National Tax Journal

Print ISSN: 0028-0283
"This paper discusses new empirical evidence on the role of income tax incentives in marital decisions [in the United States]. Time-series evidence suggests that taxes have a small but statistically significant effect on the aggregate marriage rate; however, this evidence is sensitive to the time period and the measure of marriage. Additional evidence, based on household longitudinal data, indicates that the probability of marriage falls and that of divorce rises with an increase in the so-called marriage tax, and that the timing of marriage (though not of divorce) is also affected by taxes. In short, there is strong evidence that taxes affect some marital decisions."
"This paper uses a perfect foresight life cycle simulation model to examine the dynamic economic effects of baby 'booms' and baby 'busts' as well as the interaction of such demographic changes with social security policy. Demographic change can have sizeable short and long-run effects on saving rates and factors returns." The geographic focus is on the United States. "The model predicts long-run improvement in welfare associated with a prolonged baby bust. This improvement holds even in the absence of accommodating social security policy. It reflects a long-run decline in the dependency ratio, with the reduction in dependent children per worker more than offsetting the increase in retirees per worker."
This article examines the current debate in the United States concerning who should pay for the child care that most parties agree should be provided, given the rapid growth in mothers' participation in the labor force. The author concludes that the current budget stalemate makes even modest increases in federal government funding for child care difficult to find. The most likely source of additional funds for child care for low-income mothers is a reduction of such support for middle- and upper-income families as exists at present.
"The effect of the differential tax treatment of married and unmarried couples, the so-called marriage tax, on the rate and timing of [U.S.] marriages is analyzed. Using time-series data, we study the effect of the marriage tax on the fraction of unmarried women over the age of 15 years who marry in each year. We find no effect. We also investigate whether couples shift the timing of their marriage from the end of one year to the beginning of the next year in response to an increase in the marriage tax. We find empirical support for this behavior."
In this paper, we estimate the effect of the tax preference for health insurance on health care spending using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys from 1996-2005. We use the fact that Social Security taxes are only levied on earnings below a statutory threshold to identify the impact of the tax preference. Because employer-sponsored health insurance premiums are excluded from Social Security payroll taxes, workers who earn just below the Social Security tax threshold receive a larger tax preference for health insurance than workers who earn just above it. We find a significant effect of the tax preference, consistent with previous research.
This paper tests whether state school finance reform alters neighborhood income homogeneity. One implication of the Tiebout model is that within-community homogeneity declines as a result of an exogenous decrease in the ability of jurisdictions to set local tax and expenditure levels. The property tax revolt and the school finance equalization reform of the 1970s and 1980s offer a test of the role of state fiscal reform on aggregate population sorting behavior. The results show that school finance has a significant effect on school district income sorting, especially among low income communities.
The growth in the formation of residential private governments to fund and deliver public finances coincided with a period in which local governments faced voter-imposed property tax limitations. Popular commentary suggests that a major reason of the rise of these private governments, found in planned developments and condominiums, is a municipal response to property tax limitations. This paper asks whether the imposition of a property tax limitation leads to the formation and proliferation of residential private governments. It begins with a theoretical model that illustrates how a property tax limit on a local government can affect the private government membership margin. The theoretical implications are then tested with data from California in the era of Proposition 13. Using panel data methods, the empirical model tests whether or not cities that were more property-tax constrained experienced higher rates of private government formation. The study controls for changes in demographic composition and other determinants of city budgets. Results are consistent with property tax limitations being a driving force in increasing the level of private government membership and, more importantly, the number of incorporations of private governments in a city.
This paper presents new homogeneous series on top wealth shares from 1916 to 2000 in the United States using estate tax return data. Top wealth shares were very high at the beginning of the period but have been hit sharply by the Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War II shocks. Those shocks have had permanent effects. Following a decline in the 1970s, top wealth shares recovered in the early 1980s, but they are still much lower in 2000 than in the early decades of the century. Most of the changes we document are concentrated among the very top wealth holders with much smaller movements for groups below the top 0.1%. Consistent with the Survey of Consumer Finances results, top wealth shares estimated from Estate Tax Returns display no significant increase since 1995. Evidence from the Forbes 400 richest Americans suggests that only the super-rich have experienced significant gains relative to the average over the last decade. Our results are consistent with the decreased importance of capital income at the top of the income distribution documented by Piketty and Saez (2003) and suggest that the rentier class of the early century is not yet reconstituted. The most plausible explanations for the facts are perhaps the development of progressive income and estate taxation which has dramatically impaired the ability of large wealth holders to maintain their fortunes, and the democratization of stock ownership which now spreads stock market gains and losses much more widely than in the past.
