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Tax Neutrality: Illusion or Reality? The Case of Entrepreneurship

Listed author(s):
  • Vesa Kanniainen
  • Paolo M. Panteghini

The theoretical work on capital income taxation has focused on conditions under which a tax system preserves investment neutrality. The trouble with such a neutrality view is that it is focused on one margin among others. The economics of start-up firms is, however, fundamentally different from the economics of established corporations. In particular, the opportunity cost of an entrepreneur should be stated in terms of forgone earnings in the labor market, adjusted for the option value of abandoning the firm throughout the lifetime. Moreover, the future-exit option interferes with the early start-up decision when a nascent entrepreneur is forward-looking. The paper shows that the requirement of start-up neutrality is not satisfied by any of the well-known investment-neutral tax systems, including the comprehensive income tax, the dividend tax, the Johansson-Samuelson tax, the cash-flow tax, and the ACE tax.

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Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal FinanzArchiv.

Volume (Year): 69 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 167-193

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(201206)69:2_167:tniort_2.0.tx_2-v
DOI: 10.1628/001522108X666926
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  1. Michael Devereux & Harold Freeman, 1991. "A general neutral profits tax," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 12(3), pages 1-15, August.
  2. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37.
  3. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith, 1998. "The Taxation of Discrete Investment Choices," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 98/08, Department of Economics, Keele University.
  4. Agliardi, Elettra & Agliardi, Rossella, 2008. "Progressive taxation and corporate liquidation policy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 532-541, May.
  5. 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.
  6. Panteghini, Paolo M., 2006. "S-based taxation under default risk," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1923-1937, November.
  7. Vesa Kanniainen & Seppo Kari & Jouko Ylä-Liedenpohja, 2007. "Nordic dual income taxation of entrepreneurs," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(4), pages 407-426, August.
  8. Paolo Panteghini, 2001. "On Corporate Tax Asymmetries and Neutrality," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(3), pages 269-286, 08.
  9. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Cash-on-Hand and Competing Models of Intertemporal Behavior: New Evidence from the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1511-1560.
  10. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1991. "The vanishing harberger triangle," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 271-300, August.
  11. Paul A. Samuelson, 1964. "Tax Deductibility of Economic Depreciation to Insure Invariant Valuations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 604-604.
  12. Bonds, Stephen R. & Devereux, Michael P., 1995. "On the design of a neutral business tax under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 57-71, September.
  13. Niemann Rainer & Sureth Caren, 2005. "Capital Budgeting with Taxes under Uncertainty and Irreversibility / Investitionsplanung mit Steuern bei Unsicherheit und Irreversibilität," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 225(1), pages 77-95, February.
  14. Robert McDonald & Daniel Siegel, 1986. "The Value of Waiting to Invest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 707-727.
  15. Vesa Kanniainen & Seppo Kari & Jouko Ylä-Liedenpohja, 2005. "The Start-Up and Growth Stages in Enterprise Formation: The "New View" of Dividend Taxation Reconsidered," CESifo Working Paper Series 1476, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Bradford, David F., 1981. "The incidence and allocation effects of a tax on corporate distributions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-22, February.
  17. Panteghini, Paolo M., 2007. "Interest deductibility under default risk and the unfavorable tax treatment of investment costs: A simple explanation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 1-7, July.
  18. repec:hrv:faseco:30747190 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Bruce, Donald, 2002. "Taxes and Entrepreneurial Endurance: Evidence from the Self-Employed," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 1), pages 5-24, March.
  20. Rainer Niemann, 1999. "Neutral Taxation under Uncertainty - a Real Options Approach," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 56(1), pages 51-66, March.
  21. Alan J. Auerbach, 1979. "Wealth Maximization and the Cost of Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 433-446.
  22. Paolo M. Panteghini, 2001. "Corporate Tax Asymmetries under Investment Irreversibility," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 58(3), pages 207-207, July.
  23. Ray Ball & John Bowers, 1983. "Distortions Created by Taxes Which are Options on Value Creation: The Australian Resources Rent Tax Proposal," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 8(2), pages 1-14, December.
  24. McDonald, Robert L & Siegel, Daniel R, 1985. "Investment and the Valuation of Firms When There Is an Option to Shut Down," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 331-349, June.
  25. Bruce, Donald, 2002. "Taxes and Entrepreneurial Endurance: Evidence From the Self-Employed," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(1), pages 5-24, March.
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