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Optimal income taxation with tax avoidance

  • Casamatta, Georges
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    We follow the approach of Grochulski (2007), who determines the optimal income tax schedule when individuals have the possibility of avoiding paying taxes. We however modify his setup by considering a convex concealment cost function. This assumption violates the subadditivity property used in Grochulski (2007) and this has strong implications for the design of the tax schedule. This latter indeed shows that, with subadditivity, all individuals should declare their true income. Tax avoidance is thus not optimal. With a convex cost function, we find that a subset of individuals, located in the interior of the income distribution, should be allowed to avoid taxes, provided that the marginal cost of avoiding the first euro is suciently small. We also provide a characterization of the optimal income tax curve.

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    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8608.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8608
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    1. Roine, Jesper, 2003. "The political economics of not paying taxes," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 530, Stockholm School of Economics.
    2. Agell, J. & Presson, M., 1997. "Tax Arbitarge and Labor Supply," Papers 1997-26, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    3. Chander, Parkash & Wilde, Louis L, 1998. "A General Characterization of Optimal Income Tax Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 165-83, January.
    4. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 7628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Lollivier, Stefan & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1983. "Bunching and second-order conditions: A note on optimal tax theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 392-400, December.
    6. Joel Slemrod, 1998. "A General Model of the Behavioral Response to Taxation," NBER Working Papers 6582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Joel Slemrod & Wojciech Kopczuk, 2000. "The Optimal Elasticity of Taxable Income," NBER Working Papers 7922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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 Elsevier.
    9. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1996. "Tax evasion and the optimum general income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 235-249, May.
    10. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
    11. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
    12. Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Income Creation or Income Shifting? Behavioral Responses to the Tax Reform Act of 1986," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 175-80, May.
    13. Agell, J. & Persson, M., 1998. "Tax Arbitrage and Labour Supply," Papers 647, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
    14. Borys Grochulski, 2007. "Optimal nonlinear income taxation with costly tax avoidance," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 77-109.
    15. Ebert, Udo, 1992. "A reexamination of the optimal nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 47-73, October.
    16. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Martin B. Knudsen & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Søren Pedersen & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence From a Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 651-692, 05.
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