Centre for Tax System Integrity

Research Projects and Surveys

Innovation in Evidence-based Tax Administration

Tax administrations are being forced to change the ways in which they do business due to advances in technology, globalisation, changing work patterns, and citizen mobility.

Predicting change, and more importantly, predicting effective management of these changes for taxation purposes is virtually impossible to do through arm-chair theorizing. Compliance theory is too weak, and the number of relevant and intruding variables is too great to confidently hazard a guess about how a particular tax intervention may affect compliance outcomes. In these circumstances, medicine offers a useful model - the idea of the medical trial and empirically finding out if a certain intervention works to improve or reduce compliance.

Work of this kind must be done in collaboration with the Australian Taxation Office because the methodology is iterative and the trials need to be conducted in quick succession, correcting and fine tuning strategy in response to feedback from taxpayers. Centre staff were fortunate in carrying out some experiments with record keeping in relation to the filing of individual tax returns. They were also invited by the Fels Institute (University of Pennsylvania) to initiate a similar research program with the Pennsylvania Revenue Authority.

Chief Investigators

Dr Michael Wenzel
Dr Natalie Taylor
Dr Tina Murphy

Data Sets

Data sets were collected in collaboration with tax authorities to trial compliance related interventions.

Key Publications

Wenzel, M.
A Letter from the Tax Office: Compliance Effects of Informational and Interpersonal Justice, Social Justice Research 19(3) 2006: 345-364.
pdf version

Wenzel, M. & Taylor, N.
An experimental evaluation of tax-reporting schedules: A case of evidence-based tax administration. Journal of Public Economics 88, 2004: 2785-2799.
(pdf version)

Wenzel, M. & Taylor, N.
Toward evidence-based tax administration Australian Journal of Social Issues 38(3), 2003: 409-430.
(pdf version)



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