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Strategic Tax Planning for State Tax Amnesties


  • Justin M. Ross

    () (School of Public & Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA)

  • Neal D. Buckwalter

    (School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI, USA)


Tax amnesty programs have exploded in popularity among cash-strapped states since the beginning of the Great Recession. Though many scholars have been interested in the long-term tax compliance effects after amnesty programs, this article is the first to consider short-run compliance effects just prior to a known amnesty—a moral hazard effect leading to strategic delinquencies. Evidence of this is detected from year-over-year tax revenue change in quarters just prior to an amnesty program. Regression analysis on pre-amnesty periods for state tax amnesty programs between 1982 and 2011 indicates that states experience higher pre-amnesty revenues when recent delinquents are excluded from amnesty participation. The point estimates from ordinary least squares (OLS) indicated that about 4.3 to 6.4 percent of an average amnesty’s recovery came from strategically delayed payments, whereas IV/2SLS put the range at 12.9 to 16.5 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Justin M. Ross & Neal D. Buckwalter, 2013. "Strategic Tax Planning for State Tax Amnesties," Public Finance Review, , vol. 41(3), pages 275-301, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:41:y:2013:i:3:p:275-301

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    Cited by:

    1. Bayer, Ralph-C. & Oberhofer, Harald & Winner, Hannes, 2015. "The occurrence of tax amnesties: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 70-82.

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    tax amnesty; tax planning; tax delinquency;


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