Michael Devereux (Oxford)
Lilian Faulhaber (Georgetown)
Michelle Hanlon (MIT)
Jim Hines (Michigan)
Wolfgang Schön (Max Planck)
John Vella (Oxford)
What is OMG?
On behalf of the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation, University of Michigan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, and Georgetown University Law Center, we are excited to announce the OMG Transatlantic Tax Talks will continue this academic year. (Why OMG? Oxford-Michigan-MIT-Munich-Georgetown.)
This speaker series will be taking place on Zoom. It is an interdisciplinary series, with experts in taxation from law, economics, and accounting presenting their work.
Ariel Jurow Kleiman, Loyola Law School, will present her paper "The Subjective Costs of Taxation" on Thursday 16 March.
All talks will be on Zoom at 12:00 Eastern time/4:00 UK/5:00 CET. Presenters will speak for about 20 minutes, and the remaining 40 minutes will be used for Q&A.
This Article introduces and estimates the “subjective costs” of tax compliance, which are the costs of tax compliance that people experience directly and individually. To measure these costs, we conducted a survey in which we asked taxpayers how much they would pay to reduce the unpleasantness associated with filing a tax return. The survey revealed that taxpayers are more bothered by anxiety associated with tax filing than by any aggravation associated with the compliance tasks directly. Survey respondents also only ascribed meaningful value to eliminating all tax compliance work; they ascribed almost no value to marginal time savings. When it comes to valuing time saved on taxes, it’s all or nothing. Finally, we found that high-income taxpayers and taxpayers with complex returns were not willing to pay much more to eliminate tax compliance burdens relative to an average taxpayer.
These findings have important implications for theory and policy. From a theoretical perspective, these survey results call into question the nearly universal practice of using market wages to monetize the time that people spend on tax compliance work. Regarding policy, these findings counsel policymakers to think big when it comes to reducing tax compliance costs, focus on anxiety over aggravation, and prioritize reforms that affect low-income taxpayers.