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Technology, taxation, and corruption: evidence from the introduction of electronic tax filing

Author

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  • Okunogbe,Oyebola Motunrayo
  • Pouliquen,Victor Maurice Joseph

Abstract

Many e-government initiatives introduce technology to improve efficiency and avoid potential human bias. Electronic tax filing (e-filing) is an important example, as developing countries increasingly adopt online submission of tax declarations to replace in-person submission to tax officials. This paper examines the impact of e-filing on compliance costs, tax payments, and bribe payments using experimental variation and data from Tajikistan firms. Firms that e-file have lower compliance costs, spending five fewer hours each month on fulfilling tax obligations. There are no significant average effects of e-filing on tax or bribe payments, but significant heterogeneity exists across firms by their baseline likelihood of tax evasion. Among firms previously more likely to evade, e-filing doubles tax payments, likely by disrupting collusion with officials. Conversely, among firms less likely to have been evading, e-filing reduces tax payments, suggesting that officials had previously required them to pay more. These firms also pay fewer bribes, as e-filing reduces opportunity for extortion. In all, the results indicate that e-filing reduces compliance costs and makes the distribution of tax payments across firms arguably more equitable.

Suggested Citation

  • Okunogbe,Oyebola Motunrayo & Pouliquen,Victor Maurice Joseph, 2018. "Technology, taxation, and corruption: evidence from the introduction of electronic tax filing," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8452, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:8452
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    Cited by:

    1. Mascagni, Giulia & Mengistu, Andualem T. & Woldeyes, Firew B., 2018. "Can ICTs Increase Tax? Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia," Working Papers 13990, Institute of Development Studies, International Centre for Tax and Development.

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