Taxes, Prisons, and CFOs: The Effects of Increased Punishment on Corporate Tax Compliance in Ecuador
38 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2011
Date Written: April 13, 2011
This paper takes advantage of a rich firm level data set from Ecuador to analyze the effects of a reform in 2007 that introduced imprisonment for tax evasion and made a firm’s CFO liable for tax-crimes. Our dataset contains actual tax-return and financial-statement for the universe of corporations in Ecuador from 2003 to 2007. We study the effects of higher punishment both at the intensive and extensive margins. We combine a difference-in-difference-in-difference approach with the DiNardo, Fortin and Lemieux decomposition method. This allows us to estimate the heterogeneous effects of the reform across the distribution of firms. We find that, at the intensive margin the reform led to an average 10% increase in real corporate tax payments. However, positive effects are only found at the right tail of the tax distribution (above the 75th percentile). At the extensive margin, the probability of entry into the tax-net increased, but most of the firms that entered the tax net claimed zero taxes.
Keywords: Tax evasion, corporate tax compliance, tax reform, developing country, punishment, Ecuador
JEL Classification: H26, H32, O12
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