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Do Cheaters Bunch Together? Profit Taxes, Withholding Rates and Tax Evasion

  • Paul E. Carrillo

    ()

    (Department of Economics/Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University)

  • M. Shahe Emran

    ()

    (Department of Economics/Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University and IPD, Columbia University)

  • Anita Rivadeneira

    ()

    (Centro de Estudios Fiscales, Servicio de Rentas Internas – Ecuador)

We use firm-level administrative data from Ecuador to study the implications of 'reverse withholding' for firms' tax behavior. Withholding does not affect tax liability of firms, but it may result in a discontinuity in the audit probability around the withholding threshold. Exploiting variation in withholding rates across industries and over time, we find that firms' profit taxes concentrate near the withholding rate. To explore the link between bunching and evasion, we use data from third party reports on sales and costs. We show that the firms that bunch are more likely to conceal their sales and inflate their costs. Finally, we create a profile of the firms that bunch and of their general managers: medium size firms in the coastal region headed by single males are significantly more likely to bunch and, presumably, to evade taxes.

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File URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~iiep/assets/docs/papers/Carrillo_IIEPWP2011-03.pdf
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Paper provided by The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2011-03.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2011-03
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.gwu.edu/~iiep/
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  1. Sandmo, Agnar, 2005. "The Theory of Tax Evasion: A Retrospective View," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(4), pages 643-63, December.
  2. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2008. "Optimal Tax Design and Enforcement with an Informal Sector," Working Papers 1168, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Kazuki Onji, 2008. "The Response of Firms to Eligibility Thresholds: Evidence from the Japanese Value-Added Tax," Asia Pacific Economic Papers 370, Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  4. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
  5. 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.
  6. M. Shahe Emran & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2002. "On Selective Indirect Tax Reform in Developing Countries," International Trade 0210003, EconWPA.
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