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On the Redistributive Properties of Presumptive Taxation

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  • Alessandro Balestrino
  • Umberto Galmarini

Abstract

Presumptive taxation, in which an income proxy is used as tax base, has been and is still used today in countries with very diverse situations - developing, transition and developed countries. Usually, this form of taxation is thought of as a revenue-raising device in presence of widespread imperfect tax compliance. We investigate the question of whether presumptive taxation can be used as a redistributive instrument. To this end, we employ an occupational choice model in which an individual can be either an entrepreneur or a worker. We allow for different abilities to dodge taxes across social classes, and consider both the case in which a conventional income tax is in place alongside presumptive taxation and the case in which only presumptive taxation is operating. We argue that a revenue-neutral reform introducing a lump-sum presumptive tax based on occupational choice can improve social welfare, and sometimes even lead to a Pareto-improvement.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1381.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1381

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Keywords: tax avoidance; presumptive taxation; redistribution; occupational choice;

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References

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  1. Sijbren Cnossen & Lans Bovenberg, 2001. "Fundamental Tax Reform in The Netherlands," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 471-484, August.
  2. Slemrod, Joel, 1994. "Fixing the leak in Okun's bucket optimal tax progressivity when avoidance can be controlled," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 41-51, September.
  3. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470 Elsevier.
  5. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice & Pestieau, Pierre, 1991. "Optimal linear income taxation in models with occupational choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 133-162, November.
  6. Balestrino Alessandro & Galmarini Umberto, 2005. "Presumptive Taxation, Markets and Redistribution," Politica economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 165-186.
  7. Bennett, John, 1987. "The Second-Best Lump-Sum Taxation of Observable Characteristics," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 42(2), pages 227-35.
  8. Stern, Nicholas, 1982. "Optimum taxation with errors in administration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 181-211, March.
  9. Joel Slemrod, 1998. "A General Model of the Behavioral Response to Taxation," NBER Working Papers 6582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Louis Kaplow, 1995. "How Tax Complexity and Enforcement Affect the Equity and Efficiency of The Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 5391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Efraim Sadka & Vito Tanzi, 1992. "A Taxon Gross Assets of Enterprises as a Form of Presumptive Taxation," IMF Working Papers 92/16, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Joel Slemrod & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1994. "Analyzing the standard deduction as a presumptive tax," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 25-34, February.
  13. Cowell, F A, 1990. "Tax Sheltering and the Cost of Evasion," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 231-43, January.
  14. Kaplow, Louis, 1996. "How Tax Complexity and Enforcement Affect the Equity and Efficiency of the Income Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(1), pages 135-50, March.
  15. Alessandro Balestrino & Umberto Galmarini, 2003. "Imperfect Tax Compliance and the Optimal Provision of Public Goods," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 37-52, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Bird, Richard M. & Zolt, Eric M., 2005. "The limited role of the personal income tax in developing countries," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 928-946, December.
  2. Marchese, Carla & Privileggi, Fabio, 2009. "A model of the Italian cut-off system for taxing small businesses," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 127-134, June.
  3. Shlomo Yitzhaki, 2007. "Cost Benefit Analysis of Presumptive Taxation," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0714, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.

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