This technical note describes the importance of a taxpayer compliance program. Improving tax compliance requires long-term reform efforts, beginning with strengthening the organization and management of the revenue agency, implementing robust collection systems, and building capacity in core tax administration functions. Reform of the legal framework and judiciary is also often required to ensure that the necessary powers, penalty regimes, and dispute resolution processes are in place. This note explains how countries can improve tax compliance. Steps in developing a taxpayer compliance program are also elaborated.
This technical assistance report on Republic of Armenia advices on advises on strategic choices for tax administration and compliance risk management. It complements the March 2018 tax administration mission, which provided the State Revenue Committee (SRC) with general guidance to develop and implement a compliance improvement framework. Armenia’s tax policy setting creates challenges for the SRC to effectively manage tax compliance. The Government’s tax policy framework is likely to create new noncompliance opportunities and result in revenue leakages. Strengthened fundamental functions and processes are needed for the delivery of effective tax administration. Two issues raised in the 2018 tax administration mission report need to be highlighted again. The mission provided an analysis of SRC case selection and advised on the adoption of analytical tools to achieve better results. The SRC’s current additive risk rule scoring approaches need to be supplemented by predictive modeling giving better predictions and prioritization of the likelihood and potential consequences of noncompliance—the use of such model is envisaged in the SRC’s draft strategic plan.
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.
Sebastian Beer, Matthias Kasper, Erich Kirchler, and Brian Erard
This paper employs unique tax administrative data and operational audit information from a sample of approximately 7,500 self-employed U.S. taxpayers to investigate the effects of operational tax audits on future reporting behavior. Our estimates indicate that audits can have substantial deterrent or counter-deterrent effects. Among those taxpayers who receive an additional tax assessment, reported taxable income is estimated to be 64% higher in the first year after the audit than it would have been in the absence of the audit. In contrast, among those taxpayers who do not receive an additional tax assessment, reported taxable income is estimated to be approximately 15% lower the year after the audit than it would have been had the audit not taken place. Our results suggest that improved targeting of audits towards noncompliant taxpayers would not only yield more direct audit revenue, it would also pay dividends in terms of future tax collections.
Vitor Gaspar, Laura Jaramillo, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
An empirical finding by Gaspar, Jaramillo and Wingender (2016) shows that once countries cross a tax-to-GDP threshold of around 12¾ percent, real GDP per capita increases sharply and in a sustained manner over the following decade. In this paper, we attempt via four case studies—Spain, China, Colombia, and Nigeria—to illustrate that the improvements in tax capacity have been part of a deeper process of state capacity building. We discuss the political conditions that supported tax capacity building, highlighting three important political ingredients: constitutive institutions, inclusive politics and credible leadership.
Mr. Matthieu Bellon, Jillie Chang, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Salma Khalid, Frederico Lima, Enrique Rojas, and Pilar Villena
This paper examines the impact of e-invoicing on firm tax compliance and performance using administrative tax data and quasi-experimental variation in the rollout of VAT electronic invoicing in Peru. We find that e-invoicing increases reported firm sales, purchases and value-added by over 5 percent in the first year after adoption. The impact is concentrated among smaller firms and sectors with higher rates of non-compliance, suggesting that e-invoicing enhances compliance by lowering compliance costs and strengthening deterrence. The reform’s positive effects on tax collection are hindered by shortcomings in the VAT refund mechanism in Peru, suggesting that digital tools such as e-invoicing should be complemented by other reforms to improve revenue mobilization.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Mark Gradstein, Fedor Miryugin, and Florian Misch
The extent of tax compliance has important implications for revenue yield, efficiency and the fairness of any tax system. Tax evasion undermines revenue collection, distorts competition, and undermines a country’s development prospects. In this paper, we investigate whether higher productivity causally leads to lower tax evasion. We first present stylized facts consistent with this view and develop a model that illustrates one potential transmission channel. Second, we test the model predictions at the firm level using the self-reported share of declared income as proxy for tax evasion for a large sample of emerging and developing economies. Our results suggests that productivity improvements by firms can lead to lower tax evasion.
The global financial and economic crisis presents major challenges for tax agencies. With the economic downturn, tax agencies are encountering emerging compliance problems and greater demands for taxpayer support in the face of prospective budget cuts. To help address these challenges, this paper encourages tax agencies to develop a tax compliance strategy for the crisis by (1) expanding assistance to taxpayers, (2) refocusing enforcement on emerging compliance risks, (3) enacting legislative reforms that facilitate tax administration, and (4) improving communication programs. In each of these areas, the paper identifies specific measures to underpin the strategy, drawing on practices from leading tax agencies and experiences from IMF technical assistance. The paper also highlights emerging tax compliance issues in the financial sector.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Florian Misch, Mr. Duncan Cleary, and Munawer Khwaja
Tax compliance costs tend to be disproportionately higher for small and young businesses. This paper examines how the quality of tax administration affects firm performance for a large sample of firms in emerging market and developing economies. We construct a novel, internationally comparable, and multidimensional index of tax administration quality (the TAQI) using information from the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool. We show that better tax administration attenuates the productivity gap of small and young firms relative to larger and older firms, a result that is robust to controlling for other aspects of tax policy and of economic governance, alternative definitions of small and young firms, and measures of the quality of tax administration. From a policy perspective, we provide evidence that countries can reap growth and productivity dividends from improvements in tax administration that lower compliance costs faced by firms.