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Tax fraud: a socially acceptable financial crime in France?

Frederic Compin (Department Sciences Humaines, Université d’Evry-Val d’Essonne, Evry, France)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 5 October 2015




The purpose of this paper is to point out that tax fraud, recognized as a scourge by both governments and responsible tax-payers, hits public finances hard with an inevitable knock-on effect on general welfare. Based on this observation, key players interviewed for this paper, including magistrates, a trade unionist and a high-ranking official, will attempt to provide some possible solutions to help understand why significant sections of public opinion consider this very particular form of financial crime to be legitimate, largely inspired by the notion that tax fraud and evasion are socially acceptable and even seen as a national sport in certain countries.


The survey was carried out among 20 tax officials, a trade unionist, two magistrates and a high-ranking civil servant. The interviewees were carefully chosen for their ability to provide valuable insights into the reasons behind the lenient treatment of fraudsters by a state lacking the necessary means and structures to fight this crime.


The fight against tax fraud has clearly sparked numerous controversies around evaluation, scope, criminal perpetrators and cooperation between services.

Social implications

Tax fraud, an offence committed with the aim of avoiding taxation or reducing the amount of tax to be paid, ranges from low-level illegal activity, such as undeclared work to make ends meet, to more serious offences, such as value-added tax carousel fraud. All the unpaid tax resulting from such blatant flouting of the law represent a serious loss of revenue for the state and local authorities.


The fight against tax fraud is crucial in determining taxpayers’ acceptance of the contribution required for state expenditure and investment. In a country such as France, where tax fraud is almost a national sport, combating this scourge will help restore the state’s budgetary sovereignty by making it central to people’s concerns about redistributive justice, tax equality and fair access to public goods.



Compin, F. (2015), "Tax fraud: a socially acceptable financial crime in France?", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 432-446.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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