2018-06: Audit State Dependent Taxpayer Compliance: Theory and Evidence from Colombia
Author(s): James Alm, James C. Cox and Vjollca Sadiraj
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- January 6, 2018 Create Date
This paper was revised as 2019-01.
We develop and analyze a dynamic model of individual taxpayer compliance choice that predicts “audit state dependent taxpayer compliance”, by distinguishing between naïve and myopic behavior versus sophisticated and forward-looking behavior. We then test experimentally the audit state dependent model by reporting the results from the first tax compliance experiment run in Colombia. Consistent with previous studies as well as theoretical predictions, we find that subjects’ compliance rates increase in the audit probability and in the fine rate. We also find more novel results, both theoretically and empirically: fine rates should be increased after an audit to discourage otherwise-increased underreporting, and “nudging” myopic individuals toward reporting a constant rather than a fluctuating proportion of income would benefit both the taxpayer and the tax authority.
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