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The hidden burden of the income tax: Compliance costs of German individuals

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  • Blaufus, Kay
  • Eichfelder, Sebastian
  • Hundsdoerfer, Jochen

Abstract

We analyze the compliance costs of individual taxpyers resulting from the German income tax. using survey data that has been raised between December 2008 and April 2009, we find evidence for a considerably higher cost burden of self-employed taxpaxers. Taxable income and the demand for external support are positively correlated with compliance costs, while the time effort of female taxpayers is significantly lower. We also find evidence for a positive correlation of education and tax knowledge with the compliance burden. By contrast, a joint assessment of a married couple seems to reduce the monetized time effort. The aggregated cost burden of German income taxpayers amounts to 6.1-7.2 billion €, respectively 3.2-3.7 % of the income tax revenue in 2007. This estimate is higher than latest projections in a number of other European countries like Spain and Sweden, but significantly lower than results for the United States and Australia.

Suggested Citation

  • Blaufus, Kay & Eichfelder, Sebastian & Hundsdoerfer, Jochen, 2011. "The hidden burden of the income tax: Compliance costs of German individuals," Discussion Papers 2011/6, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:20116
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    Cited by:

    1. Juraj Nemec & Ladislav Pompura & Vladimír Šagát, 2015. "Administrative Costs of Taxation in Slovakia," European Financial and Accounting Journal, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2015(2), pages 51-61.
    2. Sebastian Eichfelder & Michael Schorn, 2012. "Tax Compliance Costs: A Business-Administration Perspective," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 68(2), pages 191-230, June.
    3. Grottke Markus & Kittl Maximilian, 2013. "Komplexität im Steuerrecht – Zentrale politökonomische Theorien im Lichte einer empirischen Ursachenforschung mit Hilfe von Process Tracing / Tax complexity in emergence – pivotal political-economic t," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 64(1), pages 163-194, January.
    4. Franz W. Wagner & Susanne Zeller, 2011. "Deutschland als Weltmeister der Steuerliteratur? Fallstudie einer Legende," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(3), pages 303-316, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax complexity; tax compliance costs; compliance burden; red tape; personal income tax;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration

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