September 10, 1985

Why Not Amnesty?

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Working Paper

An idea that keeps cropping up purports to turn tax evaders into taxpayers giving the Treasury an infusion of revenue at a fraction of the administrative cost of the regular audit process. What’s more, it may provide the base for increased future revenues as well by keeping a good portion of the forgiven on the tax rolls. The idea is tax amnesty. Recently it has been tried by a number of states generally with more success than anticipated. It is not, however, a popular subject with IRS Commissioner Egger, who is deadset against it.

Why not a national tax amnesty if it would improve compliance and make even a small dent in the megabuck deficit?