Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence from a Randomized Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark

Contents:

Author Info

  • Henrik J. Kleven
  • Martin B. Knudsen
  • Claus T. Kreiner
  • Søren Pedersen
  • Emmanuel Saez

Abstract

This paper analyzes a randomized tax enforcement experiment in Denmark. In the base year, a stratified and representative sample of over 40,000 individual income tax filers was selected for the experiment. Half of the tax filers were randomly selected to be thoroughly audited, while the rest were deliberately not audited. The following year, "threat-of-audit" letters were randomly assigned and sent to tax filers in both groups. Using comprehensive administrative tax data, we present four main findings. First, we find that the tax evasion rate is very small (0.3%) for income subject to third-party reporting, but substantial (37%) for self-reported income. Since 95% of all income is third-party reported, the overall evasion rate is very modest. Second, using bunching evidence around large and salient kink points of the nonlinear income tax schedule, we find that marginal tax rates have a positive impact on tax evasion, but that this effect is small in comparison to avoidance responses. Third, we find that prior audits substantially increase self-reported income, implying that individuals update their beliefs about detection probability based on experiencing an audit. Fourth, threat-of-audit letters also have a significant effect on self-reported income, and the size of this effect depends positively on the audit probability expressed in the letter. All these empirical results can be explained by extending the standard model of (rational) tax evasion to allow for the key distinction between self-reported and third-party reported incomes.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15769.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15769.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Kleven, Henrik, Martin Knudsen, Claus Kreiner, So ren Pedersen , and Emmanuel Saez “ U nwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence from a Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark ” , Econometrica 79(3), 2011, 651 - 692.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15769

Note: PE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Sara LaLumia & James M. Sallee, 2011. "The Value of Honesty: Empirical Estimates from the Case of the Missing Children," NBER Working Papers 17247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James Alm, 2013. "Expanding the Theory of Tax Compliance from Individual to Group Motivations," Working Papers 1309, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  3. Barth, Erling & Cappelen, Alexander W. & Ognedal, Tone, 2013. "Fair tax evasion," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 11/2013, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
    • Barth, Erling & Cappelen, Alexander W. & Ognedal, Tone, 2006. "Fair Tax Evasion," Memorandum 07/2006, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  4. James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, Explaining, and Controlling Tax Evasion: Lessons from Theory, Experiments, and Field Studies," Working Papers 1213, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  5. Paul E. Carrillo & M. Shahe Emran & Gabriela Aparicio, 2011. "Taxes, Prisons, and CFOs: The Effects of Increased Punishment on Corporate Tax Compliance in Ecuador," Working Papers 2011-02, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15769. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.