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Indirect Taxation of Financial Services


  • Vidar Christiansen


An important question is whether VAT exemption of financial services is a desirable property or whether it is justified only due to practical and administrative necessity. This paper singles out a number of financial services for discussion of this issue in a context allowing for other taxes and other preexisting distortions. It discusses taxation of intermediation that facilitates savings and borrowing, payment services and currency exchange. It also elaborates on the distortionary effects of taxing intermediate goods due to VAT exemption with focus on exports and consumer prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Vidar Christiansen, 2017. "Indirect Taxation of Financial Services," CESifo Working Paper Series 6675, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6675

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. W. J. Corlett & D. C. Hague, 1953. "Complementarity and the Excess Burden of Taxation," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 21(1), pages 21-30.
    2. Alan J. Auerbach & Roger H. Gordon, 2002. "Taxation of Financial Services under a VAT," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 411-416, May.
    3. Grubert, Harry & Mackie, James B. III, 2000. "Must Financial Services Be Taxed Under a Consumption Tax?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(1), pages 23-40, March.
    4. Michael Keen, 2011. "Rethinking the Taxation of the Financial Sector ," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo Group, vol. 57(1), pages 1-24, March.
    5. Thiess Buettner & Katharina Erbe, 2014. "Revenue and welfare effects of financial sector VAT exemption," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(6), pages 1028-1050, December.
    6. World Bank, 2009. "Pakistan - Tax Policy Report : Tapping Tax Bases for Development - Summary Report," World Bank Publications - Reports 3099, The World Bank Group.
    7. Grubert, Harry & Mackie, James B. III, 2000. "Must Financial Services be Taxed Under a Consumption Tax?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 1), pages 23-40, March.
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    More about this item


    financial services; indirect taxation; value added tax; VAT exemptions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence

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