Recently, the Belgian FPS Finance’s work on Behavioral Insights and Tax Compliance has been published in the Journal of Political Economy. In "How to Improve Tax Compliance? Evidence from Population-Wide Experiments in Belgium", Belgian colleagues and academics report on the findings of 4 natural field experiments on taxpayer behavior over the course of three fiscal years 2014-2016.
The key results are:
- Simplifying communication raises tax compliance,
- Deterrence has an additional positive effect,
- Invoking tax morale is not effective and often backfires,
- Simplification is far more cost-effective than standard enforcement measures.
This scientific publication is the outcome of a fruitful collaboration between the Belgian Tax Administration (Behavioral Insights Unit) and a team of behavioral economists; Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (University of Oxford), Johannes Spinnewijn (London School of Economics), Clément Imbert and Teodora Tsankova (both at Warwick University). A good example of academic-practitioner collaboration that enables evidence-based policymaking.