The Effects of Tax Evasion on the Choice between Personal and Corporate Income Taxation
This article analyzes the relative choice between different tax tools burdening corporate incomes or dividends at the personal level in open economies where tax evasion, both corporate and personal, is not null. A theoretical discussion explains why a government may decide to levy a positive corporate income tax even when capital is internationally mobile while shareholders are immobile. Since tax auditing may be more effective on corporate incomes rather than on personal incomes, a benevolent or malevolent government may face a trade-off between reducing available capital supply and reducing total taxation revenues. The intuition is then submitted to empirical test using panel data from twenty-eight Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The results hint at a possible role for tax evasion in explaining why some countries prefer to tax corporate incomes rather than dividends and capital gains under personal taxation.
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