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Assessment Of Income Distribution And A Hypothetical Flat Tax Reform In Hungary

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  • D�ra Benedek
  • Orsolya Lelkes

Abstract

The paper presents evidence on the effects of taxes and benefits on household incomes in Hungary referring to the 2006 system and a hypothetical flat tax reform. For this, a microsimulation model is used, which is based on a matched sample of an income and a consumption survey and administrative tax records. The Hungarian budget receives more revenues from VAT than from PIT. This has major implications on equity, as while PIT is progressive, VAT is regressive, imposing a higher tax burden on low-income households. We highlight the importance of tax allowances. The absolute amount of total tax allowances tends to increase with income, and the share of allowances within total incomes is around 5-7% in all income groups, except the top fifth, where it declines. Targeting is thus inadequate, and it is especially so in case of child support. Family tax allowance reaches the bottom decile only to a limited extent. This is in sharp contrast with the universal child benefit, which is well targeted to the poorest. The second part explores the likely impact of the introduction of a flat tax, where VAT and PIT rates are set at 20%, and a tax free bracket for low incomes is kept. We show that a budget neutral solution would have a largely regressive effect, where 70% of the population would lose, with a minority on the top of the distribution gaining.

Suggested Citation

  • D�ra Benedek & Orsolya Lelkes, 2008. "Assessment Of Income Distribution And A Hypothetical Flat Tax Reform In Hungary," Journal of Applied Economic Sciences, Spiru Haret University, Faculty of Financial Management and Accounting Craiova, vol. 3(3(5)_Fall), pages 173-186.
  • Handle: RePEc:ush:jaessh:v:3:y:2008:i:3(5)_fall2008:p:173-186
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anna Ivanova & Michael Keen & Alexander Klemm, 2005. "The Russian ‘flat tax’ reform," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 397-444, July.
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    6. Gerry Redmond, 1999. "Incomes, incentives and the growth of means-testing in Hungary," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, pages 77-99.
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    8. Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The desirability of commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation and heterogeneous tastes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 217-230.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michal Horvath & Matus Senaj & Zuzana Siebertova & Norbert Svarda, 2015. "The End of the Flat Tax Experiment in Slovakia," Discussion Papers 15/12, Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. Alari PAULUS & Andreas PEICHL, "undated". "Effects of Flat Tax Reforms in Western Europe on Equity and Efficiency," EcoMod2008 23800105, EcoMod.
    3. Paulus, Alari & Lelkes, Orsolya & Cok, Mitja & Kump, Nataša & Hegedus, Péter & Võrk, Andres & Szivós, Péter & Kralik, Silja, 2009. "Flat tax reform in Eastern Europe: a comparative analysis of alternative scenarios in Estonia, Hungary and Slovenia, using EUROMOD," EUROMOD Working Papers EM9/09, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    4. Paulus, Alari & Peichl, Andreas, 2009. "Effects of flat tax reforms in Western Europe," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 620-636, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax-benefit microsimulation; redistribution; flat tax reform; Hungary;

    JEL classification:

    • C8 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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