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Taxes, Organizational Form, and the Deadweight Loss of the Corporate Income Tax

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  • Austan Goolsbee

Abstract

By changing the relative gain to incorporation, corporate taxation can play an important role in a firm's choice of organizational form. General equilibrium models have shown that substantial shifting of organizational form in response to tax rates implies a large deadweight loss of taxation. This paper estimates the impact of taxes on organizational form using data from 1900-1939. The results indicate that the effect of taxes is significant but small. A corporate rate increase of .10 raises the non-corporate share of capital .002-.03. The implied deadweight loss of the corporate income tax is around 5-10% of revenue.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6173.

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Date of creation: Sep 1997
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Publication status: published as Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 69 (July 1998): 143-152.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6173

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  1. Roger H. Gordon & Jeffrey K. MacKie--Mason, 1994. "Tax Distortions to the Choice of Organizational Form," Public Economics 9401004, EconWPA, revised 18 Jan 1994.
  2. Scholes, Myron S & Wolfson, Mark A, 1990. "The Effects of Changes in Tax Laws on Corporate Reorganization Activity," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(1), pages S141-64, January.
  3. Jane G. Gravelle & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1988. "Does the Harberger Model Greatly Understate the Excess Burden of the Corporate Tax? - Another Model Says Yes," NBER Working Papers 2742, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gravelle, Jane G & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1989. "The Incidence and Efficiency Costs of Corporate Taxation When Corporate and Noncorporate Firms Produce the Same Good," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 749-80, August.
  5. Gravelle, Jane G & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1993. "Corporate Tax Incidence and Inefficiency When Corporate and Noncorporate Goods Are Close Substitutes," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(4), pages 501-16, October.
  6. Mackie-Mason, Jeffrey K & Gordon, Roger H, 1997. " How Much Do Taxes Discourage Incorporation?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 477-505, June.
  7. Martin Feldstein & James M. Poterba & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1981. "The Effective Tax Rate and the Pretax Rate of Return," NBER Working Papers 0740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Myron S. Scholes & Mark A. Wolfson, 1991. "The Role of Tax Rules in the Recent Restructuring of U.S. Corporations," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 1-24 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Shoven, John B, 1976. "The Incidence and Efficiency Effects of Taxes on Income from Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1261-83, December.
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