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Behavioral effects of tax withholding on tax compliance: Implications for information initiatives

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  • Christian Vossler
  • Michael McKee

Abstract

Using a framed field experiment with working adults and deliberate tax framing, this study reports on the effects of tax withholding on subsequent individual tax reporting behavior. We find interesting behavioral asymmetries related to tax withholding position, in particular that tax underreporting is increasing in the level of expected as well as unanticipated tax underwithholding, but is largely invariant to the level of tax over-withholding and unexpected decreases in liability. Two information initiatives we explore – group compliance information and information related to fiscal exchange – serve to affect tax reporting in part through its influence on withholding. A third information initiative – a service that resolves uncertainty over tax liability – decreases the level of evasion by over twice as much for those who have underversus over-withheld. Using information from an extensive taxpayer questionnaire, we find several interesting associations between taxpayer characteristics and experimental tax reporting behavior. Key Words: tax withholding; tax information services; social norms; tax reporting and enforcement; experimental methods; framed field experiment

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Vossler & Michael McKee, 2015. "Behavioral effects of tax withholding on tax compliance: Implications for information initiatives," Working Papers 15-12, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:15-12
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    Cited by:

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    2. Bagchi, Sutirtha & Dušek, Libor, 2021. "The effects of introducing withholding and third-party reporting on tax collections: Evidence from the U.S. state personal income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 204(C).
    3. James Alm & William D. Schulze & Carrie von Bose & Jubo Yan, 2019. "Appeals to Social Norms and Taxpayer Compliance," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 86(2), pages 638-666, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax withholding; tax information services; social norms; tax reporting and enforcement; experimental methods; framed field experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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