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Optimal Taxes on Wealth and Consumption in the Presence of Tax Evasion

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  • Johann K. Brunner
  • Paul Eckerstorfer
  • Susanne Pech

Abstract

This article incorporates tax evasion into an optimum taxation framework with individuals differing in earning abilities and initial wealth. We find that despite the possibility of its evasion a tax on initial wealth should supplement the optimal nonlinear income tax, given a positive correlation between initial wealth and earning abilities. Further, even if income and initial wealth are taxed optimally, it is still desirable to levy a tax on commodities, though it can be evaded as well. Thus, our result provides a rationale for a comprehensive tax system. Optimal tax rates on commodities differ in general, however for the special case of a uniform evasion technology it turns out that equal rates are optimal if preferences are homothetic and weakly separable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series Economics working papers with number 2010-04.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2010_04

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Keywords: Optimal Taxation; Tax Evasion;

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References

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  1. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre & ROCHET, Jean-Charles, . "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1700, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Usher, Dan, 1986. "Tax Evasion and the Marginal Cost of Public Funds," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(4), pages 563-86, October.
  3. BOADWAY, Robin & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 1997. "Redistribution with unobservable bequests: a case for taxing capital income," CORE Discussion Papers 1997070, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
  5. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
  6. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2009. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," NBER Working Papers 15408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU , Pierre & ROCHET, Jean-Charles, . "Direct versus indirect taxation: the design of the tax structure revisited," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1528, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Pierre Pestieau & Uri M. Possen & Steven M. Slutsky, 2004. "Jointly Optimal Taxes and Enforcement Policies in Response to Tax Evasion," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 6(2), pages 337-374, 05.
  9. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Is the Taxable Income Elasticity Sufficient to Calculate Deadweight Loss? The Implications of Evasion and Avoidance," NBER Working Papers 13844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
  11. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2008. "Optimum Taxation of Inheritance," NRN working papers 2008-02, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  12. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1973. "A note on optimum tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 265-270, July.
  13. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-73, August.
  14. Keen, Michael & Smith, Stephen, 2006. "VAT Fraud and Evasion: What Do We Know and What Can Be Done?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(4), pages 861-87, December.
  15. Deaton, Angus, 1979. "Optimally uniform commodity taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 357-361.
  16. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1996. "Tax evasion and the optimum general income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 235-249, May.
  17. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1993. "Tax evasion and optimal commodity taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 261-275, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Johann K. Brunner, 2010. "Die Erbschaftssteuer im Modell der optimalen Besteuerung," NRN working papers 2010-18, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  2. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2010. "Optimum Taxation of Bequests in a Model with Initial Wealth," CESifo Working Paper Series 2977, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2011. "Optimal taxation of wealth transfers when bequests are motivated by joy of giving," Economics working papers 2011-12, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.

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