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Decomposing Revenue Effects of Tax Evasion, Base Broadening and Tax Rate Reduction

Author

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  • Ira N. Gang

    () (Rutgers University)

  • Arindam Das-Gupta

    () (Rutgers University)

Abstract

This paper proposes a method for evaluating the impact of tax reform on tax revenues and the distribution of the tax burden. The technique consists of decomposing actual revenue relative to potential revenue into components attributable to (i) changes in the tax rate structure (ii) deductions and (iii) tax evasion. If the standard reform package is successful, revenue loss from deductions should be curtailed by base broadening. Furthermore, revenues lost by lowering tax rates should be more than compensated by the induced decline in tax evasion. We use the method to examine tax reforms in India. Our results indicate that, for the reform episode we examine, reform did have the looked for effect but that these gains could not be sustained over time. The magnitude of the gains from the reform were limited and failed to curtail losses from tax evasion to any significant extent. At a disaggregated level, gains to the exchequer from the tax reform have arisen mainly from low income taxpayers without having much impact on upper income group taxpayers. Furthermore, the reforms had little or no impact on deductions taken by business income earners and professionals. This raises questions about the desirability of base-broadening and rate-cum-slab reduction from the perspective of equity.

Suggested Citation

  • Ira N. Gang & Arindam Das-Gupta, 1998. "Decomposing Revenue Effects of Tax Evasion, Base Broadening and Tax Rate Reduction," Departmental Working Papers 199506, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:199506
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    File URL: http://www.sas.rutgers.edu/virtual/snde/wp/1995-06.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Daniel R. Feenberg & James M. Poterba, 1993. "Income Inequality and the Incomes of Very High-Income Taxpayers: Evidence from Tax Returns," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 7, pages 145-177 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. N. Jayaram & Surendra K. Gupta & A.P. Barnabas & Sachchidananda & P.S. Pachauri & M.L. Khattar & B.N. Sampath & H. R. Khanna, 1985. "India," India Quarterly: A Journal of International Affairs, , vol. 41(1), pages 177-179, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sanyal, Amal & Gang, Ira N & Goswami, Omkar, 2000. "Corruption, Tax Evasion and the Laffer Curve," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(1-2), pages 61-78, October.
    2. Das-Gupta, Arindam & Lahiri, Radhika & Mookherjee, Dilip, 1995. "Income tax compliance in India: An empirical analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(12), pages 2051-2064, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    base broadening; decomposition; liberalization; tax evasion; tax reform;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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