The annual federal tax gap in the United States is $400 billion. That means Americans, collectively, pay $400 billion less to the IRS than they should every year. To close this gap, an accounting professor and a law professor recently suggested that the IRS begin shaming people who avoid paying taxes by publishing and publicizing their names – similar to the strategies used by some law enforcement officials that publish the names of “Johns” arrested for soliciting sex.
Enforcement through shaming could attack all forms of tax abuse. These include high-income and corporate taxpayers who take artificial losses to offset taxable gains, as well as smaller-scale abuses such as the widespread practice of individuals illegally claiming home office deductions.