Disentangling Tax Evasion from Inefficiency in Firms Tax Declaration: an Integrated Approach

Ferrara GiancarloCampagna AriannaAtella Vincenzo
CEIS Research Paper
In this article we present a new methodology to support fiscal monitoring by the Italian Revenue Agency (IRA) with the aim of improving current taxpayers fiscal compliance and fighting tax evasion within small and medium enterprises. In fact, given the methodology behind the Sector Studies (Studi di Settore - SdS) system, there is room for firms to implement tax evasion strategies by simply adjusting revenues (and costs) toward an estimated average threshold (known ex-ante), the so called "presumptive" revenues, and achieving the fiscal "congruity" status. By estimating a production function through stochastic frontier analysis we avoid estimating the average threshold know ex-ante and can combine information on firm economic efficiency with those on fiscal congruity, thus being able to disentangle underreporting of revenues due to potential firm tax evasion behaviours from underreporting due to firm inefficiencies. We apply this framework to two samples of Italian firms belonging to two Sector Studies. Our results confirm the potentiality of the approach, although more work is needed before moving to a large scale implementation for policy purposes.

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Number: 468
Keywords: Compliance, Tax evasion, Fiscal monitoring, Production, Sector Studies, Efficiency.
JEL codes: H26,D24,C14.
Volume: 17
Issue: 7
Date: Friday, September 6, 2019
Revision Date: Friday, September 6, 2019