Nahum Melumad

Should Taxpayers Be Subsidized to Hire Third-Party Preparers? A Game-Theoretic Analysis

Coauthor(s): Mark Wolfson, Amir Ziv.

Abstract:
This article examines the tax-compliance game between taxpayers, a tax-collecting agency, and third-party tax-return prepares. In our model, taxpayers are uncertain about their taxable income and may hire tax practitioners to reduce tax uncertainty. We examine the viability of tax practitioners as a signaling device (taking into account the effects on the behavior of the tax-collecting agency) and investigate the desirability of encouraging (or discouraging) the use of tax practitioners via the use of alternative tax-crediting rules. Our study establishes that tax crediting enables legislators to deal better with the consequences of taxpayers' strategic reporting. We show that the effects of changes in crediting rates cannot be replicated by changes in tax rates or penalties; the government would generally like to price discriminate in subsidizing tax practitioners' involvement in the tax-compliance process. It is suboptimal to permit all taxpayers to take a tax credit for prepares' fees; some taxpayers should be denied such a subsidy. Further, if the government is constrained to adopt an identical credit schedule for all taxpayers, it will often find that a policy allowing no tax credit Pareto dominates any uniform crediting policy.

Source: Contemporary Accounting Research
Exact Citation:
Ziv, Amir, Nahum Melumad, and Mark Wolfson. "Should Taxpayers Be Subsidized to Hire Third-Party Preparers? A Game-Theoretic Analysis." Contemporary Accounting Research 11, no. 1 (1994): 553-94.
Volume: 11
Number: 1
Pages: 553-94
Date: 1994