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The Optimality of Punishing Only the Innocent: The Case of Tax Evasion

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  • Robin Boadway
  • Motohiro Sato

Abstract

We study the effectson tax enforcement and tax policy of unintentional complianceerrors by taxpayers and administrative errors by tax auditors.The government can impose both penalties for misreporting andrewards for honest reporting. Maximal sanctions will not be appliedbecause errors are possible, so evasion cannot be eliminatedcostlessly. Under optimal policy intentional evasion can be deterred,but innocent tax evaders must be penalized whether they haveunintentionally evaded or have been mistakenly convicted. Thisdeters intentional evasion, but limits redistribution. Withoutrewards for honest reporting, the revelation principle need notapply, so intentional evasion can occur. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Suggested Citation

  • Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2000. "The Optimality of Punishing Only the Innocent: The Case of Tax Evasion," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 7(6), pages 641-664, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:7:y:2000:i:6:p:641-664
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1008777309680
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jordi Caballé & Judith Panadés, 2005. "Cost Uncertainty and Taxpayer Compliance," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(3), pages 239-263, May.
    2. Agnar Sandmo, 2012. "An evasive topic: theorizing about the hidden economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 5-24, February.
    3. Ralph-C. Bayer, 2006. "Finding Out Who The Crooks Are — Tax Evasion With Sequential Auditing," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 51(02), pages 195-227.
    4. repec:zbw:rwimat:037 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hashimzade, Nigar & Huang, Zhanyi & Myles, Gareth D., 2010. "Tax fraud by firms and optimal auditing," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 10-17, March.
    6. Ugo Troiano, 2017. "Intergovernmental Cooperation and Tax Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 24153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Kai A. Konrad & Salmai Qari, 2012. "The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel? Patriotism and Tax Compliance," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 79(315), pages 516-533, July.
    8. Wolfram F. Richter & Robin W. Boadway, 2005. "Trading Off Tax Distortion and Tax Evasion," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(3), pages 361-381, August.
    9. Silvia Platoni & Francesco Timpano, 2013. "Redistribution and Tax Evasion: an Asymmetric Information Approach," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali dises1394, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    10. Philip Curry & Steeve Mongrain, "undated". "What You Don't See Can't Hurt You: An Economic Analysis of," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1062, American Law & Economics Association.
    11. Frank A Cowell, 2003. "Sticks and Carrots," STICERD - Distributional Analysis Research Programme Papers 68, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    12. Stefan Dodds, 2002. "Privacy and Endogenous Monitoring Choice When Private Information is a Public Good," Working Papers 1010, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    13. Cécile Bazart & Michael Pickhardt, 2009. "Fighting Income Tax Evasion with Positive Rewards: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 09-01, LAMETA, Universitiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2009.
    14. Laszlo Goerke, 2008. "Tax Overpayments, Tax Evasion, and Book-Tax Differences," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(4), pages 643-671, August.
    15. Wolfram F. Richter, 2007. "Geplante Steuerhinterziehung und ihre effiziente Bestrafung," RWI Materialien, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, pages 31, 08.
    16. Pickhardt, Michael & Prinz, Aloys, 2014. "Behavioral dynamics of tax evasion – A survey," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-19.
    17. Richter, Wolfram F., 2007. "Geplante Steuerhinterziehung und ihre effiziente Bestrafung," RWI Materialien 37, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.

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