Updated March 25, 2001 A revised version of this paper appears as "The Collision of Tax and Welfare Politics: The Political History of the Earned Income Tax Credit, 1969-1999." National Tax Journal 53(4) (part 2): 983-1026. For more information see This paper uses the political history and pre-history of the EITC to describe how the politics of welfare reform influence tax policies that function as social policy. It suggests that the economic tradeoffs inherent in the formulation of tax-transfer programs are also political tradeoffs. It examines policy choices between costs and labor supply incentives, as well as those between ease of participation and compliance rates. The paper concludes that although economic analysis influenced the creation and development of the EITC, political factors, not economics, animated the history of the program.
This paper presents new evidence on the level and distribution of income and payroll tax burdens for U.S. families over the 1979-1999 period. During this period, payroll taxes have become an increasingly important component of the tax burden for many low- and middle-income families. This paper uses a new and expanded version of the NBER TAXSIM program to analyze the impact of legislative changes in income and payroll taxes. Averaged over all families, the combined 1999 payroll and income tax burden was quite similar to what it would have been if the 1979 income and payroll tax laws had remained in force for the last two decades, with only inflation-based adjustments to tax brackets. The mix of income and payroll taxes has changed, however. As a result of the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as well as other changes in the federal personal income tax, payroll tax liabilities now exceed income tax liabilities for nearly two thirds of families. In 1979, payroll taxes exceeded income taxes for 44 percent of families.
This paper considers the impact of the tax treatment of U.S. military contractors. Prior to the early 1980s, taxpayers were permitted to use the completed contract method of accounting to defer taxation of profits earned on long term contracts. Legislation passed in 1982, 1986 and 1987 required that at least 70 percent of the profits earned on long-term contracts be taxed as accrued, thereby significantly reducing the tax benefits associated with long term contracting. Comparing contracts that were ineligible for the tax benefits associated with long term contracting with those that were eligible, it appears that between 1981 and 1989 the duration of U.S. Department of Defense contracts shortened by an average of between one and 3.5 months, or somewhere between 6 and 29 percent of average contract length. This pattern suggests that the tax benefits associated with long term contracts promoted artificial contract lengthening prior to passage of the 1986 Act. The evidence is consistent with a behavioral model in which the Department of Defense ignores the federal income tax consequences of its procurement actions, thereby indirectly rewarding contractors who are able to benefit from tax expenditures of various types.
This paper examines the effect of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 on the level of capital gains realizations and tax revenue under a variety of behavioral assumptions. Independent investigations by Feldstein, Slemrod, and Yitzhaki, the Department of Treasury. Lindsey, Auten and Clotfelter, and Minarik, all point to a large, though highly variable, amount of response by taxpayers to changes in capital gains tax rates. The econometric results of each of these papers are reparameterized for use in the National Bureau of Economic Research TAXSIM model. A total of 13 sets of behavioral assumptions are modeled. The results show that the capital gains tax rate increase in the new tax bill is unlikely to produce an increase in capital gains tax revenue. Of the 13 simulations run. 12 produce lower tax revenue over the period of 5 fiscal years being simulated. The final simulation suggests a virtually unchanged level of revenue. Two of the models predict extremely large levels of capital gains realizations in late 1986 in anticipation of the tax rate increases in the coming years. In none of the simulations is any significant increase in the permanent level of capital gains tax revenues predicted.
We develop a comprehensive model of 401(k) pension design that reflects the complex tax, savings, liquidity and investment incentives of such plans. Using a new dataset on some 500 plans covering nearly 740,000 workers, we show that employer matching contributions have only a modest impact on eliciting additional retirement saving. In the typical 401(k) plan, only 10 percent of non-highly-compensated workers are induced to save more by match incentives; and 30 percent fail to join their plan at all, despite the fact that the company-proffered match would grant them a real return premium of 1-5% above market rates if they contributed. Such indifference to retirement saving incentives cannot be attributed to liquidity or investment constraints. These results underscore the need for alternative approaches beyond matching contributions, if retirement saving is to become broader-based.
