Author ORCID Identifier
Year of Publication
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Public Policy and Administration
Dr. David R. Agrawal
This dissertation studies the impacts of major tax reforms designed to improve tax compliance, particularly in the context of developing countries with limited enforcement capacity due to informality and lack of third-party data using the Indonesian tax administrative data as well as relevant empirical research methods. In order to describe this dissertation, I discuss each essay as the following.
The first essay is titled "How Do Small Taxpayers Respond to Tax Simplification? Evidence from the Indonesian Turnover Tax Reform." This essay studies the firms' behavioral responses to tax simplification in Indonesia by exploiting the implementation of turnover tax in 2013 and the expansion of value added tax (VAT) registration threshold in 2014 as well as the fact that both turnover tax eligibility and VAT registration thresholds are at the same value. I find that firms intentionally bunch just above the threshold in order to avoid turnover tax regime. I also document that some firms started to bunch just below the threshold in order to avoid VAT registration when the threshold expanded. The results suggest that rms can face different types of notch at the same threshold and thus respond differently conditional on tax and non-tax incentives.
The second essay is titled "Tax Evasion and Forgiveness: Evidence from the Indonesian Tax Amnesty Program." This essay examines the determinants of tax evasion and the compliance impacts of forgiving tax evaders using the 2016 Indonesian tax amnesty program where the government offers a set of discounted tax rates and penalties exemption on declaration of unreported net assets as an equivalent of unreported income. I document that the intensity in withholding tax, tax rates, level of income, as well as types of employment influence the decision to evade taxes. I further compare reported income between wage earners and self-employed individuals in each income percentile before and after the amnesty and find that the program provides no meaningful effect except limitedly for those in the very top of income distribution, e.g., around 6.1 percent increase in reported net income. The results are consistent with the argument that external factors motivate tax compliance.
The third essay is titled "Compliance Effect of Tax Administration Reform on Wealthiest Individuals: Evidence from the Indonesian High-Wealth Individuals (HWI) Office." This essay investigates the effect of intensification of tax administration on HWIs compliance using the establishment of an HWI office in 2009 which administer individuals with gross assets of more than 100 billion IDR (around 10 million USD in 2009) and who reside in Indonesian capital city Jakarta. The policy creates quasi-experimental variation in the intensity of tax administration depending on the date of HWI office implementation (before and after the policy) and the types of tax office (HWI office and ordinary tax offices). I document that the HWIs reported income and income taxes at the HWI office decreased by about 40 percent over six years relative to those of HWIs administered by ordinary tax offices. The results support the literature that predicts that in the face of a certain examination the optimal strategy for high-income earners might involve some underreporting of income. The results also imply that the improvement of third-party data availability that can affect the likelihood of detection is a crucial factor in tax administration reform.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
My doctoral study from August 2017 to May 2021 was sponsored by the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) under a scholarship contract number PRJ-676 /LPDP.3/2017, April 18, 2017.
Saputro, Himawan, "Three Essays on Tax Compliance in Indonesia" (2021). Theses and Dissertations--Public Policy and Administration. 40.