Who benefits from the evasion of value added taxes (VAT)? Using a reform that enforced VAT on previously non-compliant large retailers in Armenia, we estimate a one-third passthrough of the tax burden on prices. This suggests that pre-enforcement evasion rents were broadly shared with consumers through lower prices. Our theoretical and empirical results explain this low passthrough rate by the supply-chain effects and second-order compliance responses of firms to VAT enforcement. Our distributional analysis shows that households at the bottom of the income distribution benefit more from the rents of evasion.
value added tax incidence passthrough evasion enforcement distributional effects