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Is Forgiveness Divine? A Cross-Culture Comparison of Tax Amnesties

  • Benno Torgler
  • Christoph A. Schaltegger
  • Markus Schaffner

Tax compliance literature lacks empirical evidence regarding the effects of a tax amnesty on tax compliance. To measure the long run effects of an amnesty on compliance, experiments in Switzerland and Costa Rica were conducted. The results suggest that tax compliance raises significantly when people get the opportunity to vote for or against a tax amnesty, independently from whether a tax amnesty is rejected or not. The strongest effect can be achieved when voting is coupled with pre-voting discussion. Furthermore, the anticipation of further tax amnesties reduces positive effects on tax compliance. All these findings are robust across the different cultures. Interestingly, our results indicate that tax compliance is significantly higher in Costa Rica than to Switzerland.

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Article provided by Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES) in its journal Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 139 (2003)
Issue (Month): III (September)
Pages: 375-396

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Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:2003-iii-7
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