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Examining Corporate Tax Evaders: Evidence from the Finalized Audit Cases

Authors: Ming Ling Lai, Zalilawati Yaacob, Normah Omar, Norashikin Abdul Aziz, Bee Wah Yap


This paper aims to (1) analyze the profiles of transgressors (detected evaders); (2) examine reason(s) that triggered a tax audit, causes of tax evasion, audit timeframe and tax penalty charged; and (3) to assess if tax auditors followed the guidelines as stated in the 'Tax Audit Framework' when conducting tax audits. In 2011, the Inland Revenue Board Malaysia (IRBM) had audited and finalized 557 company cases. With official permission, data of all the 557 cases were obtained from the IRBM. Of these, a total of 421 cases with complete information were analyzed. About 58.1% was small and medium corporations and from the construction industry (32.8%). The selection for tax audit was based on risk analysis (66.8%), information from third party (11.1%), and firm with low profitability or fluctuating profit pattern (7.8%). The three persistent causes of tax evasion by firms were over claimed expenses (46.8%), fraudulent reporting of income (38.5%) and overstating purchases (10.5%). These findings are consistent with past literature. Results showed that tax auditors took six to 18 months to close audit cases. More than half of tax evaders were fined 45% on additional tax raised during audit for the first offence. The study found tax auditors did follow the guidelines in the 'Tax Audit Framework' in audit selection, settlement and penalty imposition.

Keywords: Tax Evasion, Corporate tax fraud, tax non-compliance, tax audit, fraudulent reporting

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