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Spatiality and Persistence in U.S. Individual Income Tax Compliance

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  • Alm, James
  • Yunus, Mohammad

Abstract

This paper examines the twin issues of spatiality and persistence in the individual income tax evasion decision. The issue of persistence arises through accumulated learning over time; spatiality arises for several reasons, including the exchange of information between taxpayers, the social norm of tax compliance, and the difficulties faced by individuals with dynamic stochastic decision problems like tax evasion. The paper uses state–level, time–series, cross–section data for the years 1979 to 1997 to estimate the factors that affect per return evasion of the individual income tax. The estimation methods incorporate both spatial dependence and dynamic considerations; they also consider the potential endogeneity of the audit rate. The empirical results provide strong and robust support for both spatiality and persistence in tax evasion. The results also show a large deterrent effect from higher audit rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Alm, James & Yunus, Mohammad, 2009. "Spatiality and Persistence in U.S. Individual Income Tax Compliance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(1), pages 101-124, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:62:y:2009:i:1:p:101-24
    DOI: 10.17310/ntj.2009.1.05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alm, James & Jackson, Betty & McKee, Michael J., 1992. "Estimating the Determinants of Taxpayer Compliance With Experimental Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 45(1), pages 107-114, March.
    2. Alm, James & Jackson, Betty & McKee, Michael J., 1992. "Estimating the Determinants of Taxpayer Compliance with Experimental Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(1), pages 107-14, March.
    3. Alm, James & Sanchez, Isabel & de Juan, Ana, 1995. "Economic and Noneconomic Factors in Tax Compliance," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 3-18.
    4. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard J. Cebula, 2014. "The underground economy in the U.S.A.: preliminary new evidence on the impact of income tax rates (and other factors) on aggregate tax evasion 1975-2008," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 67(271), pages 451-481.
    2. James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, explaining, and controlling tax evasion: lessons from theory, experiments, and field studies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 54-77, February.
    3. James, Ryan D. & Campbell Jr., Harrison S., 2016. "Exploring the Role of Unearned and Non-Wage Income on Regional Income Convergence," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 46(2), December.
    4. Garcia, Filomena & Opromolla, Luca David & Vezzulli, Andrea & Marques, Rafael, 2020. "The effects of official and unofficial information on tax compliance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    5. James Alm & Ali Enami & Michael McKee, 2020. "Who Responds? Disentangling the Effects of Audits on Individual Tax Compliance Behavior," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 48(2), pages 147-159, June.
    6. James Alm, 2017. "Is Economics Useful for Public Policy?," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 83(4), pages 835-854, April.
    7. Hungerman, Daniel M., 2014. "Public goods, hidden income, and tax evasion: Some nonstandard results from the warm-glow model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 188-202.
    8. Alm, James & Shimshack, Jay, 2014. "Environmental Enforcement and Compliance: Lessons from Pollution, Safety, and Tax Settings," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 10(4), pages 209-274, December.
    9. James Alm, 2014. "Expanding the theory of tax compliance from individual to group motivations," Chapters, in: Francesco Forte & Ram Mudambi & Pietro Maria Navarra (ed.), A Handbook of Alternative Theories of Public Economics, chapter 12, pages 260-277, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Gamannossi degl’Innocenti, Duccio & Rablen, Matthew D., 2020. "Tax evasion on a social network," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 79-91.
    11. Anastasiou Athanasios & Kalligosfyris Charalampos & Kalamara Eleni, 2021. "Determinants of tax evasion in Greece: Econometric analysis of co-integration and causality, variance decomposition and impulse response analysis," Bulletin of Applied Economics, Risk Market Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 29-57.
    12. Eleftheriou, Konstantinos, 2019. "Spillovers of tax audits in Greek tourist destinations," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 334-337.
    13. James Alm & Carolyn J. Bourdeaux, 2013. "Applying Behavioral Economics to the Public Sector," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 206(3), pages 91-134, September.
    14. Jagrič Timotej & Lešnik Tomaž & Grbenic Stefan O. & Jagrič Vita, 2019. "The Fulfilment of Tax Obligation in Case of Slovenian Tax Residents Working in Other Countries," Naše gospodarstvo/Our economy, Sciendo, vol. 65(4), pages 27-34, December.
    15. Cebula, Richard J., 2011. "Aggregate Income Tax Evasion: Empirical Results Using new IRS Data for the U.S. - L’evasione aggregata del reddito: risultati empirici ottenuti utilizzando i nuovi dati IRS per gli USA," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 64(4), pages 423-443.
    16. Franklin G. Mixon & Richard J. Cebula (ed.), 2014. "New Developments in Economic Education," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15538.
    17. James Alm, 2019. "What Motivates Tax Compliance?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 353-388, April.
    18. Jimenez, Peggy & Iyer, Govind S., 2016. "Tax compliance in a social setting: The influence of social norms, trust in government, and perceived fairness on taxpayer compliance," Advances in accounting, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 17-26.
    19. Ayaz KHAN* & Samina KHALIL**, 2017. "THE REAL SIZE OF UNDERGROUND ECONOMY: A Case of Pakistan," Pakistan Journal of Applied Economics, Applied Economics Research Centre, vol. 27(1), pages 89-100.
    20. Choi, Eun-Young & Johnson, Thomas G., 2014. "Economic Impact of the Informal Childcare Sector in Kansas," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 44(1).
    21. Raga Hudori & Elia Mustikasari, 2020. "The Strength of Audits, Reporting Standards and Corruption, on Tax Evasion: A Cross-Country Study," International Journal of Economics & Business Administration (IJEBA), International Journal of Economics & Business Administration (IJEBA), vol. 0(2), pages 554-567.

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