TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Geithner-Daschle Lesson: Audit the B*******!

Jason Mazzone (Brooklyn), Audit Them All:

In the world of tax compliance, perceptions matter a good deal. A well-known experiment for the Minnesota Department of Revenue showed that people who believe that tax compliance is high report their own income accurately and pay in full. In other words, people pay what they owe if they believe everyone else is also paying what they owe. ...

[S]tories that Daschle (and others) under-reported are likely to have a negative effect on compliance. Overall, it is likely that most members of Congress and high-ranking members of the Executive branch (and the judicial branch for that matter) faithfully pay what they owe. So here is a proposal: let’s audit them all. The details of their returns need not be released, just final information on whether they owe back taxes. (Some might even be entitled to a refund!) News that Daschle is an exception to the pattern of overall compliance would be good tax news indeed.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2009/02/the-geithnerdaschle-lesson-audit-the-b.html

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Comments

Great plan! I think it would accomplish a lot, even if it doesn't actually make politicians more honest (http://www.taxrascal.com/audit-them-all/319/). But the interesting question is: how honest do they actually need to be, if people look up to politicians for how great they seem to be, rather than emulating the way they actually behave?

Posted by: taxrascal | Feb 5, 2009 9:08:10 PM