Tax Evasion in the Housing Market: Identification and Exploration
40 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2017 Last revised: 25 Jul 2019
Date Written: November 1, 2017
The real estate market is recognized as a fertile ground for tax violations. Specifically, reporting a price lower than the true transaction price in order to avoid tax payments is a prevalent technique. We propose an empirical method for identifying housing transactions that are suspected of under-reporting. Based on all reported housing transactions in Israel over the period 1998–2015, we conclude that about 8% of the transactions are under-reported, with an average price report of 30% below the projected true price. Also, the likelihood to under-report is positively associated with the total tax liability and positively (negatively) associated with the crime rate in (the socioeconomic level of) the area in which the transaction occurs. Compared to single unit owners, real estate investors are less likely to engage in under-reporting. Our empirical approach may serve tax enforcement authorities in promoting tax collection in the real estate market.
Keywords: under-report, false price, housing, tax evasion
JEL Classification: H26, R30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation