Don’t Tell Mom I Didn’t Pay My Taxes!: The Efficacy of State Shaming Campaigns on Taxpayer Compliance and Ideas for the Future
28 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2010 Last revised: 9 Jan 2011
Date Written: March 3, 2010
At least 25 states and regions across the country have engaged in some form of taxpayer shaming campaigns - the act of publicly shaming noncompliant taxpayers. Although these campaigns have, for the most part, proven successful, there is room for improvement.
This Comment provides a brief overview of the state tax gap problem, first by defining the “tax gap,” and then looking at state-specific tax gap statistics. The Comment then unearths the taxpayer’s decision making process, introducing several factors that influence a taxpayer’s compliance decision. The concept of shaming campaigns is introduced, followed by the identification of the elements necessary for an effective shaming campaign and an examination of several state taxpayer shaming campaigns. The Comment concludes with recommendations for improving the efficacy of state shaming campaigns, primarily through the use of modern social media and inclusion of underreporters in state shaming campaigns.
Keywords: tax, taxation, shaming, shaming campaigns, compliance, tax gap, shame
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