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Economic and Political Determinants of Tax Amnesties in the U.S. States

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  • Eric Le Borgne
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    Abstract

    This paper revisits earlier studies on the determinants of tax amnesties. The novel findings are (i) amnesties are more likely to be declared during fiscal stress periods, and (ii) political factors significantly affect the introduction and timing of amnesties. In particular, the paper empirically disentangles opposite theoretical effects to show that governors perceive amnesties as another revenue source (rather than a tax increase alternative). Finally, supporting evidence shows that by breaking horizontal equity, amnesties might be perceived as unfair: a significant correlation exists between governors who lost their reelection bids and the introduction of a tax amnesty during their election years.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 06/222.

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    Length: 13
    Date of creation: 01 Sep 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:06/222

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    Related research

    Keywords: Tax revenues; Economic models;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

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    1. Tim Besley, 2002. "Political institutions and policy choices: evidence from the United States," IFS Working Papers W02/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
    3. Malik, Arun S. & Schwab, Robert M., 1991. "The economics of tax amnesties," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 29-49, October.
    4. 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.
    5. Herman B. Leonard & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1986. "Amnesty, Enforcement and Tax Policy," NBER Working Papers 2096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Andreoni, James, 1991. "The desirability of a permanent tax amnesty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 143-159, July.
    7. Alm, James & Beck, William, 1993. "Tax Amnesties and Compliance in the Long Run: A Time Series Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(1), pages 53-60, March Cit.
    8. Stella, Peter, 1991. "An economic analysis of tax amnesties," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 383-400, December.
    9. Alm, James & McKee, Michael J. & Beck, William, 1990. "Amazing Grace: Tax Amnesties and Compliance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 43(1), pages 23-37, March Cit.
    10. Dubin, Jeffrey A & Graetz, Michael J & Wilde, Louis L, 1992. "State Income Tax Amnesties: Causes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 1057-70, August.
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