The author of this report is tasked with describing how to compensate and direct the tax collectors of Elbonia to increase tax collections in a way that is effective and compensates the tax collectors commensurate with the work they are performing and the dollars that they are bringing in. The author of this report will offer a few options that will probably help a lot and a lot of them have little to do with what the collectors are doing wrong and more to do with why the tax collections are paltry in the first place.
First, it should be ascertained the real reason why the tax collections are fledgling. A lot of the reasons that tax revenues falter would have to be fixed through policy maneuvers at the governmental level or even just a bit of patience because getting blood from a turnip is just not possible. If the economy is on the rocks and/or investments in business expansion are low, that would explain the paltry tax revenue. Another possibility is that there are loopholes or other gaps in the current rules and tax laws that are being exploited.
One example of this in action would be large employers in the United States who are intentionally hiring people to work just under 30 hours a week so that they don’t realize the increased expenses (and taxes) of having to offer them health benefits. It is not a completely analogous example but one gets the idea that tax laws could be exploited the same way (Myers & Mears, 2013). A more applicable example would be people that incorporate as a sub-chapter S corporation in the United States so as to avoid FICA taxes on a lot of the earnings of the business and that only leaves federal and state taxes (Reilly, 2013).
As for what collectors can do, they can offer an amnesty program to first- (or even second-) time offenders so that they can reduce or even eliminate penalties and/or interest or even some of the original tax bill. However, repeat offenders should not be offered this as they will keep using that trick as much as they can. This is effective because people will be more likely to pay their tax bill if they don’t as hard a slap on the wrist as they normally would for the level of offense in question. Not giving grace to the repeat offenders is just based on the concept of enabling and the idea that criminals (including tax cheats) will keep recidivating as long as they are allowed to do so. Really, jail time and yanking business licenses are the only way to truly make any progress with people like that. Finally, tax collectors should not be rude and condescending. Instead, they should focus on being firm but fair and making clear that while they have a job to do and while it is important to pay one’s tax bills timely and completely, making a good faith effort to make things right in terms of what is owed will go a long way to protect a person or business from retaliation for not paying taxes on time, if at all.
In the end, many think that agency theory is the belief to go by and that people will not comply unless intimidated and/or punished. However, there are many people that do the right thing and many that do not are simply on hard times and have to make a choice to pay more pressing bills beyond tax bills at a given time. After all, paying the electricity before it is shut off in the next day or two is more important to most than accruing a bit of penalties and interest. However, people that are truly dodging taxes for no good or legal reason should not be pleaded with and if that means seizing accounts, then so be it.
Myers, L., & Mears, C.A. (2013, August 13). Businesses claim Obamacare has forced them to cut employee hours – Investigations. Investigations. Retrieved September 17, 2013, from http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news
Reilly, P. (2013, August 25). S Corporation SE Avoidance Still A Solid Strategy
Forbes. Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. Retrieved September 17, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2013/08/25/s-corporation-se-avoidance-still-a-solid-strategy/
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