Criminal Investigation Enforcement Activities and Taxpayer Noncompliance
This article tests empirically whether measurable activities of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CI) affect taxpayer compliance. The analysis is based on a state-level cross-section for the time period 1988 through 2001. First, it finds that CI activities have a measurable and significant effect on voluntary compliance. Second, it concludes that the mix of sentenced cases (for tax and money laundering violations) is not a significant determinant of tax compliance. Third, it finds that incarceration and probation (rather than fines) have the most influence on taxpayers. Simulations using the estimated models show that the direct effect of doubling the audit rate on assessed tax collections (reported amounts and additional taxes and penalties) is $21.7 billion. Doubling CI tax and money laundering sentences is forecast to increase assessed collections by $16.0 billion. It estimates the general deterrence or spillover effects from either audit or CI activities to be approximately 95 percent.
Volume (Year): 35 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
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