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Business owners and income-shifting: evidence from Finland

Author

Listed:
  • Jarkko Harju

    () (VATT Institute for Economic Research)

  • Tuomas Matikka

    () (VATT Institute for Economic Research)

Abstract

Abstract This study examines income-shifting between tax bases among the owners of privately held businesses. The dual income tax system in Finland offers noticeable incentives for income-shifting between wages and dividends for business owners. The dividend tax reform of 2005 enables us to study how this particular form of tax avoidance reacts to an exogenous change in tax rates. Our results support highly active income-shifting behavior. We find that the income-shifting effect is homogeneous across different owners and firms. However, we find that the size of the tax incentive affects the size of the response, suggesting that costs related to income-shifting are important.

Suggested Citation

  • Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2016. "Business owners and income-shifting: evidence from Finland," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 115-136, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:sbusec:v:46:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s11187-015-9679-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s11187-015-9679-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Weber, Caroline E., 2014. "Toward obtaining a consistent estimate of the elasticity of taxable income using difference-in-differences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 90-103.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Christophe André & Hyunjeong Hwang, 2018. "Tax reform to support growth and employment in Finland," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1468, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business owners; Income-shifting; Income taxation; Dividend tax reform;

    JEL classification:

    • G35 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Payout Policy
    • 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
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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