Capital Income Taxation and Progressivity in a Global Economy
AbstractThe increase in international capital mobility over the past two decades has put pressure on the tax treatment of corporate equity income. Corporate-level taxes distort investment flows across locations and create opportunities for tax avoidance by shifting income across jurisdictions. Outward flows of capital shift part of the burden of the corporate-level tax on equity income from capital to labor, thereby making its incidence less progressive. Individual-level taxes on corporate equity income lower the after-tax return to savings but have less distorting effects on investment location and are more likely to fall on owners of capital than workers. This logic suggests there may be both efficiency gains and increases in progressivity from shifting taxes on corporate equity income from the corporate to the shareholder level. We estimate the distributional effects of a tax reform that raises shareholder-level taxes on corporate equity income and uses the revenue to cut the corporate tax rate. We find that taxing capital gains and dividends as ordinary income (subject to a maximum 28% rate on long-term capital gains) would finance a cut in the corporate tax rate from 35% to about 26%, assuming no behavioral response. While the distributional effect depends on what one assumes about the incidence of the corporate income tax, our results suggest that even if the corporate income tax were paid entirely by capital income, the reform would make the tax system more progressive.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 201122.
Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 18 May 2011
Date of revision:
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corporate taxation; individual taxation;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
- H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
- H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ACC-2011-12-13 (Accounting & Auditing)
- NEP-ALL-2011-12-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-PBE-2011-12-13 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2011-12-13 (Public Finance)
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- Harry Grubert & Rosanne Altshuler, 2013. "Fixing the System: An Analysis of Alternative Proposals for the Reform of International Tax," Departmental Working Papers 201305, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
- Oliver Denk & Robert P. Hagemann & Patrick Lenain & Valentin Somma, 2013. "Inequality and Poverty in the United States: Public Policies for Inclusive Growth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1052, OECD Publishing.
- Rosanne Altshuler & Barry Bosworth, 2011. "Fiscal Consolidation in America: The Policy Options," Departmental Working Papers 201120, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
- Clausing, Kimberly A., 2013. "Who Pays The Corporate Tax In A Global Economy?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 66(1), pages 151-84, March Cit.
- Claudio A Agostini, 2011. "Equidad Tributaria Horizontal en el Impuesto al Ingreso en Chile," Working Papers wp_012, Adolfo Ibáñez University, School of Government.
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