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Cost Benefit Analysis of Presumptive Taxation


  • Shlomo Yitzhaki


The general idea is the following: any tax authority that respects basic human rights has to impose taxes on a base to avoid random and arbitrary taxation. The tax base should be announced prior to the imposition of the tax and therefore, taxpayers are given an advanced warning concerning the tax base. The advanced warning enables the taxpayers to adjust the tax base to the new circumstances so that they can adjust their behavior to the existence of the tax. This adjustment of the tax base by the taxpayer is responsible to the excess burden of the tax. Retroactive taxes, that is taxes imposed on tax bases determined in the past and that, therefore, cannot be changed by the taxpayers are considered as unethical. Although the determination of the tax base is just the first stage in the taxation process- tax liability is determined by applying a rate or a schedule of rates to the base- most of the complications that arise in taxation (and as a result are responsible for administrative and compliance costs) arise in the determination of the tax base.

Suggested Citation

  • Shlomo Yitzhaki, 2007. "Cost Benefit Analysis of Presumptive Taxation," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0714, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0714

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Milka Casanegra de Jantscher & Vito Tanzi, 1987. "Presumptive Income Taxation; Administrative, Efficiency, and Equity Aspects," IMF Working Papers 87/54, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2002. "Trust breeds trust: How taxpayers are treated," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 87-99, July.
    3. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470 Elsevier.
    4. Gordon, Roger & Li, Wei, 2009. "Tax structures in developing countries: Many puzzles and a possible explanation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 855-866, August.
    5. Laurence Jacquet & Bruno Van der Linden, 2006. "The Normative Analysis of Tagging Revisited: Dealing with Stigmatization," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(2), pages 168-198, June.
    6. Alessandro Balestrino & Umberto Galmarini, 2005. "On the Redistributive Properties of Presumptive Taxation," CESifo Working Paper Series 1381, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Stern, Nicholas, 1982. "Optimum taxation with errors in administration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 181-211, March.
    8. Joel Slemrod & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1994. "Analyzing the standard deduction as a presumptive tax," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 1(1), pages 25-34, February.
    9. Efraim Sadka, 1976. "On Income Distribution, Incentive Effects and Optimal Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 261-267.
    10. Richard M. Bird & Sally Wallace, 2003. "Is It Really so Hard to Tax the Hard-to-Tax? The Context and Role of Presumptive Taxes," International Tax Program Papers 0307, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marchese, Carla & Privileggi, Fabio, 2009. "A model of the Italian cut-off system for taxing small businesses," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 127-134, June.

    More about this item


    Cost Benefit Analysis; Presumptive Taxation; administrative cost; compliance cost; tax compliance;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H29 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Other

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