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Tax Compliance in the Rental Housing Market: Evidence from a Field Experiment

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  • Eerola, Essi
  • Kosonen, Tuomas
  • Kotakorpi, Kaisa
  • Lyytikäinen, Teemu
  • Tuimala, Jarno

Abstract

We study rental income tax compliance using a large-scale randomized fild experiment and register data with third-party information on the ownership of apartments. We analyze the responses of potential landlords to treatment letters notifying them of stricter tax enforcement, or providing simplifying information on filing practices for the rental income tax. We find that both types of letters caused an increase in the propensity to report rental income, with letters notifying landlords of the use of third-party information in tax enforcement having the strongest effect. Our research design also allows us to analyze different types of spillover effects in tax enforcement. We find an indication of positive reporting spillovers within the household, but do not find clear evidence of spillovers between landlords in local rental markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Eerola, Essi & Kosonen, Tuomas & Kotakorpi, Kaisa & Lyytikäinen, Teemu & Tuimala, Jarno, 2019. "Tax Compliance in the Rental Housing Market: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Working Papers 122, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fer:wpaper:122
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bruno Crépon & Esther Duflo & Marc Gurgand & Roland Rathelot & Philippe Zamora, 2013. "Do Labor Market Policies have Displacement Effects? Evidence from a Clustered Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 531-580.
    2. Frimmel, Wolfgang & Halla, Martin & Paetzold, Jörg, 2017. "The Intergenerational Causal Effect of Tax Evasion: Evidence from the Commuter Tax Allowance in Austria," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168244, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
    4. Dina Pomeranz, 2015. "No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2539-2569, August.
    5. Johannes Rincke & Christian Traxler, 2011. "Enforcement Spillovers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1224-1234, November.
    6. Meiselman, Ben S., 2018. "Ghostbusting in Detroit: Evidence on nonfilers from a controlled field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 180-193.
    7. 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, May.
    8. Norman Gemmell & John Hasseldine, 2014. "Taxpayers' Behavioural Responses and Measures of Tax Compliance ‘Gaps’: A Critique and a New Measure," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 35, pages 275-296, September.
    9. William C. Boning & John Guyton & Ronald H. Hodge, II & Joel Slemrod & Ugo Troiano, 2018. "Heard it Through the Grapevine: Direct and Network Effects of a Tax Enforcement Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 24305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Wenzel, Michael & Taylor, Natalie, 2004. "An experimental evaluation of tax-reporting schedules: a case of evidence-based tax administration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2785-2799, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antinyan, Armenak & Asatryan, Zareh, 2019. "Nudging for tax compliance: A meta-analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-055, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax compliance; field experiment; rental market; Social security; taxation and inequality; H26; H31;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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