Investigating Behavioral Responses to Positive Inducements for Filing Tax Returns
A significant amount of non-compliance associated with the personal income tax is due to the taxpayers who are not “in the system,” not having filed a tax return in the recent past or perhaps ever. We use experimental laboratory methods to examine two types of positive incentives for filing tax returns: tax credits and social safety net benefits, both of which are conditional on tax filing. Our experimental design captures the essential features of the voluntary income reporting and tax assessment system used in many countries. Human participants in a controlled laboratory environment earn income through their performance in a task. The participants must then decide whether to file a tax return and, conditional upon filing, how much income to report. Taxes are paid on reported income only. Unreported income of filers may be discovered via a random audit, and the participant must then pay the owed taxes plus a fine based on the unpaid taxes; non-filers are not subject to an audit. Inducements for filing are introduced in several alternative treatments. In one treatment we introduce a social safety net (e.g., unemployment replacement income) that is conditional on past filing behavior. In a second treatment we introduce tax credits that are available either to low income participants or to all income levels, but again only to those who file a tax return. Our results suggest that a tax credit increases filing but only if the credit is targeted to low income earners. The provision of a social safety net via unemployment benefits also has a positive, albeit indirect, impact on participation. Key Words:
|Date of creation:||2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.business.appstate.edu/departments/economics/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Cherry, Todd L. & Shogren, Jason F., 2008. "Self-interest, sympathy and the origin of endowments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 69-72, October.
- Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2004.
"Tax Evasion and Social Interactions,"
Cahiers de recherche
- Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2004. "Tax Evasion and Social Interactions," Post-Print halshs-00175016, HAL.
- Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2007. "Tax Evasion and Social Interactions," Post-Print halshs-00238448, HAL.
- Marie-Claire Villeval & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2005. "Tax Evasion and Social Interactions," Working Papers 0410, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
- Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2004. "Tax Evasion and Social Interactions," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-61, CIRANO.
- Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2004. "Tax Evasion and Social Interactions," Post-Print halshs-00180104, HAL.
- Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2004. "Tax Evasion and Social Interactions," IZA Discussion Papers 1359, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Alm, James & Jackson, Betty R. & McKee, Michael, 1993. "Fiscal exchange, collective decision institutions, and tax compliance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 285-303, December.
- Alm, James & McKee, Michael, 2004. "Tax compliance as a coordination game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 297-312, July.
- Blackwell, Calvin & McKee, Michael, 2003. "Only for my own neighborhood?: Preferences and voluntary provision of local and global public goods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 115-131, September.
- Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002.
"Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration,"
Handbook of Public Economics,
in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470
- Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996.
9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
- James Alm & John Deskins & Michael McKee, 2009. "Do Individuals Comply on Income Not Reported by Their Employer?," Public Finance Review, , vol. 37(2), pages 120-141, March.
- Wojciech Kopczuk & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2005.
"Electronic Filing, Tax Preparers, and Participation in the Earned Income Tax Credit,"
NBER Working Papers
11768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kopczuk, Wojciech & Pop-Eleches, Cristian, 2007. "Electronic filing, tax preparers and participation in the Earned Income Tax Credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1351-1367, August.
- Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
- Cummings, Ronald G. & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McKee, Michael & Torgler, Benno, 2009. "Tax morale affects tax compliance: Evidence from surveys and an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 447-457, June.
- Alm, James & Bahl, Roy & Murray, Matthew N, 1991. "Tax Base Erosion in Developing Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(4), pages 849-72, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:10-11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (O. Ashton Morgan)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.