This paper examines the incentives created by the 529 and Coverdell tax-advantaged savings accounts. I find that the advantages of the 529 and Coverdell rise sharply with income, for three reasons. First, those with the highest marginal tax rates benefit the most from sheltering income, gaining most in both absolute and relative terms. Second, the tax penalties that are assessed on families whose children do not use their Coverdell accounts to pay for college hit some families harder than others. Strikingly, those in the top two tax brackets benefit more from non-educational use of a Coverdell than those in the bottom bracket gain from its educational use. Finally, the college financial aid system reduces aid for those families that have any financial assets, including an ESA or 529. Since the highest-income families are unaffected by this aid tax, this further intensifies the positive correlation between income and the advantages of the tax-advantaged college savings accounts.
With the existing "historic cost" method of depreciation, higher inflation rates reduce the real value of future depreciation deductions and therefore raise the real net cost of investment. The calculations in this paper show that this rise in the net cost can be quite substantial at recent inflation rates; e.g., the real net cost of an equipment investment with a 13 year tax life is raised 21 percent by an 8 percent expected inflation rate if the firm uses a 4 percent real discount rate. The effects of inflation on the net cost of investment can be completely eliminated by indexing depreciation. A more accelerated depreciation schedule can also lower the net cost of investment and make that net cost less sensitive to the rate of inflation. The current paper examines a particular acceleration proposal and finds that, for moderate rates of inflation and real discount rates, the acceleration proposal and full indexation are quite similar. For low rates of inflation, high discount rates, or very long-lived investments, the acceleration proposal causes greater reductions in net cost than would result from complete indexing. Conversely, for high rates of inflation, low discount rates, or very short-lived investments, the acceleration method fails to offset the adverse effects of inflation. Since the acceleration and indexation methods have quite similar effects under existing economic conditions, the choice between them requires balancing the administrative simplicity and other possible advantages of acceleration against the automatic protection that indexation offers against the risk of significant changes from the recent inflation rates and discount rates.
This paper examines the issue of financing the social goal of universal access to the telephone network. There are many feasible methods of financing the subsidies involved. We show that alternative financing schemes differ in terms of their economic efficiency, equity, political attractiveness, and administrative feasibility. As a consequence, tradeoffs among these characteristics must be made in choosing a financial mechanism to achieve a given social goal; financing schemes appropriate in some circumstances may be inappropriate in others.
Comparison of Expected Return Multiples (T'), in Months, General Rule & Simplified Method 
This paper explores the current tax treatment of non-qualified immediate annuities and distributions from tax-qualified retirement plans in the United States. First, we describe how immediate annuities held outside retirement accounts are taxed. We conclude that the current income tax treatment of annuities does not substantially alter the incentive to purchase an annuity rather than a taxable bond. We nevertheless find differences across different individuals in the effective tax burden on annuity contracts. Second, we examine an alternative method of taxing annuities that would avoid changing the fraction of the annuity payment that is included in taxable income as the annuitant ages, but would still raise the same expected present discounted value of revenues as the current income tax rule. We find that a shift to a constant inclusion ratio increases the utility of annuitants, and that this increase is greater for more risk averse individuals. Third, we examine how payouts from qualified accounts are taxed, focusing on both annuity payouts and minimum distribution requirements that constrain the feasible time path of nonannuitized payouts. We describe briefly the origins and workings of the minimum distribution rules and we also provide evidence on the fraction of retirement assets potentially affected by these rules.
National, state, and local policy makers have increasingly focused their attention on policies toward economic growth, especially efforts to raise the rate of investment. Recent studies of economic growth have raised a debate over the role played by the investment rate in the long-run performance of the economy. Evidence from the states suggests that the effects of capital accumulation are consistent with the predictions of the neoclassical growth model. At the same time, the estimates indicate a substantial role for human capital accumulation in raising productivity, in contrast to the neoclassical focus on physical capital investment.
Comparison of Assumptions About Real Wage Growth for Single-earner Couples of Low and High Earnings (1985 dollars discounted at rate 3% to 1985) 
shows the expected present value of retirement benefits, taxes, and transfers, as well as the expected real rate of return, for different ages 
This paper computes the expected present value of Social Security retirement benefits and taxes for households of different marital circumstances, incomes, and age cohorts. Also computed are the net gain or loss from participation in the system and the expected internal rate of return it offers various participants. The paper calculates the marginal linkage between benefits and contributions, and also examines how the age of entry into the covered workforce affects the participant. All computations are made for the 1985 Social Security and income tax laws. The general results are that Social Security offers vastly different terms to households in different circumstances. The net gain or loss varies by $200,000 and the real internal rate of return on contributions ranges from negative numbers to 6.6% for households of different ages, income levels, and marital status. These differences are far greater than the widely debated distributional affects of relevant income tax alternatives. We also find that there is a great deal of variance in the marginal linkage of benefits and taxes with many households facing a situation where the present value of benefits increases from 0 to 30 cents per extra dollar of taxes paid.
