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How to improve tax compliance? Evidence from population-wide experiments in Belgium

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Clement Imbert, Johannes Spinnewijn, Teodora Tsankova and Maarten Luts

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: We study the impact of simplification, deterrence and tax morale on tax compliance. We ran four natural field experiments varying the communication of the tax administration with the universe of income taxpayers in Belgium throughout the tax process. A consistent picture emerges across experiments: (i) simplifying communi- cation substantially increases compliance, (ii) deterrence messages have an additional positive effect, (iii) invoking tax morale is not effective, and often backfires. A discon- tinuity in enforcement intensity, combined with the experimental variation, allows us to compare simplification with standard enforcement measures. We find that simpli- fication is far more cost-effective, allowing for substantial savings on enforcement costs.

Keywords: tax compliance; field experiments; simplification; enforcement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D91 H20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 39 pages
Date: 2021-05-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-des, nep-exp, nep-iue, nep-law, nep-mac and nep-pbe
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (10)

Published in European Journal of Political Economy, 1, May, 2021, 129(5), pp. 1425 - 1463. ISSN: 0176-2680

Downloads: (external link)
http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/106265/ Open access version. (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: How to Improve Tax Compliance? Evidence from Population-Wide Experiments in Belgium (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: How to improve tax compliance? Evidence from population-wide experiments in Belgium (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: How to Improve Tax Compliance? Evidence from Population-wide Experiments in Belgium (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: How to Improve Tax Compliance? Evidence from Population-wide Experiments in Belgium (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: How to improve tax compliance? Evidence from population-wide experiments in Belgium (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: How to Improve Tax Compliance? Evidence from Population-wide Experiments in Belgium (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: How to improve tax compliance? Evidence from population-wide experiments in Belgium (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: How to Improve Tax Compliance? Evidence from Population-wide Experiments in Belgium (2019) Downloads
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