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The Role of Auditing on Tax Reduction: Evidence from Sweden on private firms in the wake of the abolishment of mandatory auditing in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The collection of taxes is something that affects almost every entity in society and often stir up heated feelings. Recent legislative changes have been made in Sweden to adjust to regulations in the European Union. These changes included the abolishment of mandatory auditing for small companies in 2011, leading to heavy debate regarding its effect on tax reduction. Has tax reduction increased when smaller companies are no longer under as heavy surveillance as in the past or is the effect negligible? This is the question that this thesis is trying to answer, namely: is there a connection between being audited and the level of tax reduction, measured as the effective tax rate, in which small Swedish companies partake in? Most of the previous research in the field is sparse when it comes to the effect this might have in the specific conditions of the Swedish market. These studies have mainly been conducted in an American setting and focuses either on large corporations and their reduction of tax liability or attempt to connect the characteristics of auditors with tax evasion. Some studies have been made in Sweden, dealing briefly with the matter but these studies have bypassed the connection between being audited and the level of tax reduction. With tax authorities trying to find new methods to refine their profiling of companies which reduce their tax liability, the thesis fits in well as an addition to both theory and practice.

We have tested this connection by conducting a semi-quasi ex post facto experiment using a dataset containing annual reports from all small companies in the restaurant industry which is seen as the industry in which companies are most prone to tax reduction according to Swedish authorities (Skatteverket, 2014, p. 60-61). The dataset has then been altered in accordance with the studies by (Guenther 2014; Bianchi et al. 2014; Dalbor et al. 2004) which included winsorizing, cropping and removal of missing data. The studies of (Bianchi et al. 2014) and (Dalbor et al. 2004) were also used to form the control variables for the study. After the dataset was deemed fit for testing, STATA was used to statistically test the data.

Initial results seemed to indicate that there was a positive significant correlation between being audited and the level of tax reduction of the company. However, the results of the propensity score matching based on company size indicated that the association was heavily reliant upon company size. We thus concluded that we cannot prove a statistically significant relationship between a company being audited and its level of tax reduction in the setting of our study.

The implications of this finding are several. It helps to build onto existing knowledge regarding auditing’s effect on taxes paid as well as providing the tax authorities in Sweden with an insight into what indicators to use when streamlining their operations. Furthermore, it may add new arguments to be presented in the debate that has taken place in Sweden over the recent years following the legislative changes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 59 p.
Keyword [en]
Tax reduction, auditing, restaurants, Sweden, effective tax rate
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-109292OAI: diva2:856328
Educational program
International Business Program
Available from: 2015-09-24 Created: 2015-09-23 Last updated: 2015-09-24Bibliographically approved

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