We measure the lifetime incidence of a value added tax (V AT) using income data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and consumption data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX). When annual income is used as a measure of economic well-being, a VAT looks quite regressive. However, the results change significantly when the analysis is done using lifetime income. Using two different measures of lifetime income, we find that a VAT in the United States would be proportional to slightly progressive over the lifetime.
Effectiveness Indicators
This purpose of this article is to develop an effectiveness indicator (EI) for Chile’s tax administration. We assume that the goal of the Chilean Internal Revenue Service (SII) is to maximize tax revenue while minimizing compliance costs. Sample taxpayer surveys and statistical information both show that SII service standards - a proxy for compliance costs - improved in the 1990s. Compliance rates, which are used as EI by the SII itself, also improved significantly. Regression analysis, however, suggests that this improvement can largely be explained by the strong economic growth experienced during the period. We argue that an appropriate EI for the goal of revenue maximization is the actual compliance rate divided by maximum achievable compliance given the values of variables that are beyond SII control.
A wealth of anecdotal evidence suggests that, in the wake of tax revolts, cities have responded with a proliferation of special assessment districts which directly link taxes and their local public good beneficiaries. Despite this, there is no systematic evidence on the adoption patterns of these districts, likely because they are not surveyed by the U.S. Census of Governments. This paper begins to fill this gap by reporting the results of a survey on the adoption patterns of one class of special assessment districts, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), in the state of California. A BID is formed when a majority of merchants or property owners in a commercial neighborhood vote in favor of a package of local taxes and expenditures; once passed, assessments are legally binding on all members of the commercial neighborhood. I find that roughly half of all larger cities in California have at least one BID; among the universe of cities in four Southern California counties, that figure falls to about one-fifth. On the demand side, theory and evidence suggest that BIDs should be adopted in heterogeneous cities to supplement local public goods to neighborhood taste. On the supply side, theory argues that BIDs solve the collective action problem arising in the provision of public goods when the number of group members is large. In particular, older commercial neighborhoods have many landowners who may have trouble coordinating the provision of local public goods, in contrast to the single mall developer who can write contracts to internalize externalities. Combining the survey data with demographic, institutional and political data, I find strong support for the supply-side story, and some evidence that the interaction of supply and demand explain BID adoption.
Updated March 25, 2001 A revised version of this paper appears as "How Families View and Use the EITC: The Case for Lump-sum Delivery." National Tax Journal 53(4) (part 2): 1107-1134. For more information see We analyze ethnographic data on 42 families? perceptions and uses of the EITC, including the decision to use the lump sum or advance payment form. A behavioral life cycle (BLC) model lends a theoretical framework and a description of family financial situations provides context. Parents discuss and exhibit a strong preference for a lump sum combined tax refund and EITC over the credit?s advance payment option. We argue that the preference aligns with the BLC model and is rational given scarce time, money and personal energy. We conclude with implications and hypotheses for quantitative investigation of labor supply and well being issues.
The Social Security earnings test reduces payments to beneficiaries whose labor income exceeds a given threshold. We investigate the impact of this rule by studying the significant changes in its structure over the past 25 years. We find that the earnings test exerts no robust influence on the labor supply decisions of men, although there is some suggestive evidence for a labor supply response among women. We also find that loosening the earnings test accelerates benefits receipt among the eligible population, lowering benefits levels, and heightening concerns about the standard of living of these elderly at very advanced ages.
On November 1, 2005, the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform (the Panel) delivered its report to Treasury Secretary John W. Snow. The bipartisan Panel was organized ten months earlier by President George W. Bush to study options to reform the federal income tax system in ways that would make it simpler, fairer, and more growth-oriented. The Panel recommended two tax reform plans: the Simplified Income Tax Plan, which is based on the current income tax system, and the Growth and Investment Tax Plan, which incorporates a tax on business activity that is similar to some consumption tax prototypes. Many aspects of the Panel’s recommended plans were greeted with praise. However, a number of commentators criticized the reform options because they did not incorporate reductions in statutory rates on a scale comparable to TRA86. This paper discusses how the economic and political constraints faced by the Panel presented different challenges than the 1986 reform effort and resulted in a substantially different approach to tax reform. We draw two conclusions that help explain the Panel proposals and should provide guidance for future reform efforts. First, the tax system as it has evolved over the last 20 years greatly shaped the Panel’s recommendations. Structural features of the current tax system, such as the AMT, phase-outs, and numerous expiring provisions, make it difficult to fashion tax reform plans that are likely to generate popular support based on rate reductions alone. Second, the constraints likely to be imposed on tax reform are different, and in many ways more politically difficult, than those faced by tax reformers during the 1980s. These forces create tradeoffs that make reducing tax rates less politically tenable than past efforts and, ultimately, affect the ability to garner popular support for tax reform.
