Intertax 2013 Issue 8/9 - Marco Fabbri L.L.M. & Prof. dr. Sigrid Hemels
Governments both in developed and developing countries are facing the problem of value added tax (VAT) and retail sales tax (RST) evasion. This explains a growing interest in policies alternative to the traditional methods of deterrence. This paper describes the achievements resulting from a zero cost policy against VAT and RST evasion based on rewards. Customers are encouraged to request an invoice by changing the invoice into a lottery ticket, thereby making VAT and RST fraud and evasion more difficult for suppliers. Such a policy has, for example, been introduced in some Asian countries. After having characterized VAT and RST evasion as a special kind of public good situation, a theoretical explanation based on behavioral Economics models of the success empirically registered by this policy will be discussed. Given this theoretical framework, we then introduce an empirical test in order to verify the ex-ante applicability of the policy described in different socio-economic contexts. Finally, we discuss the possible countervailing effects as well as the positive long-term side-effects of the introduction of the policy.