We’ve all seen the headlines: Canadian government reports unprecedented deficit; U.S. elected officials clash over debt ceiling; Greece teeters on the edge of default. They all point to the monumental fiscal struggle most countries are engaging in these days. But, what if there was a way to put billions of dollars back into government coffers—money that is technically their due? That’s exactly what could happen if countries step up their efforts to address the tax gap.
Simply put, the tax gap is the difference between the tax collected and the theoretical tax liability if every taxpayer complied with the letter and spirit of the law. Take the United Kingdom. It’s been estimated that in 2010 the tax gap was US$56 billion. In Sweden in 2010 it was estimated at US$20 billion. And in the United States in 2006, it was estimated at US$385 billion. (Sources: HMRC (UK), Swedish Tax Agency, Internal Revenue Service (US))