IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ntj/journl/v55y2002i1p75-88.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Complexity and Compliance: An Empirical Investigation

Author

Listed:
  • Forest, Adam
  • Sheffrin, Steven M.

Abstract

Can a simplified United States tax system act as an effective deterrent to individual income tax evasion? Deterrence is usually sought through alternative methods that create fear, for example, increasing the probability of an audit. In contrast, this paper analyzes whether a simple tax system creates comfort and encourages compliance. Using data from the 1990 Taxpayer Opinion Survey, our approach is to estimate an empirical model that explores the connections between (i) taxpayer perceptions of the complexity of the tax system, (ii) taxpayer perceptions of the unfairness of the tax system, and (iii) taxpayer noncompliance. The results suggest that simplifying the tax system may not be an effective deterrent to tax evasion because taxpayers do not necessarily consider a complex tax system to be unfair.

Suggested Citation

  • Forest, Adam & Sheffrin, Steven M., 2002. "Complexity and Compliance: An Empirical Investigation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 55(1), pages 75-88, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:55:y:2002:i:1:p:75-88
    DOI: 10.17310/ntj.2002.1.05
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2002.1.05
    Download Restriction: Access is restricted to subscribers and members of the National Tax Association.

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2002.1.05
    Download Restriction: Access is restricted to subscribers and members of the National Tax Association.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.17310/ntj.2002.1.05?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hettich, Walter & Winer, Stanley L, 1988. "Economic and Political Foundations of Tax Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 701-712, September.
    2. Erard, Brian, 1993. "Taxation with representation : An analysis of the role of tax practitioners in tax compliance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 163-197, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Paulus, Alari, 2015. "Tax evasion and measurement error: An econometric analysis of survey data linked with tax records," ISER Working Paper Series 2015-10, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Eisenhauer, Joseph G., 2008. "Ethical preferences, risk aversion, and taxpayer behavior," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 45-63, February.
    3. Wrede, Matthias, 2013. "Rational choice of itemized deductions," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 01/2013, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    4. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Tax Morale, Rule-Governed Behaviour and Trust," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 119-140, June.
    5. Nihal Bayraktar, 2016. "Tax simplification and tax efficiency," EcoMod2016 9100, EcoMod.
    6. Rajul Awasthi & Nihal Bayraktar, 2015. "Can tax simplification help lower tax corruption?," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(2), pages 297-330, December.
    7. Aktaş Güzel, Sonnur & Özer, Gökhan & Özcan, Murat, 2019. "The effect of the variables of tax justice perception and trust in government on tax compliance: The case of Turkey," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 80-86.
    8. Torgler, Benno & Demir, Ihsan C. & Macintyre, Alison & Schaffner, Markus, 2008. "Causes and Consequences of Tax Morale: An Empirical Investigation," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 313-339, September.
    9. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2011. "Tax Morale, Tax Evasion and the Shadow Economy," Chapters, in: Friedrich Schneider (ed.), Handbook on the Shadow Economy, chapter 10, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Cummings, Ronald G. & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McKee, Michael & Torgler, Benno, 2009. "Tax morale affects tax compliance: Evidence from surveys and an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 447-457, June.
    11. Michael McKee & Caleb A. Siladke & Christian A. Vossler, 2018. "Behavioral dynamics of tax compliance when taxpayer assistance services are available," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(3), pages 722-756, June.
    12. Rick Weber, 2015. "The Effect of Tax Code Complexity on Entrepreneurship," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 30(Summer 20), pages 83-102.
    13. Durham, Yvonne & Manly, Tracy S. & Ritsema, Christina, 2014. "The effects of income source, context, and income level on tax compliance decisions in a dynamic experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 220-233.
