NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

John Guyton

Internal Revenue Service
Research, Applied Analytics,
and Statistics
77 K Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2018Tax Enforcement and Tax Policy: Evidence on Taxpayer Responses to EITC Correspondence Audits
with Kara Leibel, Dayanand S. Manoli, Ankur Patel, Mark Payne, Brenda Schafer: w24465
Each year, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends notices to selected taxpayers who claim Earned Income Tax credit (EITC) benefits to request additional documentation to verify those claims. This paper uses administrative tax data to examine the impacts of these correspondence audits on taxpayer behavior. The quasi-experimental research design compares randomly-selected audited taxpayers to taxpayers with similar risk scores who were not selected for a correspondence audit. The results indicate that, in the years following an audit, there are decreases in the likelihoods of claiming EITC benefits and filing returns. Taxpayers with self-employment income at the time of audit appear likely to increase wage employment following a correspondence audit, while taxpayers with wage...
February 2018Heard it Through the Grapevine: Direct and Network Effects of a Tax Enforcement Field Experiment
with William C. Boning, Ronald H. Hodge, II, Joel Slemrod, Ugo Troiano: w24305
Tax enforcement may affect both the behavior of those directly treated and of some taxpayers not directly treated but linked via a network to those who are treated. A large-scale randomized field experiment enables us to examine both the direct and network effects of letters and in-person visits on withheld income and payroll tax remittances by at-risk firms. Visited firms remit substantially more tax. Their tax preparers’ other clients also remit slightly more tax, while their subsidiaries remit slightly less. Letters have a much smaller direct effect and no network effects, yet may improve compliance at lower cost.
January 2016Reminders & Recidivism: Evidence from Tax Filing & EITC Participation among Low-Income Nonfilers
with Dayanand S. Manoli, Brenda Schafer, Michael Sebastiani: w21904
This project examines how reminders affect tax filing among lower-income nonfilers (individuals who did not appear on a filed tax return but had income reported by third parties to the Internal Revenue Service). We present novel data on this population and results from two randomized controlled trials. The results demonstrate that one-time reminders increase tax filing, both to claim tax refunds based in part on withholdings and Earned Income Tax Credit benefits, as well as to voluntarily pay balances owed to the IRS. However, these effects do not persist. Consistent with recency effects, individuals who owe a balance due appear more likely to recidivate into nonfiling than those who receive refunds. Follow-up reminders continue to increase tax filing, particularly among individuals who pr...
 
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