VATT day 2019

Good nordic tax payers?

3. October 2019 Helsinki


1 - 2.35 pm
Opening words 
Director General Anni Huhtala, VATT 

Lessons about tax evasion and tax avoidance from collaboration with the Danish tax agency (pdf)
Professor Claus Thustrup Kreiner, University of Copenhagen, Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality CEBI

Corporate tax avoidance: Lessons from Norway (pdf)
Professor Guttorm Schjelderup, Norwegian School of Economics 

2.35 - 3 pm
Coffee break

3 - 4.15 pm
Greetings from the Finnish Tax Administration (pdf)
Director General Markku Heikura, Finnish Tax Administration

Studying tax evasion with experimental methods: Results from Finland (pdf)
Professor Kaisa Kotakorpi, Tampere University and VATT 

University lecturer in tax law, Docent Matti Urpilainen, Tampere University


4.15 pm

Speakers and presentations

Professori Claus Thustrup Kreiner

Professor Claus Thustrup Kreiner

Professor Claus Thustrup Kreiner is professor and leader of the Economic Policy Research Unit at the University of Copenhagen. His main research area is public economics and he is a co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics. His research interests include the effects of tax enforcement on tax compliance behaviour, measurement of tax avoidance responses to tax reform and effects of taxation on labour mobility. His studies have had a direct impact on tax laws and tax enforcement policy in Denmark. Thustrup Kreiner was member of the latest Danish tax commission 2008-2009 and co-chairman of the Danish Economic Council 2010-2014.

Prof. Kreiner website

Lessons about tax evasion and tax avoidance from collaboration with the Danish tax agency
How big a problem is tax evasion? How do people avoid taxes? What is the optimal tax enforcement strategy to fight tax evasion and how much resources should be devoted to tax enforcement? At VATT day, Professor Thustrup Kreiner talks about the difficulty of measuring evasion behaviour, the use of controlled experiments in tax research and his research collaboration with the Danish tax agency (SKAT). The overall tax evasion rate is modest in Denmark. This is largely the result of third-party reporting, but what other factors are at play? Thustrup Kreiner relates findings from empirical studies, including field experiments, and discusses what makes tax payers comply.

See the presentation by Claus Thustrup Kreiner

Professori Guttorm Schjelderup.

Professor Guttorm Schjelderup

Guttorm Schjelderup is a Professor of both Economics and Business Economics at the Norwegian School of Economics. Schjelderup received his PhD at NHH in 1991. He has been a visiting fellow at Cambridge University and the University of Colorado at Boulder. His research interests include business taxation, multinational firm behaviour, profit shifting, tax havens as well as policy evaluation. Schjelderup is a Research Fellow at CESifo and the Oxford Center of Business Taxation, and he is the Head of the Norwegian Center for Taxation (NoCeT). He has been heading several governments appointed committees advising on policy.

Prof. Schjelderup website

Corporate tax avoidance: Lessons from Norway
Multinational can shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions by thin capitalization, abusive prices on cross country intra-firm transactions, and royalty payments. At VATT day, Professor Schjelderup will survey results on income shifting by multinationals in Norway and how to best combat such income shifting. He will also talk about taxing the digital economy and how the Norwegian Center for Taxation interacts with the Norwegian tax administration. 

See the presentation by Guttorm Schjelderup

Professori Kaisa Kotakorpi.

Professor Kaisa Kotakorpi

Kaisa Kotakorpi is a Professor of Economics at Tampere University and a Research Professor at VATT. Her main research interest is public economics, in particular taxation. Kotakorpi is known for her work in economic policy evaluation. She has studied the impact of tax and social benefit system on the behaviour and well-being of individuals. Currently, Kotakorpi and her research team are working are on a large project on the mechanism of the shadow economy. Previously, Kotakorpi has worked as a Professor at the University of Turku and as a member of the Finnish Economic Policy Council.

Prof. Kotakorpi website

Studying tax evasion with experimental methods: Results from Finland
In her presentation, Professor Kotakorpi will discuss tax and shadow economy research in Finland. The Finnish tax system is regarded as efficient and watertight, because the tax administration collects most of its information via third-party reporting. But, how can we study activity that is not recorded in these registries? Kotakorpi and her team have developed new experimental methods to capture tax evasion and activity in the shadow economy. At VATT day, she will present new results from a field experiment. The experiment was conducted in collaboration with the Finnish Tax Administration to investigate means of detecting and preventing rent income tax evasion.

See the presentation by Kaisa Kotakorpi


References for Professor Kreiner's presentation:

Kleven H.J., Knudsen M.B., Kreiner C.T., Pedersen, S. and Saez, E. (2011) Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence from a Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark, Econometrica 79(3), 651-692

Tax evasion and the administration of the Danish Tax System, Chapter 4 in the Report of the Danish Economic Council, 2011 (in Danish)

Kreiner, C.T. (2016) What makes tax payers comply? Lessons from a tax audit experiment in Denmark, European Economy Papers 463. European Commission.

Kreiner, C.T., Leth-Petersen, S. and Skov, P.E. (2014) Year-End Tax Planning of Top Management: Evidence from High-Frequency Payroll Data, American Economic Review, 104(5), 154-158.

Kreiner, C.T., Leth-Petersen, S. and Skov, P.E. (2016) Tax Reforms and Intertemporal Shifting of Wage Income: Evidence from Danish Monthly Payroll Records, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 8(3), 233-257.

Gillitzer, C. and Skov, P.E. (2018) The use of third-party information reporting for tax deductions: evidence and implications from charitable deductions in Denmark, Oxford Economic Papers 70(3), 892–916.

Skov, P.E. (2019) Pay now or pay later: Danish Evidence on Owed Taxes and the Impact of Small Penalties, Working paper (not available yet)

Bentsen and Skov, P.E. (2018) Effect of a semi third-party reporting instrument on tax compliance, Work-in-progress (not available yet)

References for Professor Schjelderup's presentation:

Jensen, S., and Guttorm Schjelderup (2019) Multinationals and Tax Evasion: Estimating a Direct Channel for Profit Shifting, NHH manuscript.

Bakke, J.T., Hopland A.O. and J. Møen (2019) Transfer pricing regulation and the effect on taxable income of firms becoming multinationals, NHH manuscript.

Gresik, Thomas, Dirk Schindler and Guttorm Schjelderup (2015) The effects of tax havens on host country welfare, CESifo Working paper no 5314.

Gresik, Thomas, Dirk Schindler and Guttorm Schjelderup (2017) Immobilizing Corporate Income Shifting: Should it be Safe to Strip in the Harbor? Transfer Pricing Regulation and Taxation of Royalty Payments, Journal of Public Economics 152, 68 – 78.