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Optimal auditing and insurance in a dynamic model of tax compliance

  • Zhang, Yuzhe

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Texas A & M University)

  • Ravikumar, B.

    ()

    (Research Division, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

We study the optimal auditing of a taxpayer's income in a dynamic principal-agent model of hidden income. Taxpayers in our model initially have low income and stochastically transit to high income that is an absorbing state. A low-income taxpayer who transits to high income can under-report his true income and evade his taxes. With a constant absolute risk-aversion utility function and a costly auditing technology, we show that the optimal auditing mechanism in our model consists of cycles. Within each cycle, a low-income taxpayer is initially unaudited, but if the duration of low-income report exceeds a threshold, then the auditing probability becomes positive. That is, the tax authority guarantees that the taxpayer will not be audited until the threshold duration is reached. We also find that auditing becomes less frequent if the auditing cost is higher or if the variance of income is lower.

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File URL: http://econtheory.org/ojs/index.php/te/article/viewFile/20120241/6719/216
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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 7 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:737
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econtheory.org

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  1. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2006. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 257-279, April.
  2. Zhang, Yuzhe, 2009. "Dynamic contracting with persistent shocks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 635-675, March.
  3. Thomas Mertens & Roc Armenter, 2010. "Fraud Deterrence in Dynamic Mirrleesian Economies," 2010 Meeting Papers 468, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Fernandes, Ana & Phelan, Christopher, 2000. "A Recursive Formulation for Repeated Agency with History Dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 223-247, April.
  5. Ravikumar, B. & Zhang, Yuzhe, 2010. "Optimal Auditing in a Dynamic Model of Tax Compliance," MPRA Paper 23218, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Cyril Monnet & Erwan Quintin, 2005. "Optimal contracts in a dynamic costly state verification model," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 867-885, November.
  7. Marek Kapicka, 2013. "Efficient Allocations in Dynamic Private Information Economies with Persistent Shocks: A First-Order Approach," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 1027-1054.
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