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What Is an "Optimal'"Tax System?

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  • Alm, James

Abstract

Argues that previous attempts to derive an "optimal tax system" are largely irrelevant to practical tax design, because they typically ignore a range of considerations reflecting fiscal and societal institutions that are essential elements in the normative and positive analysis of taxation.

Suggested Citation

  • Alm, James, 1996. "What Is an "Optimal'"Tax System?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 49(1), pages 117-133, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:49:y:1996:i:1:p:117-33
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1993. "Tax evasion and optimal commodity taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 261-275, February.
    2. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1987. " The Optimal Size of a Tax Collection Agency," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 89(2), pages 183-192.
    3. Sandmo, Agnar, 1981. "Income tax evasion, labour supply, and the equity--efficiency tradeoff," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 265-288, December.
    4. Kaplow, Louis, 1989. "Horizontal Equity: Measures in Search of a Principle," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(2), pages 139-54, June.
    5. Kesselman, Jonathan R., 1989. "Income tax evasion : An intersectoral analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 137-182, March.
    6. Alm, James & Bahl, Roy & Murray, Matthew N., 1993. "Audit selection and income tax underreporting in the tax compliance game," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-33, October.
    7. Kaplow, Louis, 1990. "Optimal taxation with costly enforcement and evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 221-236, November.
    8. Pitt, Mark M & Slemrod, Joel, 1989. "The Compliance Cost of Itemizing Deductions: Evidence from Individual Tax Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1224-1232, December.
    9. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
    10. Erard, Brian, 1993. "Taxation with representation : An analysis of the role of tax practitioners in tax compliance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 163-197, September.
    11. Mayshar, Joram, 1991. " Taxation with Costly Administration," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(1), pages 75-88.
    12. Slemrod, Joel, 1990. "Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 157-178, Winter.
    13. Wilson, John Douglas, 1989. "On the Optimal Tax Base for Commodity Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1196-1206, December.
    14. Kaplow, Louis, 1989. "Horizontal Equity: Measures in Search of a Principle," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 42(2), pages 139-154, June.
    15. J. Pope & R. Fayle, 1990. "The Compliance Costs Personal Income Taxation in Australia 1968/87: Empirical results," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 90-06, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    16. Stern, Nicholas, 1982. "Optimum income taxation with discrete populations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 131-133, March.
    17. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-373, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. James Alm, 2018. "What are the Costs of a New Tax Administration? The Case of a Personal Income Tax in Kuwait," Working Papers 1804, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    2. Kaplow, Louis, 1996. "How Tax Complexity and Enforcement Affect the Equity and Efficiency of the Income Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 49(1), pages 135-150, March.
    3. Martin Besfamille & Cecilia Parlatore Siritto, 2009. "Modernization of Tax Administrations and Optimal Fiscal Policies," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 11(6), pages 897-926, December.
    4. James Alm, 2018. "Is the Haigā€Simons Standard Dead? The Uneasy Case for a Comprehensive Income Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 71(2), pages 379-398, June.
    5. Goode, Richard, 1997. "The National Tax Journal in 1948-50 and 1994-96," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 50(4), pages 707-718, December.
    6. Engen, Eric M. & Skinner, Jonathan, 1996. "Taxation and Economic Growth," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 49(4), pages 617-642, December.

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