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Fundamental Tax Reform in The Netherlands

  • Sijbren Cnossen
  • Lans Bovenberg

The Dutch Parliament has passed legislation for a new income tax that abolishes the current tax on personal capital income and substitutes it by a presumptive capital income tax, which is in fact a net wealth tax. This paper contrasts this wealth tax with a conventional realization-based capital gains tax, a retrospective capital gains tax which attempts to charge interest on the deferred tax, and a capital accretion tax which taxes capital gains as they accrue. None of the approaches meets all criteria for a 'good' income tax, i.e., equity, efficiency, and administrative feasibility. We thus conclude that the effective and neutral taxation of capital income can best be ensured through a combination of (a) a capital accretion tax to capture the returns on easy-to-value financial products, (b) a capital gains tax with interest to tax the returns on hard-to-value real estate and small businesses, and (c) a broad presumptive capital income tax, i.e., a net wealth tax, to account for the utility of holding wealth. We favor uniform and moderate proportional tax rates in the context of a dual income tax under which capital income is taxed separately from labor income.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 342.

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Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_342
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  1. Alan A. Auerbach & David F. Bradford, 2001. "Generalized Cash Flow Taxation," NBER Working Papers 8122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David F. Bradford, 1996. "Fixing Capital Gains: Symmetry, Consistency and Correctness in the Taxation of Financial Instruments," NBER Working Papers 5754, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bovenberg, A.L. & Ter Rele, H.J.M., 1998. "Reforming Dutch capital taxation," Other publications TiSEM f4e7e5f8-be95-4d55-a903-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  4. Alan J. Auerbach, 1988. "Capital Gains Taxation in the United States: Realizations, Revenue, and Rhetoric," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 595-638.
  5. Auerbach, Alan J, 1991. "Retrospective Capital Gains Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 167-78, March.
  6. Alan J. Auerbach, 1988. "The Deadweight Loss from `Non-Neutral' Capital Income Taxation," NBER Working Papers 2510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Peter Sørensen, 1994. "From the global income tax to the dual income tax: Recent tax reforms in the Nordic countries," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 57-79, February.
  8. Gerald E. Auten & Joseph J. Cordes, 1991. "Policy Watch: Cutting Capital Gains Taxes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 181-192, Winter.
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