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Tax Compliance as a Social Norm and the Deterrent Effect of Investigations

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  • Marisa Ratto
  • Richard Thomas
  • David Ulph

    ()

Abstract

In this paper we focus on the effects of investigations on tax compliance. In a very general model we explain the direct and indirect effects of investigations and analyse taxpayers’ response to an increase in the probability of audit when tax compliance is a social norm. We define the different elements that determine the impact of audits on compliance and show that if tax compliance is a social norm in the relevant community there is an additional effect arising because of social norm considerations. The behavioural response of taxpayers to an increase in the audit rate is stronger. Our Findings help explain seemingly contradictory results that emerge from the empirical evidence.

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File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp127.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 05/127.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:05/127

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Keywords: tax evasion; social norm; opportunities to evade; optimal audit rule;

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References

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  1. Reinganum, Jennifer F & Wilde, Louis L, 1991. "Equilibrium Enforcement and Compliance in the Presence of Tax Practitioners," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 163-81, Spring.
  2. 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.
  3. Myles, Gareth D. & Naylor, Robin A., 1996. "A model of tax evasion with group conformity and social customs," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 49-66, April.
  4. Helen V. Tauchen & Ann Dryden Witte & Kurt J. Beron, 1989. "Tax Compliance: An Investigation Using Individual TCMP Data," NBER Working Papers 3078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kirchler, Erich & Maciejovsky, Boris & Schneider, Friedrich, 2003. "Everyday representations of tax avoidance, tax evasion, and tax flight: Do legal differences matter?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 535-553, August.
  6. Torgler, Benno, 2002. " Speaking to Theorists and Searching for Facts: Tax Morale and Tax Compliance in Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 657-83, December.
  7. Akerlof, George A, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of Which Unemployment May be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-75, June.
  8. Slemrod, Joel & Blumenthal, Marsha & Christian, Charles, 2001. "Taxpayer response to an increased probability of audit: evidence from a controlled experiment in Minnesota," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 455-483, March.
  9. 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.
  10. Graetz, Michael J. & Reinganum, Jennifer F. & Wilde, Louis L., . "The Tax Compliance Game: Toward an Interactive Theory of Law Enforcement," Working Papers 589, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  11. Orviska, Marta & Hudson, John, 2003. "Tax evasion, civic duty and the law abiding citizen," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 83-102, March.
  12. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Cullis, John & Jones, Philip & Savoia, Antonio, 2012. "Social norms and tax compliance: Framing the decision to pay tax," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 159-168.

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