Much criticism of the income tax involves administration: the enormous complexity of the system is responsible for large compliance costs, public and private, and the tax gap is large despite substantial resources devoted to enforcement. The desire for simplification and improved compliance motivates various incremental reforms as well as proposals for fundamental restructuring of the tax system. But evaluation of such changes is difficult because the underlying problems have not been analyzed in terms of the equity and efficiency concerns that animate more familiar assessments of income tax policy. This article provides a framework for a unified analysis, in which the same factors that are used to justify the choice of the tax base and the rate structure are employed to resolve problems involving complexity, compliance costs, and enforcement difficulties.
The Hope Tax Credit, the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit and the Tuition and Fees Deduction are the first forms of federal student aid administered through the tax code. In this paper, which is the first to explore the effects of the three programs, I use policy-induced variation in the value of these programs to estimate their causal effect on college enrollment. The results indicate that tax-based aid programs have a positive enrollment effect for the first two years of college. Using detailed family income data to construct direct measures of credit constraints, I find no evidence of heterogeneous effects of the subsidy for individuals that are likely to be constrained, suggesting that credit constraints are non-binding. I find further support for this interpretation from results that explore heterogeneous effects by income, from the comparison of the enrollment effect of tax-based aid to other forms of student aid, and from the similarity of enrollment responses for the first and second years of college.
The federal government and the states have recently enacted a slew of aid policies aimed at college students from middle- and high-income families. I estimate the impact of aid on the college attendance of middle- and upper-income youth by evaluating Georgia's HOPE Scholarship, the inspiration of the new federal Hope Scholarship. The results suggest that Georgia's program has had a surprisingly large impact on the college attendance rate of middle- and high-income youth. Using a set of nearby states as a control group, I find that Georgia's program has likely increased the college attendance rate of all 18- to 19-year-olds by 7.0 to 7.9 percentage points. The results suggest that each $1,000 in aid ($1998) increased the college attendance rate in Georgia by 3.7 to 4.2 percentage points. Due to key differences between the federal and Georgia programs, these estimates should be treated as a generous upper bound on the predicted effect of the federal Hope Scholarship. Further, the evidence suggests that Georgia's program has widened the gap in college attendance between blacks and whites and between those from low- and high-income families. The federal Hope Scholarship, should it have its intended effect on middle- and upper-income attendance, will also widen already large racial and income gaps in college attendance in the US.
We calculate the incidence of recent changes to the New Jersey state tax system on a sample of homeowners. Our analysis distinguishes between business-as-usual responses to an evolving fiscal situation and tax changes that constitute a surprise. The latter have incidence effects; the former do not. We conclude that, if the changes carried out by NJ Governor Jim Florio are regarded as permanent, they effected a one-time wealth redistribution from, on average, higher-income homeowners toward lower-income homeowners and from owners of suburban residential property toward owners of urban residential property. Although effects on the averages for identifiable groups are clear and significant there is very considerable variation in the effects on individual homeowners within groups. We also estimate the allocation effects of the tax changes using a general equilibrium model that incorporates the option of in-and out migration. The results suggest that the changes will induce a sizable migration of weal thy and high-income people out of the state.
Voluntary approaches have become a popular in the U.S. to enhance the efficacy and scope of existing regulations and to reduce emissions in sectors or for pollutants where formal environmental regulation is lacking. In this paper, we examine the effectiveness of a particular EPA voluntary program for the metal finishing industry, the Strategic Goals Program (SGP). The Strategic Goals Program is a good candidate for evaluation because it had a credible regulatory threat at the time the program was implemented, we can measure both baseline emissions and progress towards explicit environmental goals, and we have data for participants and non-participants. We look at the decision to participate in the SGP and also try to determine what effect, if any, this program has had on the pollution profile of facilities. In addition, we examine whether the voluntary program had any discernible impact on toxicity-weighted emissions. Finally, we explore the possibility that we have a bimodal distribution in the sample caused by the different motivations of facilities to join a voluntary program. A number of factors influence a firm’s decision to participate in SGP, including trade group membership. However, we do not find robust evidence that SGP participation has had a significant impact on emission reductions. This result continues to hold when we adjust emissions to account for toxicity. Our measure of the threat of regulation is correlated with emission reductions for both participants and non-participants.
