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VAT notches

Author

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  • Li Liu

    (Centre for Business Taxation, University of Oxford)

  • Ben Lockwood

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

We develop a conceptual framework which captures the effect of the VAT system on profit by two effective taxes. This allows (i) predictions of the determinants of voluntary registration and bunching at the registration threshold; (ii) develops a formula for estimating the elasticity of value-added with respect to the statutory tax. We show that the marginal excess burden of the tax on suppliers is measured by this elasticity, extending Feldstein's analysis of the elasticity of taxable income to an indirect tax setting. We bring the theory to the data, using linked administrative VAT and corporation tax records in the UK from 2004-2009. Consistently with the theory, voluntary registration is positively related to the intensity of input use and negatively related to the share of B2C transactions. There is bunching at the VAT threshold, and the amount of bunching is negatively related to the intensity of input use and positively related to the share of B2C transactions, again consistently with the theory. We provide an estimate of the elasticity of the VAT tax base in the range of 0.09 and 0.18.

Suggested Citation

  • Li Liu & Ben Lockwood, 2015. "VAT notches," Working Papers 1506, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  • Handle: RePEc:btx:wpaper:1506
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rauhanen, Timo & Harju, Jarkko & Matikka, Tuomas, 2016. "The effects of size-based regulation on small firms: evidence from VAT threshold," Working Papers 75, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Asatryan, Zareh & Peichl, Andreas, 2016. "Responses of firms to tax, administrative and accounting rules: Evidence from Armenia," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-065, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    3. Bognetti, Giuseppe & Santoni, Michele, 2016. "Increasing the substitution elasticity can improve VAT compliance and social welfare," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 293-307.

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    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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