Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2009


This Article contains five parts. Part I describes the details and limitations of several existing tax-gap-closing approaches relevant to self-employed and small business taxpayers: third-party reporting, audit, whistleblower rewards, and gatekeeper strategies. Part II outlines the concepts of salience and influence and places them in the context of proposals to address or close the tax gap. Part III considers how salience and the influence principle of social proof could improve government messages to taxpayers about taxpaying obligations and audit risks, and to tax preparers about diligence requirements. Part IV outlines strategies based on the influence principles of reciprocity and commitment consistency, which could help the government initiate and maintain productive relationships with taxpayers. Part V points out several complications that could emerge from government use of such salience and influence strategies: measurement and cost-benefit analysis, the uncertain place of such strategies in the budget process, and the awkwardness of implementing strategies that might involve the use of stereotypes.

Included in

Tax Law Commons



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