A New Era of Tax Enforcement: From 'Big Stick' to Responsive Regulation

50 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2006 Last revised: 4 Jun 2009

See all articles by Sagit Leviner

Sagit Leviner

Ono Academic College Faculties of Law & Business Administration

Date Written: February 1, 2009


This Article explores the economics of crime and compliance as the dominant approach to U.S. tax enforcement of the past three and a half decades. It evaluates the key advantages and disadvantages of the economic model as well as its application to tax. The Article then addresses the multiplicity of taxpayer behavior and the need and prospect of balancing the economically conceived methods of detection and punishment against other, more cooperative, means and developing a broader approach to tax enforcement more generally. The Article explores responsive regulation as a case study for an alternative method to tax enforcement that heavily draws on the economic paradigm but also supplements this approach with other theories, particularly those involving taxpayer identity, conflict escalation, and procedural justice. The Article suggests that this broader, more balanced, and closely tailored method of regulating responsively may enable regulators to draw on the advantages of the economic model while alleviating some of its drawbacks. Responsive regulation may therefore constitute a superior method for regulating tax compliance.

Keywords: Tax Enforcement, Tax Compliance, Responsive Regulation, Tax Policy, Deterrence, Economic Modeling

Suggested Citation

Leviner, Sagit, A New Era of Tax Enforcement: From 'Big Stick' to Responsive Regulation (February 1, 2009). University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Vol. 42, pp. 381-429, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=940911

Sagit Leviner (Contact Author)

Ono Academic College Faculties of Law & Business Administration

104 Zahal St.
Kiryat Ono, 55000

HOME PAGE: http://works.bepress.com/sagit_leviner/

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