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Taxes on the internet. Deterrence effects of public disclosure

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Supporters of public disclosure of personal tax information point to its deterrent effect on tax evasion, but this effect has not been empirically explored. Although Norway has a long tradition of public disclosure of tax filings, it took a new direction in 2001 when anyone with access to the Internet could obtain individual information on income, wealth, and income and wealth taxes paid. We exploit this change in the degree of exposure to identify the effects of public disclosure on income reporting. Identification of the deterrence effects of public disclosure is facilitated by the fact that, prior to the shift to the Internet in 2001, some municipalities had exposure which was close to the Internet type of public disclosure, as tax information was distributed widely through paper catalogues that were locally disseminated. We observe income changes that are consistent with public disclosure deterring tax evasion: an approximately 3 percent higher average increase in reported income is found among business owners living in areas where the switch to Internet disclosure represented a large change in access.

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  • Erlend E. Bø & Joel Slemrod & Thor O. Thoresen, 2014. "Taxes on the internet. Deterrence effects of public disclosure," Discussion Papers 770, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:770
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Fagereng & Martin B. Holm & Gisle J. Natvik, 2016. "MPC heterogeneity and household balance sheets," Discussion Papers 852, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:176-196 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Pietro Battiston & Denvil Duncan & Simona Gamba & Alessandro Santoro, 2016. "The Italian Blitz: a natural experiment on audit publicity and tax compliance," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2016-10, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.
    4. Johannes Buckenmaier & Eugen Dimant & Luigi Mittone, 2016. "Tax Evasion and Institutions. An Experiment on The Role of Principal Witness Regulations," PPE Working Papers 0007, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    5. repec:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/693137 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Alm, James & Bernasconi, Michele & Laury, Susan & Lee, Daniel J. & Wallace, Sally, 2017. "Culture, compliance, and confidentiality: Taxpayer behavior in the United States and Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 176-196.
    7. Marcel Garz & Verena Pagels, 2017. "Cautionary Tales: Celebrities, the News Media, and Participation in Tax Amnesties," CESifo Working Paper Series 6795, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Hallsworth, Michael & Berry, Dan & Sanders, Michael & Sallis, Anna & King, Dominic & Vlaev, Ivo & Darzi, Ara, 2015. "Stating Appointment Costs in SMS Reminders Reduces Missed Hospital Appointments: Findings from Two Randomised Controlled Trials," Scholarly Articles 22856929, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    9. Jeffrey L. Hoopes & Leslie Robinson & Joel Slemrod, 2018. "Public Tax-Return Disclosure," NBER Working Papers 24318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Christian Schitter & Jürgen Fleiß & Stefan Palan, 2017. "To claim or not to claim: Anonymity, reciprocal externalities and honesty," Working Paper Series, Social and Economic Sciences 2017-01, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Karl-Franzens-University Graz.
    11. Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Taxing across Borders: Tracking Personal Wealth and Corporate Profits," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 121-148, Fall.
    12. Alm, James & Shimshack, Jay, 2014. "Environmental Enforcement and Compliance: Lessons from Pollution, Safety, and Tax Settings," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 10(4), pages 209-274, December.
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    16. repec:spr:sochwe:v:49:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00355-017-1029-9 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Keywords

    Tax Evasion; Income reporting; Quasi-experiments;

    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
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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