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Taxing across Borders: Tracking Personal Wealth and Corporate Profits

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  • Gabriel Zucman

Abstract

This article attempts to estimate the magnitude of corporate tax avoidance and personal tax evasion through offshore tax havens. US corporations book 20 percent of their profits in tax havens, a tenfold increase since the 1980; their effective tax rate has declined from 30 to 20 percent over the last 15 years, and about two-thirds of this decline can be attributed to increased international tax avoidance. Globally, 8 percent of the world's personal financial wealth is held offshore, costing more than $200 billion to governments every year. Despite ambitious policy initiatives, profit shifting to tax havens and offshore wealth are rising. I discuss the recent proposals made to address these issues, and I argue that the main objective should be to create a world financial registry.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Taxing across Borders: Tracking Personal Wealth and Corporate Profits," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 121-148, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:28:y:2014:i:4:p:121-48
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.28.4.121
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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