IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Costs of VAT: A Review of the Literature


  • Luca Barbone
  • Richard M. Bird

    () (University of Toronto)

  • Jaime Vazquez-Caro


This paper reviews the literature on the costs of VAT, beginning with a review of concepts with regard to different aspects of administrative and compliance costs and then a review of quantitative estimates of such costs. It concludes with a brief discussion of VAT non-compliance and fraud with special reference to European Union the European VAT context, including some suggestive evidence on the trade-off between compliance costs and fraud.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Barbone & Richard M. Bird & Jaime Vazquez-Caro, 2012. "The Costs of VAT: A Review of the Literature," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1222, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper1222

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edward Christie & Mario Holzner, 2006. "What Explains Tax Evasion? An Empirical Assessment based on European Data," wiiw Working Papers 40, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    2. Cedric Sandford, 1981. "Book Review: Costs and Benefits of VAT," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 2(2), pages 61-62, July.
    3. Bird,Richard & Gendron,Pierre-Pascal, 2011. "The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107401440, March.
    4. Áureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2010. "Value-Added Taxes, Chain Effects, and Informality," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 195-221, October.
    5. Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2008. "The collection efficiency of the Value Added Tax: Theory and international evidence," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 391-410.
    6. Finn R. Førsund & Sverre A.C. Kittelsen & Frode Lindseth & Dag Fjeld Edvardsen, 2006. "The Tax Man Cometh - But is he Efficient?," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 197(1), pages 106-119, January.
    7. Hunter, William J & Nelson, Michael A, 1995. "Tax Enforcement: A Public Choice Perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 82(1-2), pages 53-67, January.
    8. Laura Cavallo & Giuseppe Coco & Mario Martelli, 2009. "Evaluating administrative burdens through SCM: some indications from the Italian experience," SERIES 0023, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Apr 2009.
    9. Christian von Soest, 2006. "Measuring the Capability to Raise Revenue Process and Output Dimensions and Their Application to the Zambia Revenue Authority," GIGA Working Paper Series 35, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    10. World Bank, 2010. "Integration of Revenue Administration : A Comparative Study of International Experience," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13529.
    11. Keen, Michael & Smith, Stephen, 2006. "VAT Fraud and Evasion: What Do We Know and What Can Be Done?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(4), pages 861-887, December.
    12. Lant Pritchett & Mary Hallward-Driemeier, 2010. "How Business is Done and the 'Doing Business' Indicators: The Investment Climate when Firms have Climate Control," CID Working Papers 211, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    13. James, Simon & Edwards, Alison, 2010. "An annotated bibliography of tax compliance and tax compliance costs," MPRA Paper 26106, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Ernst Verwaal & Sijbren Cnossen, 2002. "Europe's New Border Taxes," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 309-330, June.
    15. Keen, Michael, 2008. "VAT, tariffs, and withholding: Border taxes and informality in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1892-1906, October.
    16. Bird, Richard M. & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & Torgler, Benno, 2008. "Tax Effort in Developing Countries and High Income Countries: The Impact of Corruption, Voice and Accountability," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 55-71, March.
    17. Agha, Ali & Haughton, Jonathan, 1996. "Designing VAT Systems: Some Efficiency Considerations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(2), pages 303-308, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Christian Ebeke & M Mansour & Grégoire Rota-Graziosi, 2016. "The Power to Tax in Sub-Saharan Africa: LTUs, VATs, and SARAs," Working Papers halshs-01332049, HAL.
    2. Mukherjee, Sacchidananda & Rao, R. Kavita, 2015. "Factors Influencing Unincorporated Enterprises to Register under Value Added Tax (VAT): An Analysis with Enterprises Survey Data," Working Papers 15/145, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
    3. Sijbren Cnossen, 2017. "VAT and Agriculture: Lessons from Europe," CESifo Working Paper Series 6350, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Romain Houssa & Kelbesa Megersa, 2017. "Institutional quality, economic development and the performance of VAT," BeFinD Working Papers 0115, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    5. Hana Zídková, 2014. "Determinants of VAT Gap in EU," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2014(4), pages 514-530.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • M48 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Government Policy and Regulation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper1222. 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: (Paul Benson). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.