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Feasible Net Income Distributions Under Income Tax Evasion: An Equilibrium Analysis

  • Landsberger, Michael
  • Monderer, Dov
  • Talmor, Irit
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    We investigate how redistribution of income is affected by the fact that income is privately observed and agents may not be truthful in their reports to tax authorities. In response, the government establishes an audit mechanism with penalties. Adhering to a signaling equilibrium concept, we prove that agents resort to mixed strategies, which makes it difficult for tax authorities to identify the true types. The audit strategy has a cutoff property: all income declarations below the pivotal income are audited with a constant probability; other declarations are not audited. In spite of not necessarily being truthful, agents whose true income is below or equal to the pivotal income pay their liability and, consequently, the government is implementing the designated tax schedule for those agents. In equilibrium, penalties and tax corrections equal the audit cost. Consequently, the audit system does not contribute directly to revenues, and its role is restricted to supporting the equilibrium. Copyright 2000 by Blackwell Publishing Inc.

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    Article provided by Association for Public Economic Theory in its journal Journal of Public Economic Theory.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 135-53

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:2:y:2000:i:1:p:135-53
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