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The indirect effects of auditing taxpayers

  • Ratto, Marisa
  • Thomas, Richard
  • Ulph, David
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    In this paper we focus on the effects of investigations on tax compliance. Results from empirical studies suggest that the effects of audits are not only in terms of recovered unpaid tax (direct effects), but there are also indirect effects in terms of future better compliance in the rest of the community. The evidence suggests that such indirect effects tend to outweigh the direct effect. However, current policy decisions of how to allocate investigation resources across different groups of taxpayers generally neglect the indirect effects, generating a potential resource misallocation issue. With the aim to clarify a possible mechanism through which the indirect effects work and hence to inform any policy recommendations, we model tax compliance as a social norm and decompose the total effect of an increase in the audit probability into a direct effect (increased expected fine) and a multiplier effect due to taxpayers’ interdependencies.

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    File URL: http://basepub.dauphine.fr/xmlui/bitstream/123456789/4728/1/Ratto%202009-05.pdf
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    Paper provided by Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/4728.

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    Date of creation: May 2013
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    Publication status: Published in Public Finance Review, 2013, Vol. 41, no. 3. pp. 317-333.Length: 16 pages
    Handle: RePEc:dau:papers:123456789/4728
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dauphine.fr/en/welcome.html

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    1. Luigi Bosco & Luigi Mittone, 1994. "Tax evasion and moral constraints: some experimental evidence," Department of Economics Working Papers 9402, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    2. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
    3. Reinganum, Jennifer F. & Wilde, Louis L., 1985. "Income tax compliance in a principal-agent framework," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-18, February.
    4. Graetz, Michael J & Reinganum, Jennifer F & Wilde, Louis L, 1986. "The Tax Compliance Game: Toward an Interactive Theory of Law Enforcement," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-32, Spring.
    5. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
    6. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 7580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Torgler, Benno, 2002. " Speaking to Theorists and Searching for Facts: Tax Morale and Tax Compliance in Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 657-83, December.
    8. Jeffrey A. Dubin, 2007. "Criminal Investigation Enforcement Activities and Taxpayer Noncompliance," Public Finance Review, , vol. 35(4), pages 500-529, July.
    9. Slemrod, Joel & Blumenthal, Marsha & Christian, Charles, 2001. "Taxpayer response to an increased probability of audit: evidence from a controlled experiment in Minnesota," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 455-483, March.
    10. Reinganum, Jennifer F & Wilde, Louis L, 1991. "Equilibrium Enforcement and Compliance in the Presence of Tax Practitioners," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 163-81, Spring.
    11. Frey, Bruno S., 2003. "Deterrence and tax morale in the European Union," European Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 385-406, July.
    12. Akerlof, George A, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of Which Unemployment May be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-75, June.
    13. Myles, Gareth D. & Naylor, Robin A., 1996. "A model of tax evasion with group conformity and social customs," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 49-66, April.
    14. Gordon, James P. P., 1989. "Individual morality and reputation costs as deterrents to tax evasion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 797-805, April.
    15. de Juan, Ana & Lasheras, Miguel A & Mayo, Rafaela, 1994. "Voluntary Tax Compliant Behavior of Spanish Income Tax Payers," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 90-105.
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