A Typology of Sales Tax Noncompliance: Targeting Enforcement to Diverse Intentions

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eJournal of Tax Research


This paper presents a study of taxpayer rationales for evasion and theft in a sales tax environment. It is based on content analysis of 375 criminal investigation case files in multiple industries and author interviews with business owners facing criminal investigations. The evidence examined supports the development of a typology of sales tax noncompliance that informs a more targeted, responsive and effective enforcement regime informed by the specific peculiarities of the sales tax environment. The study suggests that such an approach could result in rehabilitation of a substantial number of noncompliant taxpayers without reliance on incapacitating deterrence measures.