We take a first look at limitations on the use of energy-related tax credits contained in the General Business Credit (GBC) due to limitations within the regular corporate income tax as well as the AMT. Between 2000 and 2005, firms were unable to use all energy-related tax credits due to GBC limitations in the regular tax. The AMT has a smaller but still pronounced impact on the ability of firms to use these credits. Finally, we provide some illustrative calculations to demonstrate how the AMT can lead to very different levelized costs of producing electricity from a wind power project.
The 1/n problem potentially limits the effectiveness of profit sharing in motivating workers. While the economic literature suggests that reciprocity can mitigate this problem, it remains silent on the optimal degree of reciprocity. We present a representative model demonstrating that reciprocity may increase productive effort but may also increase unproductive effort such as socializing on the job. The model implies that reciprocity increases profit up to a point but decreases profit beyond that point. Using detailed survey measures of worker reciprocity, we show that the probability of receiving profit sharing takes an inverse U-shape as reciprocity increases. This supports the general implication of the model and is shown to exist for both positive and negative reciprocity and to remain when a series of ability proxies and detailed industry indicators are included.
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Program has long been criticized by economists for its apparent work disincentives stemming from the imposition of 100 percent tax rates on earnings. However, the program has been modified in recent years to allow recipients to keep some of their earnings for fixed periods of time. Moreover, additional proposals have been made for lowering the tax rate further and for providing various additional financial work incentives. We use the basic labor supply model to show the expected effect of these reforms on work effort. In addition, we provide a numerical simulation that shows the magnitude of the monetary incentives provided by the reforms for different categories of individuals. We find that the proposed reforms have ambiguous effects on work effort and could, contrary to perceived wisdom, possibly reduce work effort and increase the number of SSDI recipients. However, the simulations show that reforms based on earnings subsidies for private employers are more likely to increase work effort and to lower the caseload.
Dit doctoraat behandelt een vergelijkende empirische studie van vennootschapsbelastingconcurrentie zowel op regionaal als op Europees niveau. Niet alleen landen verschillen onderling, maar ook regio's binnen ��n land kunnen grote economische verschillen vertonen. Dit doctoraat bestaat uit vier hoofdstukken. De eerst twee hoofdstukken bestuderen regionale belastingsverschillen binnen ��n land. Belgi� en Itali� worden als voorbeeld genomen in deze studies omwille van hun sterk verschillende regio's. Ondanks het feit dat de vennootschapsbelasting een federale materie is in deze landen, kan de effectieve belastingdruk van bedrijven en regio's sterk verschillen. Mogelijke redenen zijn de complexiteit van de belastingregels, belastingsaftrekken voor bepaalde ondernemingen of investeringen in bepaalde regio's en voordelige belastingsregimes. Een derde hoofdstuk onderzoekt belastingconcurrentie tussen Europese landen onderling. Tenslotte, behandelt hoofdstuk vier de invloed van belastingen, economische integratie en instituties op export specialisatie in Centraal- en Oost-Europa. Een eerste hoofdstuk in dit doctoraat bestudeert regionale belastingsverschillen in Belgi�. Deze studie, die uitgevoerd werd met gegevens van 12167 jaarrekeningen van grote Belgische ondernemingen, komt tot de conclusie dat de feitelijke belastingdruk van een gemiddeld Belgisch bedrijf 26% in plaats van 40.17% bedroeg tijdens de periode 1993-2002. Ook wijzen de resultaten erop dat de feitelijke belastingdruk tussen 1993 en 2002 gestegen is en dan vooral vanaf 1999. Een mogelijke verklaring is dat de overheid vanaf 1999 de belastbare basis verbreed heeft om in december 2002 het belastingtarief te kunnen verlagen tot 33.99%. Dit is een fenomeen dat ook in andere Europese landen geobserveerd wordt, namelijk het samengaan van een verlaging van de belastingvoet enerzijds maar een uitbreiding van de belastbare grondslag anderzijds om het effect op de begroting van het land te neutralis
Mature federations have relatively transparent delineations of authority among levels of government; subnational governments enjoy considerable autonomy in their expenditure, revenue, and debt policies. In other countries, problems of soft budget constraints, bailouts, and fiscal and financial instability demonstrate the difficulties of institutional design in a federation. This paper outlines an analytical framework within which interjurisdictional spillovers may create incentives for higher-level governments to intervene in the control and financing of lower-level governments (bailouts). This framework helps to identify directions for theoretical and empirical research that can illuminate important features of observed institutions and guide policy analysis.
