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Making it less taxing: Using email reminders to improve tax compliance amongst businesses
Last registered on May 09, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Making it less taxing: Using email reminders to improve tax compliance amongst businesses
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002201
Initial registration date
May 08, 2017
Last updated
May 09, 2017 11:45 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Harvard University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2017-04-27
End date
2017-07-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The Deferred GST scheme allows businesses to defer the payment of GST on taxable imports which is beneficial for their cash flows. In order to remain on the scheme businesses must continue to meet all of their tax obligations. This includes lodging a monthly activity statement and being up to date on any payments due to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

At any given time, a proportion of businesses on the scheme are non compliant. Addressing this non-compliance creates additional work for the ATO and leads to higher levels of outstanding tax debt.
This trial will test the effectiveness of an email sent to non-compliant businesses reminding them to fulfil their tax obligations and highlighting the penalties of continued non-compliance. A successful intervention would increase business compliance and bring forward business tax payments.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Hiscox, Michael. 2017. "Making it less taxing: Using email reminders to improve tax compliance amongst businesses ." AEA RCT Registry. May 09. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2201-1.0.
Former Citation
Hiscox, Michael. 2017. "Making it less taxing: Using email reminders to improve tax compliance amongst businesses ." AEA RCT Registry. May 09. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2201/history/17471.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Businesses in the treatment groups will receive an email reminding them to fulfil their tax obligations and highlighting the penalties of continued non-compliance.
Intervention Start Date
2017-04-27
Intervention End Date
2017-07-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary: (1) Proportion of businesses that become compliant (2) Payments made to tax office
Secondary: (1) Level of interaction (phone calls) with tax office (2) Changes in client account balances
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This will be a ‘three arm trial’ involving two treatment groups and a control group.
Experimental Design Details
A sample of non-compliant businesses will be taken on the day of the trial launch. Some businesses will be excluded based on criteria relating to their lodgement method, relationship with the tax office and duration of non-compliance. Businesses will be randomly allocated to receive the email. Outcome measures for compliance will be measured on a daily basis throughout the trial. This process will be repeated until a sample of at least 1,200 businesses is achieved.
Randomization Method
Randomization will be done by a computer algorithm. Businesses will first be matched into triplets exhibiting similar characteristics. Randomisation will then be applied to each triplet so that one business is assigned to each of the treatment groups and one is assigned to the control group.
Randomization Unit
Individual businesses
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
At least 1,200 businesses
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum of 400 in each treatment group and 400 in the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
For the outcome measure of proportion of businesses that become compliant, assuming alpha = 0.05 and power = 0.8 the study is powered to detect a 10% increase in compliance.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
BETA Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2017-02-22
IRB Approval Number
BETA ETH 2017-008
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers