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Will COVID-19 Lead to a Wave of Tax Evasion?

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on a slew of unwelcome consequences, two Cal State Fullerton accounting professors have conducted research that suggests a possible unexpected benefit — more compliant taxpayers.  

Ed Lynch and Jon Durrant, both assistant professors of accounting, wondered if the upheaval from the pandemic would affect taxpayer mood and behavior. 

“The literature on pessimism has shown that pessimistic people are less likely to take risks, which fits well in a tax setting,” explained Lynch. “It is expected that people will behave differently based on their mood, but to have this affect taxpayer behavior would be noteworthy.”

To conduct their study, Lynch and Durrant wanted to trigger both positive and negative emotional reactions from participants prior to administering their survey questions. To help elicit a negative mood, participants were asked to describe a politician they dislike and provide a reason. 

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Written by: Zak Minert
Karen Lindell