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The Optimality of Punishing Only the Innocent: The Case of Tax Evasion

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Author Info

  • Robin Boadway
  • Motohiro Sato

Abstract

We study the effectson tax enforcement and tax policy of unintentional complianceerrors by taxpayers and administrative errors by tax auditors.The government can impose both penalties for misreporting andrewards for honest reporting. Maximal sanctions will not be appliedbecause errors are possible, so evasion cannot be eliminatedcostlessly. Under optimal policy intentional evasion can be deterred,but innocent tax evaders must be penalized whether they haveunintentionally evaded or have been mistakenly convicted. Thisdeters intentional evasion, but limits redistribution. Withoutrewards for honest reporting, the revelation principle need notapply, so intentional evasion can occur. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1008777309680
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal International Tax and Public Finance.

Volume (Year): 7 (2000)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 641-664

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Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:7:y:2000:i:6:p:641-664

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102915

Related research

Keywords: tax evasion; compliance errors; administrative errors;

References

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  1. Marhuenda, Francisco & Ortuno-Ortin, Ignacio, 1997. " Tax Enforcement Problems," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(1), pages 61-72, March.
  2. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
  3. Boadway, R. & Marceau, N. & Marchand, M., 1993. "Time-Consistent Criminal Sanctions," Papers 9318, Laval - Recherche en Politique Economique.
  4. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1993. "Tax evasion and optimal commodity taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 261-275, February.
  5. Robin Boadway & Michael Keen, 1993. "Evasion and time consistency in the taxation of capital income," IFS Working Papers W93/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1994. "Accuracy in the Determination of Liability," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 1-15, April.
  7. Bordignon, Massimo, 1993. "A fairness approach to income tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 345-362, October.
  8. Usher, Dan, 1986. "Tax Evasion and the Marginal Cost of Public Funds," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(4), pages 563-86, October.
  9. Chander, Parkash & Wilde, Louis L, 1998. "A General Characterization of Optimal Income Tax Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 165-83, January.
  10. Polinsky, Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1979. "The Optimal Tradeoff between the Probability and Magnitude of Fines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 880-91, December.
  11. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1996. "Tax evasion and the optimum general income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 235-249, May.
  12. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-95, September.
  13. Stern, Nicholas, 1982. "Optimum taxation with errors in administration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 181-211, March.
  14. Reinganum, Jennifer F. & Wilde, Louis L., 1985. "Income tax compliance in a principal-agent framework," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-18, February.
  15. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  16. Gordon, James P. P., 1989. "Individual morality and reputation costs as deterrents to tax evasion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 797-805, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Konrad, Kai A. & Qari, Salmai, 2009. "The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel? Patriotism and Tax Compliance," CEPR Discussion Papers 7215, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Hashimzade, Nigar & Huang, Zhanyi & Myles, Gareth D., 2010. "Tax fraud by firms and optimal auditing," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 10-17, March.
  3. Frank Cowell, 2003. "Sticks and carrots," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2046, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Wolfram F. Richter & Robin Boadway, 2001. "Trading Off Tax Distortion and Tax Evasion," CESifo Working Paper Series 505, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Agnar Sandmo, 2012. "An evasive topic: theorizing about the hidden economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 5-24, February.
  6. Ralph-C Bayer, 2003. "Finding out Who the Crooks Are – Tax Evasion with Sequential Auditing," School of Economics Working Papers 2003-07, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  7. Cécile Bazart & Michael Pickhardt, 2009. "Fighting Income Tax Evasion with Positive Rewards: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 09-01, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2009.
  8. Philip Curry & Steeve Mongrain, . "What You Don't See Can't Hurt You: An Economic Analysis of," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1062, American Law & Economics Association.
  9. Pickhardt, Michael & Prinz, Aloys, 2014. "Behavioral dynamics of tax evasion – A survey," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-19.
  10. Jordi Caballé & Judith Panadés, 2005. "Cost Uncertainty and Taxpayer Compliance," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 239-263, May.
  11. Laszlo Goerke, 2008. "Tax Overpayments, Tax Evasion, and Book-Tax Differences," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(4), pages 643-671, 08.
  12. Wolfram F. Richter, 2007. "Geplante Steuerhinterziehung und ihre effiziente Bestrafung," RWI Materialien, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, pages 31, 08.
  13. Stefan Dodds, 2002. "Privacy and Endogenous Monitoring Choice When Private Information is a Public Good," Working Papers 1010, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  14. Silvia Platoni & Francesco Timpano, 2013. "Redistribution and Tax Evasion: an Asymmetric Information Approach," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali dises1394, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).

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