Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


An important trend in tax administration policies in recent years is the recognition that the traditional “enforcement” paradigm of tax administration, in which taxpayers are viewed and treated as potential criminals and the emphasis is exclusively on repression of illegal behavior through frequent audits and stiff penalties, is incomplete. A revised “service” paradigm recognizes the role of enforcement, but also emphasizes the role of the tax administration as a facilitator and a provider of services to taxpayer-citizens (Alm and Martinez-Vazquez, 2003). Indeed, many recent tax administration reforms around the world have also embraced this alternative paradigm with some success. However, while such “kinder, friendlier” provisions may improve the image of the tax authority, their actual effects on tax compliance have not, to our knowledge, been quantified. Our research utilizes laboratory experiments as a means of testing the range of possible information programs in terms of their effectiveness in enhancing tax compliance, and of comparing the compliance impacts of these “service” programs to the impacts of increased “enforcement” efforts.

Original Citation

Alm, J., Jones, M., & McKee, M. (2007). Taxpayer Services and Tax Compliance. IRS Research Bulletin: Recent Research on Tax Administration and Compliance. Selected Papers Given at the 2007 IRS Research Conference. (Georgetown University School of Law, Washington, D.C., June 13-14, 2007). 227-240.

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Economics Commons