Cristian Alonso, Ledys Feliz, Patricia Gil, and Miguel Pecho
Invoices document economic transactions and are thus critical to assess tax liabilities. We study a reform in the Dominican Republic that aimed to integrate invoice management into a broader, more comprehensive, risk-based compliance strategy. By rationing authorized invoices based on an extra scrutiny of each taxpayer’s compliance history, the reform led to significant and persistent improvements on filing, payment, and information reporting obligations and a modest increase in reported tax liabilities. Our study shows that deterrence effects over compliance behaviors are strengthened when the tax administration makes explicit and active use of taxpayers’ information, no matter if the invoicing framework is paper-based or electronic.
Several administrations have adopted electronic fiscal devices (EFDs) in their quest to combat noncompliance, particularly as regards sales and the value-added tax (VAT) payable on sales. The introduction of EFDs typically requires considerable effort and has costs both for the administration and for the taxpayers that are affected by the requirements of the new rules. Despite their widespread use, and their considerable cost, EFDs can only be effective if they are a part of a comprehensive compliance improvement strategy that clearly identifies risks for the different segments of taxpayers and envisages measures to mitigate these risks. EFDs should not be construed as the “silver bullet” for improving tax compliance: as with any other technological improvement the deployment of fiscal devices alone cannot achieve meaningful results, whether in terms of revenue gains or permanent compliance improvements.