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An empirical analysis of wealth taxation: Equity vs. tax compliance

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  • José Mª Durán Cabré

    ()
    (Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB); Universitat de Barcelona (UB))

  • Alejandro Esteller Moré

    ()
    (Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB); Universitat de Barcelona (UB))

Abstract

Capital taxation is currently under debate, basically due to problems of administrative control and proper assessment of the levied assets. We analyze both problems focusing on a capital tax, the annual wealth tax (WT), which is only applied in five OECD countries, being Spain one of them. We concentrate our analysis on top 1% adult population, which permits us to describe the evolution of wealth concentration in Spain along 1983-2001. On average top 1% holds about 18% of total wealth, which rises to 19% when tax incompliance and under-assessment is corrected for housing, the main asset. The evolution suggests wealth concentration has risen. Regarding WT, we analyze whether it helps to reduce wealth inequality or, on the contrary, it reinforces vertical inequity (due to especial concessions) and horizontal inequity (due to the de iure and to de facto different treatment of assets). We analyze in detail housing and equity shares. By means of a time series analysis, we relate the reported values with reasonable price indicators and proxies of the propensity to save. We infer net tax compliance is extremely low, which includes both what we commonly understand by (gross) tax compliance and the degree of under-assessment due to fiscal legislation (for housing). That is especially true for housing, whose level of net tax compliance is well below 50%. Hence, we corroborate the difficulties in taxing capital, and so cast doubts on the current role of the WT in Spain in reducing wealth inequality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2007/1.

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Length: 74 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2007/11/doc2007-1

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Keywords: Tax compliance; Wealth distribution; Wealth tax;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Anna Matas & José-Luís Raymond & José-Luís Roig, 2008. "Car ownership and access to jobs in Spain," Working Papers XREAP2008-03, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Apr 2008.
  2. Christian Durán Weitkamp & Mónica Martín Bofarull & Federico Pablo Martí, 2008. "Economic effects of road accessibility in the Pyrenees: user perspective," Working Papers XREAP2008-01, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Jan 2008.
  3. Anna Matas Prats & José Luís Raymond Bara & José Luís Raymond Bara, 2008. "Job accessibility and employment probability," Working Papers XREAP2008-05, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised May 2008.

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