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Decomposing Revenue Effects of Tax Evasion, Base Broadening and Tax Rate Reduction


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  • Ira N. Gang

    (Rutgers University)

  • Arindam Das-Gupta

    (Rutgers University)


This paper proposes a method for evaluating the impact of tax reform on tax revenues and the distribution of the tax burden. The technique consists of decomposing actual revenue relative to potential revenue into components attributable to (i) changes in the tax rate structure (ii) deductions and (iii) tax evasion. If the standard reform package is successful, revenue loss from deductions should be curtailed by base broadening. Furthermore, revenues lost by lowering tax rates should be more than compensated by the induced decline in tax evasion. We use the method to examine tax reforms in India. Our results indicate that, for the reform episode we examine, reform did have the looked for effect but that these gains could not be sustained over time. The magnitude of the gains from the reform were limited and failed to curtail losses from tax evasion to any significant extent. At a disaggregated level, gains to the exchequer from the tax reform have arisen mainly from low income taxpayers without having much impact on upper income group taxpayers. Furthermore, the reforms had little or no impact on deductions taken by business income earners and professionals. This raises questions about the desirability of base-broadening and rate-cum-slab reduction from the perspective of equity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 199506.

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Date of creation: 23 Jul 1998
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Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:199506

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Keywords: base broadening; decomposition; liberalization; tax evasion; tax reform;

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  1. Feenberg, D.R. & Poterba, J.M., 1992. "Income Inequality and the Incomes of Very High Income Taxpayers: Evidence from Tax Returns," Working papers 92-16, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  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.
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Cited by:
  1. Sanyal, Amal & Gang, Ira N & Goswami, Omkar, 2000. " Corruption, Tax Evasion and the Laffer Curve," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(1-2), pages 61-78, October.
  2. Arindam Das-Gupta & Radhika Lahiri & Dilip Mookherjee, 1995. "Income Tax Compliance in India: An Empirical Analysis," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 57, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.


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