Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2015: Ökonomische Entwicklung - Theorie und Politik - Session: Tax experiments E15-V1
Many countries grant exemption from legal prosecution under certain conditions, allowing for voluntary disclosures regarding tax evasion. It has been claimed that tax amnesties are most successful when they are accompanied by an increase in compliance efforts because amnesties then help tax evaders to adjust to the new circumstances. At the same time, time-limited amnesties are often repeated or in some countries even permanent amnesty laws exist. When tax amnesties are, however, anticipated, they can serve as an insurance against a rise in the detection probability, potentially leading to less and not more tax compliance. We test the relevance of this insurance effect in an experimental tax game and find that the overall tax compliance actually decreases by about 9 percent because of this effect.