Income Tax Compliance and the Black-White Disposable Income Gap

14 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2012

Date Written: March 18, 2012


The U.S. Government has detailed historical knowledge of income tax compliance differences by categories of income taxpayers. Wage and salary earners know that information returns precede their tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and they respond with high-level compliance. Because shareholders are the residual claimants for corporate income, and because corporations have access to legal means to avoid tax liabilities, corporate employees have little incentive to misreport corporate income. The IRS also receives information returns for partnership distributions; therefore, noncompliance on partnership income tax is constrained. However, the IRS receives no information returns for income earned by operators of proprietorships, and this class of income taxpayers is the least compliant. This paper explores how variation in tax compliance and Black Americans’ disproportionately low representation in a high tax noncompliance income category disadvantages Blacks and contributes significantly to the Black-White disposable income gap.

Keywords: income taxes, noncompliance, black-white income gap

JEL Classification: D31, H24, H26, J15

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Brooks B., Income Tax Compliance and the Black-White Disposable Income Gap (March 18, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Brooks B. Robinson (Contact Author)


P.O. Box 8848
Honolulu, HI 96830-8848
United States


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