Transaction-tax Evasion in the Housing Market


We model the behaviour of a mortgagor considering to evade the real estate transfer tax. We build an observable measure of over-appraisal that is inversely related with tax evasion and conclude that the tax authority could focus auditing efforts on low-appraisal transactions. We include `behavioural' components (shame and stigma) allowing to introduce buyers' and societal characteristics that explain individual and idiosyncratic variations. Our empirical analysis confirms the predictions using a unique database for Spain, where we directly observe: real payment, value declared to the authority, appraisal, buyers' educational level and local levels of corruption and trust.

Published as: Transaction-tax evasion in the housing market in Regional Science and Urban Economics , Vol. 61, 103526, December, 2020