Recent academic research on tax incidence has shifted from an emphasis on static and annual perspectives to examinations of dynamic and lifetime issues. Meanwhile, policy economists are forced to rely on annual data and hence annual analyses. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the nature and analysis of lifetime tax incidence, and to compare and contrast this lifetime perspective with the more familiar annual perspective. In our comparison, we find that (1) the lifetime perspective requires much more data over longer periods of time, because results depends critically on the whole shape of the lifetime earnings profile, (2) individuals classified by annual income decile are often reclassified into very different lifetime income deciles, (3) the personal income tax and corporate income tax appear less progressive on a lifetime basis, while consumption taxes appear less regressive on a lifetime basis, and (4) despite the different approaches and the different reasons underlying the incidence of each particular tax, the lifetime incidence of the entire U.S. tax system is strikingly similar to the annual incidence.
This paper examines the participation rate of the earned income tax credit (EITC). After examining a variety of data sources on EITC recipiency, my preferred estimates indicate that 80 to 86 percent of eligible taxpayers received the credit in 1990, which implies fewer than 2.1 million taxpayers entitled to the credit failed to receive it. I then examine factors correlated with nonparticipation and find that many are consistent with rational or voluntary explanations for nonparticipation. The paper concludes with a discussion of the labor market incentives and antipoverty effectiveness of the credit before and after the August 1993 expansion of the EITC.
, with Predictable Tax Change Instruments, Separate Federal and State Prices, and Allowing Coefficients on Non-Price Variables to Differ Across Income Classes 
We estimate the elasticity of charitable giving with respect to persistent and transitory price and income changes using a 1979-2006 panel of tax returns. Our estimation procedure allows for anticipation of and gradual adjustment to tax changes, controls for various potential sources of omitted variable bias via fixed effects and income-class specific year dummies, and allows for a flexible non-linear relationship between income and charitable giving. Our most convincing estimates are identify ed by differences in the time-paths of tax incentives across states, and suggest a persistent price elasticity in excess of one in absolute value.
presents basic sample statistics for the corporate groups in our data set. In 1998, the average number of affiliates which are consolidated under FA rules is cal-
Dependent Variable: Growth Rate Affiliate Number
, continued: Dependent Variable: Growth Rate Affiliate Number
Ordered Probit; Dependent Variable: Categories for Changes in Affiliate Number
, continued: Dependent Variable: Categories for Change in the Affiliate Number
This paper argues that profit-shifting activities of multi-jurisdictional enterprises (MJE) are maintained under a tax system of consolidation and formula apportionment (FA). A theoretical model discusses how an MJE can exploit its impact on the definition of the consolidated group strategically. The analysis shows that the MJE will run individual affiliates as separate un-consolidated firms for tax purposes if intra-group tax-rate differences, and thereby potential gains from profit-shifting, are large. We test this prediction using confidential firm-level tax-return data for the local business tax in Germany. The identification strategy exploits a quasi experiment derived from a major company tax reform in 2001 that reduced the costs associated with separating out individual affiliates. Our results show that, evaluated at the sample mean, an increase in the tax-rate variance among the MJE's affiliates by one standard deviation reduces the number of consolidated affiliates by 20%.
The speed and severity of the decline in the Irish fiscal position in recent years raises a number of important issues regarding the assessment of fiscal policy within the EU. From a position of relative strength, with large surpluses and a low debt to GDP ratio, the Irish public finances have rapidly deteriorated, culminating in an Excessive Deficit Procedure being launched in early 2009. In hindsight, it is evident that tax revenues were on an unsustainable path in recent years due, in large part, to structural imbalances within the economy, mainly associated with the housing market. The excess growth in the latter culminated in large and transitory tax revenue windfalls, which ultimately proved unsustainable. These windfalls contributed to large general government and cyclically adjusted budget surpluses. This paper seeks to quantify the windfall gains associated with property taxes through modelling housing related tax receipts over the period 2002 to 2009. From this, estimates are derived as to the underlying or property adjusted fiscal position, which is found in various years, to have diverged greatly from actual outturns.
