IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Replacing Corporate Income Tax with a Cash Flow Tax


  • Ross Garnaut
  • Craig Emerson
  • Reuben Finighan
  • Stephen Anthony


We design a parsimonious cash flow tax for Australia and estimate revenue effects. It allows immediate deduction of all capital expenditures, denies deductions of interest payments, and compensates negative cash flows at the same rate and time as it taxes positive cash flows. It allows taxpayer timing choice on implementation over 10 years. It has incentive effects comparable to lowering the corporate income tax rate to zero. It removes distortions that artificially favour debt over equity, short‐ over long‐term investments, rents over competitive returns, large, established over small and new businesses, and conventional over innovative investments. It closes international tax evasion loopholes. Its spur to investment and timing of revenue impacts favours implementation in recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross Garnaut & Craig Emerson & Reuben Finighan & Stephen Anthony, 2020. "Replacing Corporate Income Tax with a Cash Flow Tax," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 53(4), pages 463-481, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ausecr:v:53:y:2020:i:4:p:463-481
    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8462.12385

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Garnaut, Ross & Clunies-Ross, Anthony, 1983. "Taxation of Mineral Rents," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284543, November.
    2. Olivier Blanchard, 2019. "Public Debt and Low Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(4), pages 1197-1229, April.
    3. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    4. David Autor & David Dorn & Lawrence F Katz & Christina Patterson & John Van Reenen, 2020. "The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms [“Automation and New Tasks: How Technology Displaces and Reinstates Labor”]," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(2), pages 645-709.
    5. Olivier J Blanchard, 2019. "Public Debt: Fiscal and Welfare Costs in a Time of Low Interest Rates," Policy Briefs PB19-2, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    6. Hwang, Soosung & Satchell, Steve E., 2010. "How loss averse are investors in financial markets?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2425-2438, October.
    7. Diewert, W. Erwin & Fox, Kevin J., 2008. "On the estimation of returns to scale, technical progress and monopolistic markups," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 174-193, July.
    8. Mr. Daniel Leigh & Suchanan Tambunlertchai & Mr. Federico J Diez, 2018. "Global Market Power and its Macroeconomic Implications," IMF Working Papers 2018/137, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Garnaut, Ross & Clunies Ross, Anthony, 1975. "Uncertainty, Risk Aversion and the Taxing of Natural Resource Projects," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 85(338), pages 272-287, June.
    10. Zeira, Joseph, 1990. "Cost uncertainty and the rate of investment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 53-63, February.
    11. Janine M. Dixon & Jason Nassios, 2018. "A Dynamic Economy-wide Analysis of Company Tax Cuts in Australia," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers g-287, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
    12. Boadway, Robin & Bruce, Neil, 1984. "A general proposition on the design of a neutral business tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 231-239, July.
    13. Zee, Howell H., 2005. "A New Approach to Taxing Financial Intermediation Services Under a Value–Added Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 58(1), pages 77-92, March.
    14. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.
    15. Craig Emerson & Ross Garnaut, 1984. "Mineral Leasing Policy: Competitive Bidding and the Resource Rent Tax Given Various Responses to Risk," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 60(2), pages 133-142, June.
    16. Alvaro Angeriz & John McCombie & Mark Roberts, 2008. "Returns to Scale for EU Regional Manufacturing," Working Papers 20, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    17. Alvaro Angeriz & John McCombie & Mark Roberts, 2008. "New Estimates of Returns to Scale and Spatial Spillovers for EU Regional Manufacturing, 1986—2002," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 31(1), pages 62-87, January.
    18. Rui Castro & Gian Luca Clementi & Glenn MacDonald, 2004. "Investor Protection, Optimal Incentives, and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1131-1175.
    19. Emerson, Craig & Garnaut, Ross, 1984. "Mineral Leasing Policy: Competitive Bidding and the Resource Rent Tax Given Various Responses to Risk," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 60(169), pages 133-142, June.
