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Tax Evasion and Swiss Bank Deposits

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  • Niels Johannesen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

Bank deposits in jurisdictions with banking secrecy constitute an effective tool to evade taxes on interest income. A recent EU reform reduces the scope for this type of tax evasion by introducing a source tax on interest income earned by EU residents in Switzerland and several other jurisdictions with banking secrecy. In this paper, we estimate the impact of the source tax on Swiss bank deposits held by EU residents while using that non-EU residents were not subject to the tax to apply a natural experiment methodology. We find that the 15% source tax caused Swiss bank deposits of EU residents to drop by more than 40% with most of the response occurring in two quarters immediately before and after the source tax was introduced. The estimates imply an elasticity of Swiss deposits with respect to the net-of-source-tax-rate in the range 2.5-3.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 2010-05.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2009
Date of revision: Sep 2010
Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:10-05

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Keywords: tax evasion; capital taxation; savings directive;

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References

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  1. Thomas Hemmelgarn & Gaëtan Nicodème, 2009. "Tax Co-ordination in Europe: Assessing the First Years of the EU-Savings Taxation Directive," Working Papers CEB 09-023.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joao Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2005. "The log of gravity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3744, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Tina Klautke & Alfons J. Weichenrieder, 2010. "Interest Income Tax Evasion, the EU Savings Directive and Capital Market Effects," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 151-170, 03.
  5. Huizinga, Harry & Nicodeme, Gaetan, 2004. "Are international deposits tax-driven," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1093-1118, June.
  6. Zsolt Darvas, 2012. "Real Effective Exchange Rates for 178 Countries: a New Database," Working Papers 1201, Department of Mathematical Economics and Economic Analysis, Corvinus University of Budapest.
  7. 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.
  8. Niels Johannesen, 2009. "Tax Evasion and Swiss Bank Deposits," EPRU Working Paper Series 2010-05, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Sep 2010.
  9. Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "The End of Bank Secrecy? An Evaluation of the G20 Tax Haven Crackdown," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 65-91, February.
  10. Gabriel Zucman, 2013. "The Missing Wealth of Nations: Are Europe and the U.S. net Debtors or net Creditors?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1321-1364.
  11. James R. Hines, 2010. "Treasure Islands," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 103-26, Fall.
  12. 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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "The End of Bank Secrecy? An Evaluation of the G20 Tax Haven Crackdown," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 65-91, February.
  2. Katarzyna Bilicka & Clemens Fuest, 2014. "With which countries do tax havens share information?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 175-197, April.
  3. Katarzyna Anna Bilicka & Clemens Fuest, 2012. "With which countries do tax havens share information?," Working Papers 1211, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  4. Shafik Hebous, 2011. "Money at the Docks of Tax Havens: A Guide," CESifo Working Paper Series 3587, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Johannesen, Niels, 2014. "Tax evasion and Swiss bank deposits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 46-62.
  6. Marcel GERARD & Lucia GRANELLI, 2013. "From the EU Savings Directive to the US FATCA, Taxing Cross Border Savings Income," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013007, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  7. Thomas Hemmelgarn & Gaëtan J.A. Nicodème, 2009. "Tax-Co-ordination in Europe: Assessing the First Years of the EU-Savings Taxation Directive," CESifo Working Paper Series 2675, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, explaining, and controlling tax evasion: lessons from theory, experiments, and field studies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 54-77, February.
  9. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00665054 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00565224 is not listed on IDEAS

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