Promoting tax compliance with behavioral insights

Hernandez, Marco / Jonathan Karver / Mario Negre / Julie Perng
Books

Washington, DC: International Development Agency / The World Bank

As in many countries, tax collection is a development challenge in Kosovo. In order to address this, the World Bank and GIZ applied behavioral insights to promote tax compliance among specific groups of taxpayers. Three experiments were designed, implemented, and evaluated in 2018 that involved sending behaviorally informed reminders using letters, e-mails, and short messaging service (SMS) messages to various groups of taxpayers to induce timely and honest declarations and payments. The short-term objective of these trials was to increase the number and timeliness of tax declarations. Simple, behaviorally designed messages were effective in inducing tax declaration in Kosovo. Messages helped raise the tax declaration rate by an average of around 3 percentage points during a period of between four and six weeks. Among personal income tax (PIT) declarations, this represents a 59 percent increase in compliance, equivalent to over 200 more annual tax declarations among participants. The likelihood of payment rose in many instances, and no significant difference was found in the amounts of taxes paid.

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