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Tax auditors' sixth sense helps them nab tax evaders

Poster of Alexander the seer; click image for more ESP studies

Anyone who has gone head-to-head with an auditor has probably felt like the examiner was staring straight into their tax-paying soul.

They were right.

A German scientist says that tax investigators have a sixth sense that makes it easier for them to sniff out tax evasion.

And that disconcerting finding makes six this week's By the Numbers figure.

"It is already known in psychology that, for example, drug squad officers use unconscious learning processes to collect experience-based knowledge of how to identify suspects who then turn out, after checks, to be drug smugglers," said Enrico Schöbel of the Institute for Public Finance and Management at Leipzig University.

"A similar experience-based process takes place with finance administrators dealing with individual cases," according to Schöbel and reported by The Local.

Schöbel's findings, recently published in the German language journal Perspectives of Economic Policies, note that while tax inspectors generally cannot explain what makes a typical tax evader, they unconsciously use their experience, which we typically call instinct, to determine whether there might be something suspect.

Yep, auditors can say, "I see tax cheats."

Stop groaning. You were thinking it.

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