NBER

Natasha Sarin

University of Pennsylvania
Carey Law
Silverman 139
3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020Understanding the Revenue Potential of Tax Compliance Investment
with Lawrence H. Summers: w27571
In a July 2020 report, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that modest investments in the IRS would generate somewhere between $60 and $100 billion in additional revenue over a decade. This is qualitatively correct. But quantitatively, the revenue potential is much more significant than the CBO report suggests. We highlight five reasons for the CBO’s underestimation: 1) the scale of the investment in the IRS contemplated is modest and far short of sufficient even to return the IRS budget to 2011 levels; 2) the CBO contemplates a limited range of interventions, excluding entirely progress on information reporting and technological advancements; 3) the estimates assume rapidly diminishing returns to marginal increases in investment; 4) the estimates leave out the effect of increased en...
November 2019Shrinking the Tax Gap: Approaches and Revenue Potential
with Lawrence H. Summers: w26475
Between 2020 and 2029, the IRS will fail to collect nearly $7.5 trillion of taxes it is due. It is not possible to calculate with precision how much of this “tax gap” could be collected. This paper offers a naïve approach. The analysis suggests that with feasible changes in policy, the IRS could aspire to shrink the tax gap by around 15 percent in the next decade—generating over $1 trillion in additional revenue by performing more audits (especially of high-income earners), increasing information reporting requirements, and investing in information technology. These investments will increase efficiency and are likely to be very progressive.

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