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Efficiency Effects of Tax Deductions for Work-Related Expenses

  • Wolfram F. Richter

In this paper it is shown that allowing the deduction of work-related expenses has a strictly positive effect on tax efficiency only if two conditions hold jointly: (i) The expenses should be interpretable as real cost and (ii) the expenses should be required for increasing taxable income. Otherwise deductions are inefficient, neutral or ambiguous. Thus it is argued that the cost of commuting to work should not be deductible as commuting does not increase taxable income. The efficiency enhancing effect of deducting other expenses like educational ones or expenses for housework and child care is challenged on the grounds that these expenses are largely pecuniary costs.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2004/wp-cesifo-2004-10/cesifo1_wp1311.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1311.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1311
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  1. Lans Bovenberg, A. & Jacobs, Bas, 2005. "Redistribution and education subsidies are Siamese twins," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2005-2035, December.
  2. Pio Baake & Rainald Borck & Andreas Löffler, 2004. "Complexity and Progressivity in Income Tax Design: Deductions for Work-Related Expenses," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 409, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Wrede, Matthias, 2001. "Should Commuting Expenses Be Tax Deductible? A Welfare Analysis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 80-99, January.
  5. Trostel, Philip A, 1993. "The Effect of Taxation on Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 327-50, April.
  6. Julie Hope & Paul Miller, 1988. "Financing Tertiary Education: An Examination of the Issues," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 21(4), pages 37-57.
  7. Homburg, Stefan, 2010. "Allgemeine Steuerlehre," EconStor Books, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, number 92547.
  8. Sandmo, Agnar, 1990. "Tax Distortions and Household Production," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 78-90, January.
  9. Matthias Wrede, 2000. "Tax Deductibility of Commuting Expenses and Leisures: On the Tax Treatment of Time-Saving Expenditure," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(2), pages 216-, March.
  10. Hoyt, William H., 1991. "Competitive jurisdictions, congestion, and the Henry George Theorem : When should property be taxed instead of land?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 351-370, November.
  11. Baldry, Jonathan, 1998. "Income Tax Deductions for Work-Related Expenses: The Rationale Examined," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 45-57, March.
  12. Brueckner, Jan K., 2005. "Transport subsidies, system choice, and urban sprawl," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 715-733, November.
  13. Nerlove, Marc & Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & von Weizsacker, Robert K., 1993. "Comprehensive income taxation, investments in human and physical capital, and productivity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 397-406, March.
  14. Judd, Kenneth L, 1998. "Taxes, Uncertainty, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 289-92, May.
  15. Nielsen, Soren Bo & Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1997. "On the optimality of the Nordic system of dual income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 311-329, February.
  16. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Roubini, Nouriel, 1998. "On the taxation of human and physical capital in models of endogenous growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 237-254, November.
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