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Taxpayer Information Assistance Services and Tax Compliance Behavior

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Author Info

  • James Alm

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • Todd Cherry

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Walker College of Business, Appalachian State University)

  • Michael Jones

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Bridgewater State College)

  • Michael McKee

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Walker College of Business, Appalachian State University)

Abstract

The traditional "enforcement" paradigm of tax administration views taxpayers as potential criminals, and emphasizes the repression of illegal behavior through frequent audits and stiff penalties. However, an important trend in tax administration policies in recent years is the recognition that this paradigm is incomplete. Instead, a revised "service" paradigm recognizes the role of enforcement, but also emphasizes the role of tax administration as a facilitator and a provider of services to taxpayer-citizens. This research utilizes laboratory experiments to test the effectiveness of such taxpayer service programs in enhancing tax compliance. Our basic experimental setting mimics the naturally occurring environment: subjects earn income, they must choose whether to file a tax return, and they then must choose how much of their net income to report to a tax authority that may audit the subject. To investigate the effects of taxpayer services, we "complicate" these compliance decisions of subjects, and then provide "services" from the "tax administration" that allow subjects to compute more easily their tax liabilities. Our results indicate that uncertainty reduces both the filing and the reporting compliance of an individual. However, we also find that agency-provided information has a positive and significant impact on the tendency of an individual to file a tax return, and also on reporting for individuals who choose to file a return.

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File URL: http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1101.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1101.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1101

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Keywords: tax evasion; tax compliance; behavioral economics; experimental economics;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Djawadi, Behnud Mir & Fahr, René, 2013. "The Impact of Tax Knowledge and Budget Spending Influence on Tax Compliance," IZA Discussion Papers 7255, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. James, Simon & Edwards, Alison, 2010. "An annotated bibliography of tax compliance and tax compliance costs," MPRA Paper 26106, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Duncan, Denvil, 2014. "Tax Incidence in the Presence of Tax Evasion," IZA Discussion Papers 8137, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Konrad, Kai A. & Lohse, Tim & Qari, Salmai, 2011. "Customs compliance and the power of imagination," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2011-108, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  5. Eichfelder, Sebastian & Kegels, Chantal, 2014. "Compliance costs caused by agency action? Empirical evidence and implications for tax compliance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 200-219.
  6. Stefura Gabriela, 2012. "The Role of Opportunity, Taxpayers’ Perceptions and Demographic Differences in Tax Compliance Analysis," Annals - Economic and Administrative Series -, Faculty of Business and Administration, University of Bucharest, vol. 6(1), pages 163-177, December.
  7. European Commission, 2013. "Tax reforms in EU Member States - Tax policy challenges for economic growth and fiscal sustainability – 2013 Report," Taxation Papers 38, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  8. Sebastian Eichfelder & Chantal Kegels, 2012. "Compliance costs caused by agency action? Empirical evidence and implications for tax compliance," Schumpeter Discussion Papers sdp12005, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
  9. James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, Explaining, and Controlling Tax Evasion: Lessons from Theory, Experiments, and Field Studies," Working Papers 1213, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  10. James Alm & Kim M. Bloomquist & Michael McKee, 2013. "When You Know Your Neighbor Pays Taxes: Information, Peer Effects, and Tax Compliance," Working Papers 13-22, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  11. James Alm & Jeremy Clark & Kara Leibel, 2011. "Socio-economic Diversity, Social Capital, and Tax Filing Compliance in the United States," Working Papers in Economics 11/35, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  12. Djanali, Iwan & Sheehan-Connor, Damien, 2012. "Tax affinity hypothesis: Do we really hate paying taxes?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 758-775.

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