Financial Accounting Standards, Audit Profession Development, and Firm-Level Tax Evasion
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In this study I investigate the relation between (1) country-level financial accounting standards and audit profession development and (2) firm-level tax evasion. I investigate this relation using a confidential dataset compiled by the World Bank that provides an estimate of the percent of a firm’s sales reported to the tax authority as well as information on local corruption and economic development. This database includes firms both with and without externally audited financial statements. After controlling for corruption, economic development, rule of law, and other firm, local, and country-level variables I find that firms in countries with more rigorous financial accounting standards and a more developed audit profession evade less tax and that this effect is stronger when firms have externally audited financial statements and thus are more directly influenced by the financial accounting standards and level of audit profession development in their country. These results have important implications for tax authorities and for other policy makers debating whether to dedicate scarce resources to improving their countries’ financial reporting environment.