America’s unreported economy: measuring the size, growth and determinants of income tax evasion in the U.S
Edgar Feige and
MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany
Abstract This study empirically investigates the extent of noncompliance with the tax code and examines the determinants of federal income tax evasion in the U.S. Employing a refined version of Feige’s (1986; 1989) General Currency Ratio (GCR) model to estimate a time series of unreported income as our measure of tax evasion, we find that 18-23 % of total reportable income may not properly be reported to the IRS. This gives rise to a 2009 “tax gap” in the range of $390-$537 billion. As regards the determinants of tax noncompliance, we find that federal income tax evasion is an increasing function of the average effective federal income tax rate, the unemployment rate, the nominal interest rate, and per capita real GDP, and a decreasing function of the IRS audit rate. Despite important refinements of the traditional currency ratio approach for estimating the aggregate size and growth of unreported economies, we conclude that the sensitivity of the results to different benchmarks, imperfect data sources and alternative specifying assumptions precludes obtaining results of sufficient accuracy and reliability to serve as effective policy guides.
Keywords: Unreported economy; Underground economy; tax evasion; tax gap; noncompliance; income tax evasion; currency demand approach, currency ratio models (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E26 E41 E52 H26 O17 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-acc, nep-iue, nep-pbe and nep-pub
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (16) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/34781/1/MPRA_paper_34781.pdf original version (application/pdf)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:pra:mprapa:34781
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Joachim Winter ().