Although tax arbitrage is central to the literatures on tax capitalization, implicit taxes, and even capital structure, there is little empirical evidence of the extent to which firms actually engage in tax arbitrage. This paper provides some evidence on the topic by focusing on a simple and observable corporate arbitrage strategy in the market for municipal bonds. It poses a puzzle for the literature, however, in that we find little evidence of municipal bond tax arbitrage by non-financial corporations. The overwhelming majority of firms are not engaging in the arbitrage at all and even among those engaged in arbitrage, many firms do less than a safe-harbor amount allowed by the tax authorities. Such a pattern is consistent with the presence of both fixed and marginal (i.e., that depend on size of the position) costs of arbitrage, though we cannot observe what those costs are.
Updated March 25, 2001 A revised version of this paper appears as "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Social Policy Reforms on Work, Marriage, and Living Arrangements" National Tax Journal 53(4) (part 2): 1063-1106. For more information see This article examines the impact of the recent dramatic changes in the social policies, particularly the expansion of the EITC and welfare reform on labor supply, marriage, and cohabitation. Altered policies have increased incentives to work or marry for some, diminished incentives for others. The results strongly indicate expanded work by single mothers and reductions of work by married mothers in accordance with their changed incentives. By contrast, estimated impacts on marriage are small and ambiguous, though modest changes in cohabitation in the predicted direction suggest that impact on family structure might become more apparent in the future.
Current policy initiatives taken by the EU and the OECD aim at abolishing preferential corporate tax regimes. This note extends Keen's (2001) analysis of symmetric capital tax competition under preferential (or discriminatory) and non-discriminatory tax regimes to allow for countries of different size. Even though size asymmetries imply a redistribution of tax revenue from the larger to the smaller country, a non-discrimination policy is found to have similar effects as in the symmetric model: it lowers the average rate of capital taxation and thus makes tax competition more aggressive in both the large and the small country.
set and unreported income is the risky as- This paper provides empirical evidence set. Generally this model predicts that on the relationship between compliance either increases in the probability of ap- with the Federal Income Tax and auditing prehension and conviction or the penalty by the Internal Revenue Service. It com- for underreporting will increase compli- bines a cross-section data set related to 1969 ance, but the empirical evidence on these individual returns assembled by the IRS effects is both weak and scanty (see Sec- with data taken from the Annual Report tions 2 and 3 below). Furthermore, a strong of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. case can be made that IRS activity ought We find support for an economic approach not be taken as given, but instead be made to tax compliance that incorporates the IRS endogenous (Graetz, Reinganum, and as a strategic actor. Moreover, after allow- Wilde, 1986). ing for the simultaneous determination Of The purpose of this paper is to provide audit rates and compliance levels, we find some empirical evidence on the relation- significant deterrent effects of auditing on ship between audits and compliance. Our noncompliance.
We explore the effects of two kinds of competition on the cost of capital in the tax-exempt bond market: (1) competition amongst underwriters and (2) competition amongst issuers (most of which are quasi-public special authorities sanctioned by state governments). The first kind of competition--essentially, competitive versus negotiated bidding processes--has received considerable attention in the literature. The second kind of competition, the number of potential issuers available to a beneficiary of a bond issue, has received far less attention and is related to the level of decentralization of the market for issuing bonds. Studies of the effects of competition have often used small samples of bond issues--often in one or a few states and for one or a few years--to reach their conclusions. Using a national database covering fourteen years, we find that both kinds of competition lower interest rates, at least in the hospital sector.
This paper outlines a general set of principles for tax avoidance. Most of at least the common tax avoidance schemes can be reinterpreted as making use of one or more of these principles. Four such methods are described. In a perfect capital market, these methods would enable the astute taxpayer to eliminate all taxation on capital income. The fact that the tax system raises revenue is attributed to lack of astuteness of the taxpayer and/or lack of perfection of the capital market. Accordingly, models which attempt to analyze the effects of taxation assuming rational, maximizing taxpayers working within a perfect capital market may give misleading results.A full analysis of tax avoidance cannot be conducted within a partial equilibrium model; transactions which reduce one individual's tax liability may at the same time increase another's.We delineate tax avoidance schemes which reduce the aggregate tax liabilities of the participants. Much of the"general equilibrium" gain from tax avoidance arises from differences in tax rates, both across individuals and across classes of income. Our analysis is shown to have implications both for patterns of ownership of assets and the timing of transfers.
Top-cited authors
Joel Slemrod
  • University of Michigan
James Alm
  • Tulane University
Michael J. Brennan
  • University of California, Los Angeles
Harry Grubert
  • U.S. Treasury
Michael Mckee
  • Appalachian State University