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VIRTEU
EXPERT SURVEY REPORT

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This Technical Report illustrates the findings that emerged from the Expert Survey, which represents a relevant empirical research activity carried out during the VIRTEU project. The Expert Survey has focused on the interconnections between tax crimes and corruption and has been based on observation and measurement of phenomena as emerged from the opinions gathered from 29 experts, who have acquired knowledge in the areas of tax crime, tax enforcement, or anti-corruption (e.g., members of tax enforcement agencies and tax police, prosecuting or judicial authorities, legal or accountancy professionals, auditors, members of anti-corruption authorities) from 10 different jurisdictions, including Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

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The Expert Survey, which is widely recognized as a valuable method for measuring concepts that would be difficult to measure, has been especially valuable for measuring complex concepts that require expert knowledge and evaluative judgments, as well as for measuring phenomena for which alternative sources of information are scarce that are precisely instances of corrupt practices, tax crimes, and more importantly, the interconnections thereof.

The crucial data based on experts’ professional experience, which have been gathered through the Expert Survey, have been then analyzed in conjunction with the findings from the other research activities carried out during the project (e.g., VIRTEU National Workshops, VIRTEU Roundtable Discussions, and VIRTEU Technical Papers) and compared against the VIRTEU researchers’ hypotheses, but the results are still based on real-life experience.
 

Following such a systematic analysis of the results, this report provides a high-level overview of the most significant findings, among which it is possible to highlight: 


•    Broadly there exists a generalized adverse public attitude to the payment of taxation, with particularly strong feelings in countries understood to have been more adversely affected by tax crimes and corrupt practices (page 6).

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•    The construction and infrastructure sector as well as the financial sector emerged to be the industrial sectors most vulnerable to tax crimes and corrupt practices (page 8).


•    The recurring presence of countries characterized by a high level of financial secrecy such as Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Cyprus, among the foreign countries most commonly involved in transnational tax abuses, demonstrates the highly problematic and intimate interconnection between the level of financial secrecy and the resulting facilitation of tax abuses, money laundering, and other economic crimes (page 6).


•    The experts not only commonly acknowledged the taxation systems in their jurisdictions appear to be too complex but also considered such a complexity to be one element that facilitates the perpetration of tax crimes (page 11).

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•    A major discrepancy emerged between the adequacy of the legal frameworks aimed at countering tax crime as well as corrupt practices and how such legal instruments are enforced, with the latter considered to be somehow not effective (page 21).


•    Although the use of intrusive investigative techniques to fight against tax crimes and corruption was widely considered fundamental, the survey demonstrated that such techniques are in practice used infrequently (page 29).


•    Amnesties and other impunity or clemency measures have become a feature of several systems, however, these provisions may perversely embolden offenders through the perception they only have to hide their deeds until an amnesty is offered, allowing the perpetrator of the crime to profit (page 32).


•    Professional enablers of tax crimes and corruption, such as lawyers, accountants, and auditors, are frequently involved in the design and perpetration of tax crimes with little responsive action from either the state or professional oversight bodies (page 37).

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Suggested Citation

APA: Grasso, C. & Holden, S. (2022, Sept. 2). Expert Survey Report: The Interconnections between Tax Crime and Corruption. Corporate Crime Observatory. DOI 10.5281/zenodo.7808443. Retrieved from www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-expert-survey

HARVARD: Grasso, C. & Holden, S. (2022) Expert Survey Report: The Interconnections between Tax Crime and Corruption. Corporate Crime Observatory. DOI 10.5281/zenodo.7808443. Available at: www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-expert-survey

OSCOLA: Costantino Grasso & Stephen Holden ‘Expert Survey Report: The Interconnections between Tax Crime and Corruption’, (Corporate Crime Observatory, 2 September 2022), DOI 10.5281/zenodo.7808443, <www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-expert-survey>

•    With high degrees of employment transitioning between regulatory authorities and large organizations, the revolving door phenomenon results in overt familiarity between officials and perpetrators of tax crimes, which in turn may adversely affect enforcement efforts, the effectiveness of anti-tax crime strategies, as well as the relevant political decision-making process (page 42).


•    Whistleblowers were identified as extremely important in the detection and prosecution of both tax crimes and corruption offenses, however, from the Expert Survey, it emerged that inadequate forms of legal protection remain available for whistleblowers (page 43). 

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