    14. Benno Torgler & Markus Schaffner & Alison Macintyre, 2007. "Tax Compliance, Tax Morale and Governance Quality," CREMA Working Paper Series 2007-17, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    15. Robert Ullmann & Christoph Watrin, 2008. "Comparing Direct and Indirect Taxation: The Influence of Framing on Tax Compliance," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 5(1), pages 23-56, June.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Forest, Adam & Sheffrin, Steven M., 2002. "Complexity and Compliance: An Empirical Investigation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 1), pages 75-88, March.
    2. Tidiane Ly, 2018. "Sub-metropolitan tax competition with household and capital mobility," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(5), pages 1129-1169, October.
    3. Goodspeed, Timothy J., 2002. "Tax competition and tax structure in open federal economies: Evidence from OECD countries with implications for the European Union," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 357-374, February.
    4. Bazart, C., 2001. "La complexité du processus institutionnel de décision fiscale : causes et conséquences," Cahiers du CREDEN (CREDEN Working Papers) 01.06.23, CREDEN (Centre de Recherche en Economie et Droit de l'Energie), Faculty of Economics, University of Montpellier 1.
    5. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:8:y:2007:i:4:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Federico Revelli, 2013. "Tax Mix Corners and Other Kinks," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(3), pages 741-776.
    7. Dalibor Eterovic & Nicolas Eterovic, 2010. "Political Competition vs. PoliticalParticipation: Effects on Government's Size," Working Papers wp_006, Adolfo Ibáñez University, School of Government.
    8. Inman, Robert P. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1996. "Designing tax policy in federalist economies: An overview," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 307-334, June.
    9. Kelsey, Timothy W. & Smith, Stephen M. & Luloff, A.E., 1995. "The Impact Of An Aging Rural Population On Local Tax Structures," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 24(2), pages 1-11, October.
    10. James Alm, 2014. "Does an uncertain tax system encourage üaggressive tax planningý?," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 30-38.
    11. Stanley L. Winer & Walter Hettich, 2002. "The Political Economy of Taxation: Positive and Normative Analysis when Collective Choice Matters," Carleton Economic Papers 02-11, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 2004.
    12. Stefan Wachter & Sebastian Galiani, 2006. "Optimal income support targeting," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 13(6), pages 661-684, November.
    13. Pickhardt, Michael & Prinz, Aloys, 2014. "Behavioral dynamics of tax evasion – A survey," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-19.
    14. Marco Battaglini & Luigi Guiso & Chiara Lacava & Eleonora Patacchini, 2019. "Tax Professionals: Tax-Evasion Facilitators or Information Hubs?," NBER Working Papers 25745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. De Donder, Philippe & Hindriks, Jean, 2003. "The politics of progressive income taxation with incentive effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2491-2505, October.
    16. Alm, James & Cherry, Todd & Jones, Michael & McKee, Michael, 2010. "Taxpayer information assistance services and tax compliance behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 577-586, August.
    17. Goel, Rajeev K. & Nelson, Michael A., 2007. "The Master Settlement Agreement and cigarette tax policy," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 431-438.
    18. Engelmann, Tobias & von Haldenwang, Christian & Sahler, Gregor & Elfert, Alice & Germain, Samuel & Stanzel Ferreira, Amelie, 2015. "The devolution of the land and building tax in Indonesia," Studies, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), volume 89, number 89.
    19. Bame-Aldred, Charles W. & Cullen, John B. & Martin, Kelly D. & Parboteeah, K. Praveen, 2013. "National culture and firm-level tax evasion," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 390-396.
    20. Alberto Sole Olle, 1998. "The effects of tax deductibility on the mix of property taxes and use charges: an empirical analysis of the spanish case," Working Papers in Economics 41, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    21. Elaine Doyle & Jane Hughes & Keith Glaister, 2009. "Linking Ethics and Risk Management in Taxation: Evidence from an Exploratory Study in Ireland and the UK," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 86(2), pages 177-198, May.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:55:y:2002:i:1:p:75-88. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://www.ntanet.org/ .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: The University of Chicago Press (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.ntanet.org/ .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.