Taxation of capital gains on owner-occupied homes
The paper compares taxation on realization with taxation on accrual in the context of owner-occupied housing. It considers a model where the utility a household derives from housing relative to other consumption varies over the life-cycle. As there are sizeable transaction costs, housing consumption will not, even in the absence of taxes, be adjusted continuously but at discrete intervals. The focus of the paper is on tax effects on the length of these intervals. The following results are shown:uTaxing ‘true economic appreciation’ at the same rate as imputed rental income and other capital income will lead to a shortening of the intervals.If the capital gains are taxed on accrual, an increase in this tax rate holding other rates constant will lead to a shortening of the intervals.If the capital gains are taxed only as they are realized, an increase in this tax rate holding other rates constant may either lead to a lengthening or a shortening of the holding period. Shortening is more likely if transaction costs are large, whereas lengthening will occur if the rate of price increase is high.
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