The growth of the peer-to-peer (P2P) economy over the last decade has captivated both stock markets and policymakers alike. While the means for transacting might be different to existing firm structures—with the emergence of digital platforms that connect individual buyers and sellers directly—the tax behavior of individuals operating in this new economy are very familiar. What is clear is that while the P2P economy has potentially exacerbated existing policy, administrative, and revenue-mobilization challenges associated with small business taxation—such as the choice of the tax base and how to set tax thresholds—, the technology behind P2P platforms presents a valuable opportunity to eventually solve them.
The sensitivity (i.e., elasticity and built-in flexibility) of the U. S. individual income tax to changes in national income is of great interest to researchers and policymakers. However, the direct measurement of this sensitivity—that is, the measurement obtained from time-series observations of the relevant variables—has always been difficult, and even at times impossible, because changes in the legal structure of the tax have been too frequent to provide enough observations that relate to the same legal structure to allow statistically significant coefficients to be determined. This was particularly true in the United States before 1954, when the rates were changed frequently; it has also been true since 1963, when important changes occurred in rates, personal exemptions, deductions, and other features. In contrast, during the period between 1954 and 1963, hardly any significant statutory changes occurred in the tax.