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Taxpaying response of small firms to an increased probability of audit: some evidence from Italy

  • Carlo Fiorio
  • Stefano Iacus
  • Alessandro Santoro

Income tax evasion by small rms has been seldom investigated mostly because of lack of data. In this paper we use a large data set produced by the Italian Revenue Agency for this project to analyse a recent policy to contrast business income tax evasion. Since 1998 Italy has adopted a method to audit small businesses (Studi di Settore), which de nes the probability of a tax audit based on presumptive and reported levels of sales. In 2007 a letter campaign was implemented by the Italian Revenue Agency aimed at reducing manipulation of reports by threatening that if the "anomaly" was repeated with the 2008 tax declaration, the probability of a thorough tax audit would have drastically increased. By using di erence in di erence with matching methods on a sample of about 50,000 treated firms and 95,000 controls, we find that the letter campaign had a positive and statistically signi cant average eff ect on treated firms. A cost-bene t analysis of the policy suggests that the letter campaign generated a net increase of revenues of about 140 million euros.

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File URL: http://dipeco.economia.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper251.pdf
File Function: First version, 2013
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Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 251.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision: Jul 2013
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:251
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  1. Bayer, Ralph & Cowell, Frank, 2009. "Tax compliance and firms' strategic interdependence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1131-1143, December.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Stefano Iacus & Gary King & Giuseppe Porro, 2009. "Multivariate Matching Methods That are Monotonic Imbalance Bounding," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1089, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
  5. Alessandro Santoro & Carlo V. Fiorio, 2011. "Taxpayer Behavior When Audit Rules Are Known: Evidence from Italy," Public Finance Review, , vol. 39(1), pages 103-123, January.
  6. Crocker, Keith J. & Slemrod, Joel, 2005. "Corporate tax evasion with agency costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1593-1610, September.
  7. Dina Pomeranz, 2013. "No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax," NBER Working Papers 19199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gerlinde Fellner & Rupert Sausgruber & Christian Traxler, 2009. "Testing Enforcement Strategies in the Field: Legal Threat, Moral Appeal and Social Information," NRN working papers 2009-23, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  9. Lipatov, Vilen, 2005. "Corporate Tax Evasion: the Case for Specialists," MPRA Paper 14181, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2009.
  10. Alessandro Santoro, 2008. "Taxpayers’Choices Under Studi Di Settore:What Do We Know And How We Can Interpret It?," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 67(2), pages 161-184, July.
  11. Joel Slemrod & Caroline Weber, 2012. "Evidence of the invisible: toward a credibility revolution in the empirical analysis of tax evasion and the informal economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 25-53, February.
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