    20. João P. Romero & John S. L. McCombie, 2016. "Differences in increasing returns between technological sectors: a panel data investigation using the EU KLEMS database," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 43(5), pages 863-878, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. John Freebairn, 2022. "Company Income Tax and Business Investment," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 55(3), pages 346-360, September.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Marwil J. Dávila-Fernández, 2018. "Alternative Approaches to Technological Change when Growth is BoPC," Department of Economics University of Siena 795, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Robin Boadway & Michael Keen, 2014. "Rent Taxes and Royalties in Designing Fiscal Regimes for Non-Renewable Resources," CESifo Working Paper Series 4568, CESifo.
    3. Osmel Manzano & Francisco Monaldi, 2008. "The Political Economy of Oil Production in Latin America," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2008), pages 59-103, August.
    4. David Kiefer & Ivan Mendieta-Muñoz & Codrina Rada & Rudiger von Arnim, 2020. "Secular Stagnation and Income Distribution Dynamics," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 52(2), pages 189-207, June.
    5. Harris, Richard & Moffat, John, 2011. "Plant-level determinants of total factor productivity in Great Britain, 1997-2006," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33561, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Felix Kubler & Andrey Polbin & Simon Scheidegger, 2020. "Pareto-Improving Carbon-Risk Taxation," NBER Working Papers 26919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. João Prates Romero, 2016. "Increasing Returns To Scale, Technological Catch-Up And Research Intensity: An Industry-Level Investigation Combining Eu Klems Productivity Data With Patent Data," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 102, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    8. Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Schnabel, Isabel & Truger, Achim & Wieland, Volker, 2019. "Den Strukturwandel meistern. Jahresgutachten 2019/20," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201920.
    9. Marwil J. Dávila-Fernández, 2020. "Alternative approaches to technological change in a small open economy," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 279-317, April.
    10. Foders, Federico, 1985. "Firm behaviour under alternative bidding systems for US OCS hydrocarbon leases," Kiel Working Papers 223, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    11. Smith, B., 1999. "The Impossibility of a Neutral Resource Rent Tax," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 1999-380, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    12. Justin Doran & Bernard Fingleton, 2014. "Economic shocks and growth: Spatio-temporal perspectives on Europe's economies in a time of crisis," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93, pages 137-165, November.
    13. Peppel-Srebrny, Jemima, 2021. "Not all government budget deficits are created equal: Evidence from advanced economies' sovereign bond markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 118(C).
    14. Johannes Blum & Klaus Gründler & Raphael de Britto Schiller & Niklas Potrafke, 2019. "Die Schuldenbremse in der Diskussion – Teilnehmer des Ökonomenpanels mehrheitlich für Beibehaltung," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 72(22), pages 27-33, November.
    15. Alan J. Auerbach, 2006. "The Future of Capital Income Taxation," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 27(4), pages 399-420, December.
    16. Vallés, Javier & Salas Fumás, Vicente & San Juan, Lucio, 2022. "Corporate economic profits in the euro area: The relevance of cost competitive advantage," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 569-585.
    17. Kyoji Fukao & Cristiano Perugini, 2021. "The Long‐Run Dynamics of the Labor Share in Japan," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 67(2), pages 445-480, June.
    18. Alexander Beames & Mariano Kulish & Nadine Yamout, 2022. "Fiscal Policy and the Slowdown in Trend Growth in an Open Economy," Working Papers 143, Red Nacional de Investigadores en Economía (RedNIE).
    19. Christian Breuer, 2020. "Goverment Debt Post COVID-19: Back To Golden Rules," Chemnitz Economic Papers 041, Department of Economics, Chemnitz University of Technology, revised Feb 2020.
    20. Andrés, Javier & Arce, Oscar & Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Hurtado, Samuel, 2020. "Deciphering the Macroeconomic Effects of Internal Devaluations in a Monetary Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 14829, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ausecr:v:53:y:2020:i:4:p:463-481. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Wiley Content Delivery (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.