Tax Compliance in the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America: Forcing and Encouraging Lawful Conduct of Taxpayers

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Elena Ovcharova, Kirill Tasalov, Dina Osina


The article is devoted to the consideration of the system for the tax authorities to assess tax risks and to prevent tax law violations. The work focuses on how the tax authorities affect the conduct of taxpayers through “soft law,” disclose information about their approach towards understanding tax risks and enforce a system of measures to ensure compliance. Tax compliance is analysed in the article as good-faith and lawful conduct of a taxpayer, which is formed under the influence of a system of, at the same time, preventive and incentive measures. This article considers tax compliance issues in Russia, the United Kingdom and the USA, not so much as a consequence of the voluntary actions of the taxpayer, but as a consequence of the conditions that are set for a taxpayer by the administrative action of tax authorities. To do this, the approaches of the tax authorities to defining the criteria for tax risks and the procedure for assessing them are analysed, as is the effect of these approaches on the subsequent implementation of tax control measures, while the system of enforcement measures and incentives for taxpayers to comply with tax legislation are examined. Tax compliance is the most desirable regime for the state, but in the entire history of taxation no jurisdiction has been able to achieve full tax collection solely based on a persuasive method. At the same time, owing to the limited resources of tax administrations, in practice there is no real opportunity to examine absolutely every taxpayer. For specifically this reason, a risk-based approach to carrying out tax control with a reasonable combination of both incentive measures and the enforcement of compliance with tax legislation is becoming increasingly relevant. The authors consider the implementation of a risk-based approach and its effect on tax compliance, on the choice of tax control measures, and on depth and scope in terms thereof, using the example of the experience of Russia, the United Kingdom and the USA. The article also pays special attention to an analysis of incentive measures and the enforcement of tax compliance in these jurisdictions.

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