Technology and Tax Compliance
Improving tax compliance is a common goal of governments worldwide. This paper explores the mixed effects of changing technology on tax compliance. Technological advances have largely eradicated many of the commonplace modes of tax noncompliance techniques that once reigned during the twentieth century. However, many of these very same technological advances threaten to usher in new modes of tax evasion. Which of these emergent trends will dominate is unclear. The outcome will largely depend upon whether individual governments grant sufficient funding to their tax administrations to keep their enforcement efforts robust, and whether governments internationally are able to coordinate and cooperate in their joint efforts to fight tax evasion.
James Alm is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Tulane University, where he has just stepped down as Chair. Previously, he was Regents Professor in the Department of Economics at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as Chair of the Department and Dean of the School. He has also taught at Syracuse University and at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He earned his master’s degree in economics at the University of Chicago and his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Much of his research has focused on public economics, in such areas as tax compliance, the tax treatment of the family, fiscal decentralization, and tax reform. He has served as editor of Public Finance Review and as President of the Southern Economic Association, and he is currently the First Vice-President of the National Tax Association.
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