We carry out a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of three types of messages sent to taxpayers on their compliance with the rental income tax (direct effect) and the spillovers produced on the capital gains and the self-employment income taxes (indirect effects). One message highlights detection, other appeals to social norms, and the third appeals to altruism. We also perform a 15-month follow-up to determine if the treatment increases tax revenues in a sustained manner. We find that the message addressing detection produces a positive and sustained direct effect and a negative spillover on the other two taxes. The “social norms” message has no direct effect but produces a sustained negative spillover on the capital gains tax. The message appealing to altruism produces a transitory negative effect and no statistically significant spillovers. We show there is substantial risk of overestimating the tax revenues produced by the messages if one relies only on their direct effects.
Nota bibliográficaFunding Information:
We are very grateful to Manuel Barrn, Pablo Lavado, Alberto Chong and seminar participants at the Universidad del Pacífico for very useful comments and suggestions. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. We are exceedingly grateful to the Peruvian tax authority for their collaboration. We thank Mariano Montoya, Marco Gutierrez, Lucas Cisneros, Valeria Vargas and especially Alexandra Heredia-Mayo for providing excellent research assistance. All remaining errors are ours. The standard disclaimer applies.
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