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  • Junttila, Juho (2024)
    Value added taxes (VAT) are a central tool for collecting consumption taxes in Finland and worldwide. Still, VAT system has its shortcomings. Dishonest companies can exploit the system to evade taxes or apply for unjust tax deductions. This thesis investigates the effectiveness of an augmented VAT mechanism, reverse charge, on value added tax compliance. Reverse charge mechanism transfers the liability for remitting VAT in business-to-business transactions to the purchaser, instead of the seller. In this thesis, I conduct theoretical and empirical analysis of reverse charge. First, I employ a tax evasion model to predict how firms change their behavior when reverse charge policy is adopted. Then, I examine how VAT reverse charge affects firms' reporting behavior using administrative data on Finnish firms' VAT returns. Reverse charge policy was adopted in the Finnish construction industry in 2011. I compare the outcomes of construction firms to similar companies, with a Differences-in-Differences design, to capture the effect of the policy on VAT compliance. The findings indicate a 3.87% increase in reported tax liabilities by construction firms once the policy is adopted, suggesting enhanced tax compliance. Sensitivity analysis shows that the results hold under moderate violations of the parallel trends assumption. This thesis contributes to the existing economic literature by showing novel evidence on the firm level effects of reverse charge. I also illustrate another market structure where tax revenue can be increased by changing who remits taxes to the government.