarized in Cebula (AJES, 2013) provides a useful bibliography of such articles as well as finding based on AGI gap estimates generated by the IRS.

Another problem with the article is the estimation of revenue loss by year. In point of fact, These estimates are very crude. There is no definitive determination of the distribution of unreported taxable income by tax bracket. Thus, the figures shown represent only one perspective.

It would be more useful to provide the reader with estimates of the magnutude of unreported income. These should involve the estimates by the IRS itself, estimates by Vito Tanzi, those by Ledbetter, and those in Cebula and Feige, 2012, America's unreported economy: measuring the size, growth, and determinants of income tax evasion in the U.S., Crime, Law and Social Change pp. 265-286, esp. Table B:2, p. 282.


We hope Wikipedians on this talk page can take advantage of these comments and improve the quality of the article accordingly.

Dr. Cebula has published scholarly research which seems to be relevant to this Wikipedia article:


  • Reference : Cebula, Richard & Foley, Maggie, 2013. "Teaching the Economics of Income Tax Evasion," MPRA Paper 56784, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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