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Dodging the Taxman: Firm Misreporting and Limits to Tax Enforcement

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  • Paul Carrillo
  • Dina Pomeranz
  • Monica Singhal

Abstract

Reducing tax evasion is a priority for many governments. A growing literature argues that verifying taxpayer reports against third-party information is critical for tax collection. However, effectiveness can be limited when tax authorities face constraints to credible enforcement and taxpayers make offsetting adjustments on other margins. We exploit a policy intervention in which Ecuadorian firms were notified about detected revenue discrepancies. Most firms simply failed to respond. Firms that responded increased reported revenue, matching the discrepancy amount when provided. However, they also increased reported costs by 96 cents per dollar of revenue adjustment, resulting in minor increases in tax collection.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Carrillo & Dina Pomeranz & Monica Singhal, 2017. "Dodging the Taxman: Firm Misreporting and Limits to Tax Enforcement," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 144-164, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:9:y:2017:i:2:p:144-64
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20140495
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development

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