NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Tax Compliance and Enforcement

Joel Slemrod

NBER Working Paper No. 24799
Issued in July 2018
NBER Program(s):Public Economics Program

This paper reviews recent economic research in tax compliance and enforcement. After briefly laying out the economics of tax evasion, it focuses on recent empirical contributions. It first discusses what methodologies and data have facilitated these contributions, and then presents critical summaries of what has been learned. It discusses a promising new development, the analysis of randomized controlled trials mostly delivered via letters from the tax authority, and then reviews recent research using various methods about the impact of the principal enforcement tax policy instruments: audits, information reporting, and remittance regimes. I also explore several understudied issues worthy of more research attention. The paper closes by outlining a normative framework based on the behavioral response elasticities now being credibly estimated that allows one to assess whether a given enforcement intervention is worth doing.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24799

 
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