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Tax evasion and measurement error: An econometric analysis of survey data linked with tax records

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  • Paulus, Alari

Abstract

We use income survey data linked with tax records at the individual level for Estonia to estimate the determinants and extent of income tax compliance in a novel way. Unlike earlier studies attributing income discrepancies between such data sources either to tax evasion or survey measurement error, we model these processes jointly. Focussing on employment income, the key identifying assumption made is that people working in public sector cannot evade taxes. The results indicate a number of socio-demographic and labour market characteristics, which are associated with non-compliance. Overall, people in the bottom and the top part of earnings distribution evade much more and about 12% of wages and salaries in total are underreported, which is very substantial for a major income source subject to third party reporting and tax withholding.

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  • Paulus, Alari, 2015. "Tax evasion and measurement error: An econometric analysis of survey data linked with tax records," ISER Working Paper Series 2015-10, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2015-10
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    1. Nerijus Cerniauskas & Alain Jousten, 2020. "Statutory, Effective and Optimal Net Tax Schedules in Lithuania," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 72, Bank of Lithuania.
    2. Hargaden, Enda Patrick, 2020. "Taxpayer responses in good times and bad," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 653-690.
    3. Odd E Nygård & Joel Slemrod & Thor O Thoresen, 2019. "Distributional Implications of Joint Tax Evasion," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(620), pages 1894-1923.
    4. Paulus, Alari, 2015. "Income underreporting based on income-expenditure gaps: survey vs tax records," ISER Working Paper Series 2015-15, Institute for Social and Economic Research.

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