The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Tax amnesties have frequently been justified as politically popular ways to generate increases in government revenue. This paper examines the circumstances under which amnesties are likely to have a beneficial impact on revenue collections. It concludes that, while in general it may be correct to impose a reduced penalty on individuals who voluntarily disclose tax evasion, short-lived amnesties of the type most frequently observed in practice are unlikely to generate significant revenue when judged against the potential danger of reducing future tax compliance.