Casting a Wider Tax Net: Experimental Evidence from Costa Rica
AbstractThe majority of firms in developing countries are informal, yet even among registered firms, tax filing rates are low. We argue that non-filing of taxes among registered firms constitutes an important intermediate form of informality, which can be tackled cost-effectively. Using a randomized experiment in Costa Rica, we show that credible enforcement emails increased the tax payment rate (amount) by 3.4 p.p. (US$15) among previously non-filing firms. Emails that highlight third-party reports of a firm's transactions further increased compliance. The effect persisted over two years, and treated firms became more likely to report transactions with other firms, facilitating future tax enforcement.
CitationBrockmeyer, Anne, Spencer Smith, Marco Hernandez, and Stewart Kettle. 2019. "Casting a Wider Tax Net: Experimental Evidence from Costa Rica." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 11 (3): 55-87. DOI: 10.1257/pol.20160589
- H25 Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT)
- H26 Tax Evasion and Avoidance
- K34 Tax Law
- O17 Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements