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Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Columbia Law School

2006

Columbia Law Review

Law Enforcement and Corrections

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law

Crime And Punishment In Taxation: Deceit, Deterrence, And The Self-Adjusting Penalty, Alex Raskolnikov Jan 2006

Crime And Punishment In Taxation: Deceit, Deterrence, And The Self-Adjusting Penalty, Alex Raskolnikov

Faculty Scholarship

Avoidance and evasion continue to frustrate the government's efforts to collect much-needed tax revenues. This Article articulates one of the reasons for this lack of success and proposes a new type of penalty that would strengthen tax enforcement while improving efficiency. Economic analysis of deterrence suggests that rational taxpayers choose avoidance and evasion strategies based on expected rather than nominal sanctions. I argue that many taxpayers do just that. Because the probability of detection varies dramatically among different items on a tax return while nominal penalties do not take the likelihood of detection into account, expected penalties for inconspicuous ...