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Behavioral Responses to Taxpayer Audits: Evidence From Random Taxpayer Inquiries

Gemmell, Norman and Ratto, Marisa

Abstract:

This paper argues that random audit programs provide income taxpayers with information that alters their perceptions of, and hence their behavioral responses to, audits. Comparing samples of randomly selected audited and non-audited UK taxpayers, the evidence confirms predictions that audited taxpayers found to be "compliant" reduce their subsequent compliance. The opposite response is observed for taxpayers found to be "noncompliant." The results highlight the importance of testing separately the responses of taxpayers facing different opportunities and incentives to evade tax in order to avoid conflating their different effects, and to reveal both positive and negative indirect revenue effects from random auditing.

Citation

Gemmell, Norman and Ratto, Marisa (2012), Behavioral Responses to Taxpayer Audits: Evidence From Random Taxpayer Inquiries, National Tax Journal, 65:1, pp. 33-57

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2012.1.02