The international moral maze of tax fraud

20 December 2011

I have told the last post’s story (the one where I was advised to commit tax fraud)  to people of different nationalities. The reactions have been interesting. Indeed, this story has developed into a means to conduct a (very much amateurish) qualitative study into cultural variations of tax code morals.

All the Germans had some sort of capital-lettered

  1. “WOW” and 
  2. “this is incredible” reaction. 
  3. Then: shaking heads in disbelief and laughter to release the tension.

Conclusion: The story is perfect for entertaining Germans. They will get VERY excited about it.

… Unless they are German politicians.


A French person’s reaction was more like…

  1. … spontaneous, uninhibited, mad  laughter along with the following
  2.  comment: “Yes, I can explain to you why you got this advice and it’s perfectly normal by French standards, but the person who suggested this should have been aware that you NEVER say anything like that to a GERMAN.”

I am grateful to my friend for bridging this cultural gap for me 🙂 . 

Conclusion: Don’t bother telling this story to French people – they’ll think you’re daft or at least not too clued-up on how to screw the system efficiently.

A Malaysian-Indian friend (married to a French man):

  2. More laughter. Then:
  3. Comment: You’re cute and so funny, this person meant well and was just trying advise you with your best interest in mind.

Conclusion: You get a lot of laughter from foreigners who are well acquainted with the French culture. Mind you, they will be laughing about YOU, not the incident.


But do you know what? … I don’t really care becoming the laughingstock in this exploration of cultural differences, this is much too interesting not to be pursued further. As soon as possible (this will be early January) I will tell my story to a total random sample of  Swiss, Italians, Japanese, North-Americans, South-Americans …, just to see their reaction. Maybe I can affirm some cultural prejudices.







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