The current study was designed to investigate U.S. taxpayer's perception of the severity of tax evasion relative to other offenses, in general, and white‐collar crimes, in particular. We compared the perception of tax evasion to 20 other offenses, including violent crimes such as rape and murder and relatively minor offenses such as jaywalking. Due to the recent focus by lawmakers and the media on white‐collar scandals and the lack of comparisons in prior literature, we also included six white‐collar crimes. Overall, the results indicate that tax evasion was viewed as only somewhat serious. When comparing tax evasion to other white‐collar offenses, we found that tax evasion was perceived as equal in severity to minimum wage law violations and rated less serious than the other four white‐collar crimes investigated. Most demographic factors (age, gender, education or income level, political affiliation, etc.) did not seem to be related to perceptions of tax evasion. However, location of taxpayers did have some effect. These findings differ from several previous studies.

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