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Taxation and bond market investment strategies: Evidence from the market for Government of Canada bonds


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  • Landon, Stuart
  • Smith, Constance


This paper shows that, contrary to the suggestion of some investment advisors, for an individual Canadian investor subject to personal income taxation, the after-tax yield on a discount bond is always higher (or, at worse, equal) to the yield on a premium bond. This follows because the tax rate on capital gains is lower than the tax rate on coupon income in Canada. It is also shown that a decline in the capital gains tax rate raises the after-tax yield on discount bonds, but reduces the after-tax yield on premium bonds, and may even cause the yield on premium bonds to become negative. Further, a cut in the tax rate on interest income raises the after-tax yield on all bonds, but raises the yield on premium bonds relative to discount bonds. While the lower after-tax yields on higher coupon bonds might be expected to cause the pre-tax yields on these bonds to rise, no evidence of such tax capitalization is found using a large dataset of matched pairs of Government of Canada bonds for the period 1986-2006. The observed near equality of pre-tax yields since 1995 for bonds with different coupons implies that individuals in Canada earn a significantly smaller after-tax yield from holding premium bonds than discount bonds.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 9959.

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Date of creation: May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:9959

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Keywords: taxation; bonds; after tax returns;

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  1. Kenneth J. McKenzie & Aileen J. Thompson, 1995. "The Impact of the Capital Gains Exemption on Capital Markets," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 21(s1), pages 100-115, November.
  2. Edwin J. Elton & T. Clifton Green, 1998. "Tax and Liquidity Effects in Pricing Government Bonds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1533-1562, October.
  3. Robichek, Alexander A & Niebuhr, W David, 1970. "Tax-Induced Bias in Reported Treasury Yields," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, American Finance Association, vol. 25(5), pages 1081-90, December.
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  5. Michael J. Brennan and Eduardo S. Schwartz., 1979. "A Continuous-Time Approach to the Pricing of Bonds," Research Program in Finance Working Papers, University of California at Berkeley 85, University of California at Berkeley.
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  9. Litzenberger, Robert H & Rolfo, Jacques, 1984. " An International Study of Tax Effects on Government Bonds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, American Finance Association, vol. 39(1), pages 1-22, March.
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  12. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Huizinga, H.P. & Lemmen, J.J.G., 1998. "Short-term and long-term government debt and non resident interest witholding taxes," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-76575, Tilburg University.
  13. Jordan, Bradford D. & Jordan, Susan D., 1991. "Tax options and the pricing of treasury bond triplets : Theory and evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 135-164, November.
  14. Nancy Harvey, 1999. "Recent Initiatives in the Canadian Market for Government of Canada Securities," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, Bank of Canada, vol. 1999(Summer), pages 27-35.
  15. Amoako-Adu, Ben & Rashid, M. & Stebbins, M., 1992. "Capital gains tax and equity values: Empirical test of stock price reaction to the introduction and reduction of capital gains tax exemption," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 275-287, April.
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