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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Research
Aug 1, 2015

Taxpayer Search for Information: Implications for Rational Attention

Abstract

We examine data on capital-gains-tax-related information search to determine when and how taxpayers acquire information. We find seasonal increases in information search around tax deadlines, suggesting that taxpayers seek information to comply with tax law. Positive correlations between stock market activity and search as well as year-end spikes in information search on capital losses when the market performs poorly suggest that taxpayers seek information for tax planning purposes. Policy changes and news events cause information search. These data suggest that taxpayers are not always fully informed, but that rational attention and exogenous shocks to tax salience drive taxpayer information search.

Note: Research papers posted on SSRN, including any findings, may differ from the final version chosen for publication in academic journals.


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