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Taxing Banks: An Evaluation of the German Bank Levy

Author

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  • Claudia M. Buch
  • Björn Hilberg
  • Lena Tonzer

Abstract

Bank distress can have severe negative consequences for the stability of the financial system, the real economy, and public finances. Regimes for restructuring and restoring banks financed by bank levies and fiscal backstops seek to reduce these costs. Bank levies attempt to internalize systemic risk and increase the costs of leverage. This paper evaluates the effects of the German bank levy implemented in 2011 as part of the German bank restructuring law. Our analysis offers three main insights. First, revenues raised through the bank levy are minimal, because of low tax rates and high thresholds for tax exemptions. Second, the bulk of the payments were contributed by large commercial banks and the head institutes of savings banks and credit unions. Third, the levy had no effect on the volume of loans or interest rates for the average German bank. For the banks affected most by the levy, we find evidence of fewer loans, higher lending rates, and lower deposit rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia M. Buch & Björn Hilberg & Lena Tonzer, 2014. "Taxing Banks: An Evaluation of the German Bank Levy," CESifo Working Paper Series 4704, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4704
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    Cited by:

    1. Josef Schroth, 2016. "Financial Crisis Interventions," Staff Working Papers 16-29, Bank of Canada.
    2. Giacomo Ricotti & Marco Burroni & Vincenzo Cuciniello & Elena Padovani & Elena Pisano & Stefania Zotteri, 2016. "The tax burden on banks over the period 2006-2014," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 314, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Richard M. Bird, 2014. "Global Taxes and International Taxation: Mirage and Reality," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1429, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    4. Reiter, Franz, 2017. "Avoiding Taxes: Banks' Use of Internal Debt," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168115, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Vollmer Uwe, 2015. "‚Stairway to Heaven‘ oder ‚Highway to Hell‘? – Eine Einschätzung der Europäischen Bankenunion / ‚Stairway to Heaven‘ or ‚Highway to Hell‘? – An Evaluation of the European Banking Union," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 66(1), pages 147-174, January.
    6. repec:eee:revfin:v:34:y:2017:i:c:p:10-32 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Kick, Thomas & Celerier, Claire & Ongena, Steven, 2017. "Changes in the Cost of Bank Equity and the Supply of Bank Credit," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168164, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Kogler, Michael, 2016. "On the Incidence of Bank Levies: Theory and Evidence," Economics Working Paper Series 1606, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    9. Haskamp, Ulrich, 2016. "Spillovers of banking regulation: The effect of the German bank levy on the lending rates of regional banks and their local competitors," Ruhr Economic Papers 664, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    10. Manuel Buchholz, 2015. "How effective is macroprudential policy during financial downturns? Evidence from caps on banks̕ leverage," Bank of Estonia Working Papers wp2015-7, Bank of Estonia, revised 30 Dec 2015.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bank levy; bank lending; interest rates; German banks;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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