Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Taxpayers' Behavioural Responses and Measures of Tax Compliance 'Gaps': A Critique

Contents:

Author Info

  • Gemmell, Norman
  • Hasseldine, John

Abstract

The work of Feldstein (1995, 1999) has stimulated substantial conceptual and empirical advances in economists’ approaches to analysing taxpayers’ behavioural responses to changes in tax rates. Meanwhile, a largely independent literature proposing and applying alternative measures of tax compliance has also developed in recent years, which has sought to provide tax agencies with tools to identify the extent of tax non-compliance as a first step to designing policies to improve compliance. In this context, measures of ‘tax gaps’ – the difference between actual tax collected and the potential tax collection under full compliance with the tax code – have become the primary measures of tax non-compliance via (legal) avoidance and/or (illegal) evasion. In this paper we argue that the tax gap as conventionally defined is conceptually flawed because it fails to capture behavioural responses by taxpayers. We show that, in the presence of such behavioural responses, tax gap measures both for indirect taxes (such as the ‘VAT-gap’) and direct (income) taxes exaggerate the degree of noncompliance. Further, where these conventional tax gap measures motivate reforms designed to increase the tax compliance rate, they will likely have a tax base reducing effect and hence generate a smaller increase in realised tax revenues than would be anticipated from the tax gap estimate.

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://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/handle/10063/2853
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance in its series Working Paper Series with number 2853.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vuw:vuwcpf:2853

Contact details of provider:
Postal: School of Accounting & Commercial Law, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: +64 (4) 463 5775
Fax: +64 (4) 463 5076
Email:
Web page: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/sacl/about/chair-in-public-finance
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Behavioural responses; Taxpayers; Tax rate changes; Tax policy; Compliance;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2007. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1991. "An Econometric Analysis of Income Tax Evasion and its Detection," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 14-35, Spring.
  5. Saez, Emmanuel, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 205-29, January.
  6. Creedy, John & Gemmell, Norman, 2012. "Measuring Revenue Responses to Tax Rate Changes in Multi-Rate Income Tax Systems: Behavioural and Structural Factors," Working Paper Series 2430, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
  7. Emmanuel Saez & Joel B. Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2009. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 15012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Giles, David E A, 1997. "Testing for Asymmetry in the Measured and Underground Business Cycles in New Zealand," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 73(222), pages 225-32, September.
  9. Giles, David E A, 1999. "Measuring the Hidden Economy: Implications for Econometric Modelling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F370-80, June.
  10. Sandmo, Agnar, 2005. "The Theory of Tax Evasion: A Retrospective View," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(4), pages 643-63, December .
  11. Martin Feldstein, 1999. "Tax Avoidance And The Deadweight Loss Of The Income Tax," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 674-680, November.
  12. Feinstein, Jonathan S, 1999. "Approaches for Estimating Noncompliance: Examples from Federal Taxation in the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F360-69, June.
  13. Gemmell, Norman & Hasseldine, John, 2012. "The Tax Gap: A Methodological Review," Working Paper Series 2435, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

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:vuw:vuwcpf:2853. 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: (Library Technology Services).

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.