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Efficiency Effects of Tax Deductions for Work-Related Expenses

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  • Wolfram F. Richter

Abstract

In this paper it is shown that allowing the deduction of work-related expenses has a strictly positive effect on tax efficiency only if two conditions hold jointly: (i) The expenses should be interpretable as real cost and (ii) the expenses should be required for increasing taxable income. Otherwise deductions are inefficient, neutral or ambiguous. Thus it is argued that the cost of commuting to work should not be deductible as commuting does not increase taxable income. The efficiency enhancing effect of deducting other expenses like educational ones or expenses for housework and child care is challenged on the grounds that these expenses are largely pecuniary costs.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2004/wp-cesifo-2004-10/cesifo1_wp1311.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1311.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1311

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Keywords: income tax deductions; commuting; housework; child care; educational expenses; efficient taxation; production efficiency;

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References

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  1. Brueckner, Jan K., 2005. "Transport subsidies, system choice, and urban sprawl," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 715-733, November.
  2. A. Lans Bovenberg & Bas Jacobs, 2005. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-036/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Hoyt, William H., 1991. "Competitive jurisdictions, congestion, and the Henry George Theorem : When should property be taxed instead of land?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 351-370, November.
  4. Pio Baake & Rainald Borck & Andreas L–ffler, 2004. "Complexity and Progressivity in Income Tax Design: Deductions for Work-Related Expenses," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 299-312, 05.
  5. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Nerlove, Marc & Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & von Weizsacker, Robert K., 1993. "Comprehensive income taxation, investments in human and physical capital, and productivity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 397-406, March.
  7. Sandmo, Agnar, 1990. "Tax Distortions and Household Production," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 78-90, January.
  8. Julie Hope & Paul Miller, 1988. "Financing Tertiary Education: An Examination of the Issues," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 21(4), pages 37-57.
  9. Wrede, Matthias, 2001. "Should Commuting Expenses Be Tax Deductible? A Welfare Analysis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 80-99, January.
  10. Nielsen, Soren Bo & Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1997. "On the optimality of the Nordic system of dual income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 311-329, February.
  11. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Roubini, Nouriel, 1996. "On the Taxation of Human and Physical Capital in Models of Endogenous Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1477, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Baldry, Jonathan, 1998. "Income Tax Deductions for Work-Related Expenses: The Rationale Examined," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 45-57, March.
  13. Judd, Kenneth L, 1998. "Taxes, Uncertainty, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 289-92, May.
  14. Trostel, Philip A, 1993. "The Effect of Taxation on Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 327-50, April.
  15. Homburg, Stefan, 2010. "Allgemeine Steuerlehre," EconStor Books, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, number 92547.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hirte, Georg & Tscharaktschiew, Stefan, 2011. "Income tax deduction of commuting expenses and tax funding in an urban CGE study: the case of German cities," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 02/11, Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  2. Santos, Georgina & Behrendt, Hannah & Maconi, Laura & Shirvani, Tara & Teytelboym, Alexander, 2010. "Part I: Externalities and economic policies in road transport," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 2-45.
  3. Salvatore Barbaro & Jens Suedekum, 2009. "Voting on income tax exemptions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(1), pages 239-253, January.
  4. Tscharaktschiew, Stefan & Hirte, Georg, 2011. "Should subsidies to urban passenger transport be increased? A spatial CGE analysis for a German metropolitan area," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 01/11, Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  5. Hirte, Georg & Tscharaktschiew, Stefan, 2013. "Income tax deduction of commuting expenses in an urban CGE study: The case of German cities," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 11-27.
  6. Matthias Wrede, 2006. "Steuerliche Förderung von haushaltsnahen Dienstleistungen," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 59(02), pages 03-05, 01.
  7. Homburg, Stefan, 2008. "Die Entfernungspauschale als steuertheoretische Herausforderung," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 45-53.

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