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Why does a Large Shadow Economy not show up in Administrative Inspections?

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  • Kari Takala

    ()
    (Bank of Finland, PO. Box 160, 00101 Helsinki, Finland)

  • Matti Viren

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Rehtorinpellonkatu 3, 20014 University of Turku, Finland)

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    Abstract

    This paper deals with the apparent gap that exists between very high estimates of the size of the shadow economy and the results of various tax and policy authorities’ inspections. The analyses are based on Finnish data, with the benchmark values for the size of the shadow economy taken from a recent parliamentary investigation which arrived at very high values for all types of shadow economy activities. These estimates are compared with the Finnish Tax Administration’s own data on tax audits. The data are also used in assessing the fiscal results from tax inspections and other administrative actions. These values suggest that it is pointless to spend enormous amounts of resources to curtail the shadow economy unless one can show that there are important economies of scale in tax audits and law enforcement. Our estimates do not support the idea of increasing returns in tax audits.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance in its journal Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP).

    Volume (Year): 42 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 (September)
    Pages: 257-272

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    Handle: RePEc:eap:articl:v:42:y:2012:i:2:p:257-272

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    Web page: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/economic-analysis-and-policy/
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    Related research

    Keywords: shadow economy; taxation; tax audits; national accounts;

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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Helmut Stix, 2012. "Why Do People Save in Cash? Distrust, Memories of Banking Crises, Weak Institutions and Dollarization," Working Papers 178, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
    2. Hildegart Ahumada & Facundo Alvaredo & Alfredo Canavese, 2007. "The Monetary Method And The Size Of The Shadow Economy: A Critical Assessment," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(2), pages 363-371, 06.
    3. Kari Takala & Matti Viren, 2010. "Is Cash Used Only in the Shadow Economy?," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 525-540.
    4. Ahumada, Hildegart & Alvaredo, Facundo & Canavese, Alfredo, 2008. "The monetary method to measure the shadow economy: The forgotten problem of the initial conditions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 97-99, November.
    5. Cebula, Richard, 1996. "An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Government Tax and Auditing Policies on the Size of the Underground Economy: The Case of the United States, 1973-94," MPRA Paper 49810, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Pickhardt, Michael & Sardà, Jordi, 2011. "Cash, hoarding and the underground economy," CAWM Discussion Papers 56, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM), University of Münster.
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