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Tax bunching, income shifting and self-employment

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  • le Maire, Daniel
  • Schjerning, Bertel

Abstract

This paper proposes a dynamic extension to Saez (2010) bunching formula that allows us to distinguish bunching based on real responses and income shifting. We provide direct evidence of income shifting and pronounced bunching in taxable income for the Danish self-employed. If income shifting was neglected in this case, we would estimate a taxable income elasticity in the range of 0.43–0.53 and conclude that taxable incomes were highly sensitive to changes in marginal tax rates. We show, however, that more than half of the bunching in taxable income is driven by intertemporal income shifting, implying a structural elasticity of 0.14–0.20.

Suggested Citation

  • le Maire, Daniel & Schjerning, Bertel, 2013. "Tax bunching, income shifting and self-employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 1-18.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:107:y:2013:i:c:p:1-18
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2013.08.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin Feldstein, 1999. "Tax Avoidance And The Deadweight Loss Of The Income Tax," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 674-680, November.
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    4. Joel Slemrod, 1996. "High-Income Families and the Tax Changes of the 1980s: The Anatomy of Behavioral Response," NBER Chapters,in: Empirical Foundations of Household Taxation, pages 169-192 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    6. Bastani, Spencer & Selin, Håkan, 2014. "Bunching and non-bunching at kink points of the Swedish tax schedule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 36-49.
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    8. Henrik J. Kleven & Mazhar Waseem, 2013. "Using Notches to Uncover Optimization Frictions and Structural Elasticities: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 669-723.
    9. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," CAM Working Papers 2010-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:decono:v:165:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10645-017-9303-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Søren Leth-Petersen & Peer Ebbesen Skov, 2016. "Tax Reforms and Intertemporal Shifting of Wage Income: Evidence from Danish Monthly Payroll Records," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 233-257, August.
    3. Neisser, Carina, 2017. "The elasticity of taxable income: A meta-regression analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-032, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Facundo Alveredo & Juliana Londoño Vélez, 2013. "High incomes and personal taxation in a developing economy: Colombia 1993-2010," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 12, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    5. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2016. "Business owners and income-shifting: evidence from Finland," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 115-136, January.
    6. Stuart Adam & James Browne & David Phillips & Barra Roantree, 2017. "Frictions and taxpayer responses: evidence from bunching at personal tax thresholds," IFS Working Papers W17/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    7. Harju, Jarkko & Matikka, Tuomas, 2013. "Entrepreneurs and income-shifting: Empirical evidence from a Finnish tax reform," Working Papers 43, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    8. repec:bla:scandj:v:118:y:2016:i:4:p:693-717 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2013. "The elasticity of taxable income and income-shifting between tax bases: what is “real” and what is not?," Working Papers 1313, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    10. Nicole Bosch & Vincent Dekker & Kristina Strohmaier, 2016. "A Data-Driven Procedure to Determine the Bunching Window - An Application to the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 336, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    11. Bastani, Spencer & Selin, Håkan, 2014. "Bunching and non-bunching at kink points of the Swedish tax schedule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 36-49.
    12. Asatryan, Zareh & Peichl, Andreas, 2016. "Responses of firms to tax, administrative and accounting rules: Evidence from Armenia," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-065, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    13. Jakob Egholt Søgaard, 2014. "Labor Supply and Optimization Frictions: Evidence from the Danish student labor market," EPRU Working Paper Series 2014-02, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    14. Dekker, Vincent & Strohmaier, Kristina & Bosch, Nicole, 2016. "A data-driven procedure to determine the bunching window: An application to the Netherlands," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 05-2016, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    15. Annette Alstadsæter & Martin Jacob, 2016. "Dividend Taxes and Income Shifting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 118(4), pages 693-717, October.
    16. Facundo Alveredo & Juliana Londoño Vélez, 2013. "High incomes and personal taxation in a developing economy: Colombia 1993-2010," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1312, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    17. Leon Bettendorf & Arjan Lejour & Maarten ’t Riet, 2017. "Tax Bunching by Owners of Small Corporations," De Economist, Springer, vol. 165(4), pages 411-438, December.
    18. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2016. "The elasticity of taxable income and income-shifting: what is “real” and what is not?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(4), pages 640-669, August.
    19. repec:eee:pubeco:v:151:y:2017:i:c:p:41-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2014. "Business Owners and Income-Shifting between Tax Bases: Empirical Evidence from a Finnish Tax Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 5090, CESifo Group Munich.
    21. Daniel Hungerman & Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, 2016. "What is the Price Elasticity of Charitable Giving? Toward a Reconciliation of Disparate Estimates," Artefactual Field Experiments 00557, The Field Experiments Website.
    22. Aspen Gorry & R. Glenn Hubbard & Aparna Mathur, 2018. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income in the Presence of Intertemporal Income Shifting," NBER Working Papers 24531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2017. "The elasticity of taxable income in the presence of deduction possibilities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 41-55.
    24. Facundo Alvaredo & Juliana Londoño Vélez, 2014. "Altos ingresos e impuesto de renta en Colombia, 1993-2010," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 16(31), pages 157-194, July-Dece.
    25. Jacob, Martin, 2014. "Cross-base tax elasticity of capital gains," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 169, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-employment; Tax bunching; Retained profits; Tax avoidance; Income shifting;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General

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