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Withholding Taxes or Information Exchange: The Taxation of International Interest Flows

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  • Harry Huizinga
  • Søren Bo Nielsen

Abstract

This paper considers withholding taxes and information exchange as alternative means to tax international interest income. For each regime, we consider the maximum level of taxation of foreign-source income that can be sustained as the equilibrium of a repeated game. The best regime is the one that brings the level of taxation in the repeated game closest to the cooperative level of interest taxation. Sustainable levels of taxation in either regime depend on the importance of bank profits and on the marginal cost of public funds, among other things. Simulations with the model illustrate the choice between withholding taxes and information exchange. An explicit possibility is the emergence of a mixed regime, with one country imposing a withholding tax and the other country providing information. The basic model is extended to allow for size differences between the two countries and to incorporate a third, outside country.

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Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 00-19.

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Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:00-19

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  1. Bacchetta, P. & Paz Espinosa, M., 1992. "Information Sharing and Tax Competition Among Governments," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 173.92, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  2. Julian Alworth, 1998. "Taxation and Integrated Financial Markets: The Challenges of Derivatives and Other Financial Innovations," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 507-534, October.
  3. Sijbren Cnossen, 1996. "Company Taxes in the European Union: Criteria and Options for Reform," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(4), pages 67-97, November.
  4. Philippe Bacchetta & María Espinosa, 2000. "Exchange-of-Information Clauses in International Tax Treaties," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 275-293, May.
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