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Optimal Tax Design and Enforcement with an Informal Sector

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  • Robin Boadway

    ()
    (Queen's University)

  • Motohiro Sato

    ()
    (Hitotsubashi University)

Abstract

An optimal commodity tax approach is taken to compare trade taxes and VATs when some commodities are produced informally. Trade taxes apply to all imports and exports, including intermediate goods while the VAT applies only to sales by the formal sector and imports. The VAT can achieve production efficiency within the formal sector, but unlike the trade tax regime, it cannot indirectly tax pure profits. Making the size of the informal sector endogenous in each regime is potentially decisive. The ability of the government to change the size of the informal sector through costly enforcement may also tip the balance in favor of the VAT.

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File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1168.pdf
File Function: First version 2008
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Queen's University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1168.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1168

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Keywords: informal sector; optimal taxation; value-added tax; trade taxes;

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References

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  1. Keen, Michael & Mintz, Jack, 2004. "The optimal threshold for a value-added tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 559-576, March.
  2. Roger Gordon & Wei Li, 2005. "Tax Structure in Developing Countries: Many Puzzles and a Possible Explanation," NBER Working Papers 11267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. M. Shahe Emran & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2002. "On Selective Indirect Tax Reform in Developing Countries," International Trade 0210003, EconWPA.
  4. Keen, Michael, 2008. "VAT, tariffs, and withholding: Border taxes and informality in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1892-1906, October.
  5. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Warlters, Michael, 2005. "Taxation base in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 625-646, April.
  6. Michael Keen & Johanna Elisabeth Ligthart, 1999. "Coordinating Tariff Reduction and Domestic Tax Reform," IMF Working Papers 99/93, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Newbery, David M., 1986. "On the desirability of input taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 267-270.
  8. John Piggott & John Whalley, 2001. "VAT Base Broadening, Self Supply, and the Informal Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1084-1094, September.
  9. Knud Jørgen Munk, 2005. "Tax-tariff reform with costs of tax administration," Economics Working Papers 2005-21, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mario Mansour & Michael Keen, 2009. "Revenue Mobilization in Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 09/157, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Alstadsæter, Annette & Jacob, Martin, 2013. "The effect of awareness and incentives on tax evasion," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 147, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  3. Ronald Davies & Louren Paz, 2010. "Tariffs Versus VAT in the Presence of Heterogeneous Firms and an Informal Sector," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp323, IIIS, revised Mar 2010.
  4. Michael S. Michael & Sajal Lahiri & Panos Hatzipanayotou, 2008. "Integrated Reforms of Indirect Taxes in the Presence of Pollution," CESifo Working Paper Series 2276, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Michael Keen, 2009. "What Do (and Don't) We Know about the Value Added Tax? A Review of Richard M. Bird and Pierre-Pascal Gendron's The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 159-70, March.
  6. Agnar Sandmo, 2012. "An evasive topic: theorizing about the hidden economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 5-24, February.
  7. Paul E. Carrillo & M. Shahe Emran & Anita Rivadeneira, 2011. "Do Cheaters Bunch Together? Profit Taxes, Withholding Rates and Tax Evasion," Working Papers 2011-03, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  8. Panos Hatzipanayotou & Sajal Lahiri & Michael Michael, 2011. "Trade and domestic tax reforms in the presence of a public good and different neutrality conditions," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 273-290, June.
  9. Baunsgaard, Thomas & Keen, Michael, 2010. "Tax revenue and (or?) trade liberalization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 563-577, October.
  10. Jenny Ligthart & Gerard C. van der Meijden, 2010. "Coordinated Tax-Tariff Reforms, Informality, and Welfare Distribution," CESifo Working Paper Series 3107, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Paul E. Carrillo & M. Shahe Emran & Gabriela Aparicio, 2011. "Taxes, Prisons, and CFOs: The Effects of Increased Punishment on Corporate Tax Compliance in Ecuador," Working Papers 2011-02, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  12. Michael S. Michael & Panos Hatzipanayotou, 2013. "Cooperative and Non-Cooperative Equilibrium Consumption Taxes in the Presence of Cross-Border Pollution," CESifo Working Paper Series 4501, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Richard M. Bird & Michael Smart, 2012. "Financing Social Expenditures in Developing Countries: Payroll or Value Added Taxes?," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1206, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  14. Michael S. Michael & Sajal Lahiri & Panos Hatzipanayotou, 2013. "Piecemeal Reform of Domestic Indirect Taxes toward Uniformity in the Presence of Pollution: with and without a Revenue Constraint," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 03-2013, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.

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