DP8608 Optimal income taxation with tax avoidance

Author(s): Georges Casamatta
Publication Date: October 2011
Keyword(s): fiscal avoidance, optimal income tax
JEL(s): H21
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8608

We follow the approach of Grochulski (2007), who determines the optimal income tax schedule when individuals have the possibility of avoiding paying taxes. We however modify his setup by considering a convex concealment cost function. This assumption violates the subadditivity property used in Grochulski (2007) and this has strong implications for the design of the tax schedule. This latter indeed shows that, with subadditivity, all individuals should declare their true income. Tax avoidance is thus not optimal. With a convex cost function, we find that a subset of individuals, located in the interior of the income distribution, should be allowed to avoid taxes, provided that the marginal cost of avoiding the first euro is suciently small. We also provide a characterization of the optimal income tax curve.