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Tax compliance and information provision: A field experiment with small firms

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  • Doerrenberg, Philipp
  • Schmitz, Jan

Abstract

We study tax compliance in Slovenia using data generated in a field experiment. Small accounting companies were randomly assigned to an untreated control group and two treatment groups. Companies in the first treatment group received a letter that highlighted the importance of paying taxes and informed about the likelihood of becoming subject to an audit. In the second treatment group, tax officers from the tax authorities handed out in person the same letter that companies in the first treatment group received by post. The results indicate that such letters can increase compliance, and trigger even more compliance if handed over in person. These findings are in line with the theoretical predictions that we derive to rationalize the experiment.

Suggested Citation

  • Doerrenberg, Philipp & Schmitz, Jan, 2015. "Tax compliance and information provision: A field experiment with small firms," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-028, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:15028
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    2. Pomeranz, Dina D. & Vila-Belda, José, 2019. "Taking State-Capacity Research to the Field: Insights from Collaborations with Tax Authorities," CEPR Discussion Papers 13688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Justin E. Holz & John A. List & Alejandro Zentner & Marvin Cardoza & Joaquin Zentner, 2020. "The $100 Million Nudge: Increasing Tax Compliance of Businesses and the Self-Employed using a Natural Field Experiment," Working Papers 2020-113, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    4. Giacomo De Giorgi & Matthew Ploenzke & Aminur Rahman, 2018. "Small Firms’ Formalisation: The Stick Treatment," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(6), pages 983-1001, June.
    5. Giulia Mascagni, 2018. "From The Lab To The Field: A Review Of Tax Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 273-301, April.
    6. Lopez-Luzuriaga, Andrea & Scartascini, Carlos, 2019. "Compliance spillovers across taxes: The role of penalties and detection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 518-534.
    7. Ortega, Daniel & Scartascini, Carlos, 2020. "Don’t blame the messenger. The Delivery method of a message matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 286-300.
    8. Armenak Antinyan & Luca Corazzini & Filippo Pavesi, 2018. "What Matters for Whistleblowing on Tax Evaders? Survey and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 07/2018, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    9. Antinyan, Armenak & Asatryan, Zareh, 2019. "Nudging for tax compliance: A meta-analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-055, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    10. Martin Brown & Jan Schmitz & Christian Zehnder, 2018. "Communication, Credit Provision and Loan Repayment: Evidence from a Person-to-Person Lending Experiment," Working Papers on Finance 1819, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance, revised Aug 2020.
    11. Haaland, Ingar & Olden, Andreas, 2021. "Information about Fewer Audits Reduces Support for Economic Relief Programs," Discussion Papers 2021/2, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    12. James Alm, 2019. "What Motivates Tax Compliance?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 353-388, April.
    13. Cyan, Musharraf R. & Koumpias, Antonios M. & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge, 2017. "The effects of mass media campaigns on individual attitudes towards tax compliance; quasi-experimental evidence from survey data in Pakistan," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 10-22.
    14. Antinyan, Armenak & Corazzini, Luca & Pavesi, Filippo, 2020. "Does trust in the government matter for whistleblowing on tax evaders? Survey and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 77-95.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax Compliance; Audits; Randomized Field Experiment; Tax authority; Information provision;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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