Optimal Tax Administration
26 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2016 Last revised: 2 Aug 2016
Date Written: July 2016
This paper sets out a framework for analyzing optimal interventions by a tax administration, one that parallels and can be closely integrated with established frameworks for thinking about optimal tax policy. At its heart is a summary measure of the impact of administrative interventions—the “enforcement elasticity of tax revenue”—that is a sufficient statistic for the behavioral response to such interventions, much as the elasticity of taxable income serves as a sufficient statistic for the response to tax rates. Amongst the applications are characterizations of the optimal balance between policy and administrative measures, and of the optimal compliance gap.
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