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Compliance costs vs. tax incentives: Why do entrepreneurs respond to size-based regulations?

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  • Harju, Jarkko
  • Matikka, Tuomas
  • Rauhanen, Timo

Abstract

This paper studies the mechanisms behind the responses of entrepreneurs to size-dependent tax regulation. We exploit the value-added tax (VAT) exemption threshold in Finland. Both tax incentives (remitted VAT) and compliance costs (frequent filing of VAT reports, understanding the VAT system, etc.) change at this sales-based threshold in a discontinuous manner. We utilize variation in both the VAT rate and reporting requirements to show that the large observed sales response is caused by the compliance costs of VAT rather than the level of the VAT rate, highlighting the key role of compliance costs among small firms and entrepreneurs.

Suggested Citation

  • Harju, Jarkko & Matikka, Tuomas & Rauhanen, Timo, 2019. "Compliance costs vs. tax incentives: Why do entrepreneurs respond to size-based regulations?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 139-164.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:173:y:2019:i:c:p:139-164
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2019.02.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Asatryan, Zareh & Gomtsyan, David, 2020. "The incidence of VAT evasion," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-027, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    2. Li Liu & Ben Lockwood & Miguel Almunia & Eddy H. F. Tam, 2021. "VAT Notches, Voluntary Registration, and Bunching: Theory and U.K. Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 151-164, March.
    3. Youssef Benzarti, 2020. "Estimating the Costs of Filing Tax Returns and the Potential Savings from Policies Aimed at Reducing These Costs," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 35, pages 55-85, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jarkko Harju & Simon Jäger & Benjamin Schoefer, 2021. "Voice at Work," NBER Working Papers 28522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Alina HAGIU & Marinela BARBULESCU, 2019. "The Business Environment In Romania Compared To Europe And Central Asia," Scientific Bulletin - Economic Sciences, University of Pitesti, vol. 18(2), pages 26-35.
    6. Žiga Kotnik & Maja Klun & Renata Slabe-Erker, 2020. "Identification of the Factors That Affect the Environmental Administrative Burden for Businesses," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(16), pages 1-15, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Compliance costs; Value-added tax; Entrepreneurs; Firm behavior;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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