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

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  • Johann K. Brunner
  • Susanne Pech
  • Paul Eckerstorfer

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 The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series NRN working papers with number 2010-03.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2010_03

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Keywords: Optimal Taxation; Tax Evasion;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. PESTIEAU, Pierre & POSSEN, Uri M. & LUTSKY, Steven M., . "Jointly optimal taxes and enforcement policies in response to tax evasion," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1710, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. 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).
  5. Dan Usher, 1986. "Tax Evasion and the Marginal Cost of Public Funds," Working Papers 637, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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).
  12. Deaton, Angus, 1979. "Optimally uniform commodity taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 357-361.
  13. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2008. "Optimum taxation of inheritances," Economics working papers 2008-06, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  14. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1993. "Tax evasion and optimal commodity taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 261-275, February.
  15. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1973. "A note on optimum tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 265-270, July.
  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. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2010. "Optimum taxation of bequests in a model with initial wealth," Economics working papers 2010-01, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  2. 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.
  3. Brunner Johann K. & Pech Susanne, 2012. "Optimal Taxation of Wealth Transfers When Bequests are Motivated by Joy of Giving," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22, March.

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