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Tax Reforms and Intertemporal Shifting of Wage Income: Evidence from Danish Monthly Payroll Records

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  • Kreiner, Claus Thustrup
  • Leth-Petersen, Søren
  • Skov, Peer Ebbesen

Abstract

Intertemporal shifting of wage income takes place when income earned in one tax year is paid out in another tax year in order to save taxes. Shifting has implications for the evaluation of the distortionary and distributional effects of taxes and may cause serious bias in empirical estimates of the elasticity of taxable income (ETI) for use in policy analysis. Based on new monthly payroll records for the universe of Danish employees we provide evidence of widespread intertemporal shifting of wage income in response to a tax reform that significantly reduced the marginal tax rates for 1/4 of all employees. Ignoring shifting, we estimate the overall ETI to be 0.1 and find that the ETI is increasing in the earnings level. After controlling for shifting, we obtain negligible ETI estimates at all earnings levels. We show that shifting is concentrated on few individuals spread out evenly across industry sectors, and we provide evidence suggesting that tax salience, liquidity constraints and firm willingness to cooperate in shifting are important factors in explaining shifting behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Leth-Petersen, Søren & Skov, Peer Ebbesen, 2013. "Tax Reforms and Intertemporal Shifting of Wage Income: Evidence from Danish Monthly Payroll Records," CEPR Discussion Papers 9697, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9697
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Leth-Petersen, Søren & Skov, Peer Ebbesen, 2017. "Pension saving responses to anticipated tax changes: Evidence from monthly pension contribution records," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 104-107.
    2. Paetzold, Jörg & Winner, Hannes, 2016. "Taking the high road? Compliance with commuter tax allowances and the role of evasion spillovers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 1-14.
    3. Neisser, Carina, 2017. "The elasticity of taxable income: A meta-regression analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-032, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    4. Claus Thustrup Kreiner & S?ren Leth-Petersen & Peer Ebbesen Skov, 2014. "Year-End Tax Planning of Top Management: Evidence from High-Frequency Payroll Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 154-158, May.
    5. Stuart Adam & James Browne & David Phillips & Barra Roantree, 2017. "Frictions and taxpayer responses: evidence from bunching at personal tax thresholds," IFS Working Papers W17/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    6. Annette Alstadsæter & Martin Jacob, 2013. "Who Participates in Tax Avoidance?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4219, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. repec:nbr:nberch:13470 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Neisser, Carina, 2018. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income: A Meta-Regression Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 11958, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Labanca, Claudio & Pozzoli, Dario, 2018. "Coordination of Hours within the Firm," IZA Discussion Papers 12062, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Kreiner, Claus T. & Reck, Daniel & Skov, Peer Ebbesen, 2017. "Do Lower Minimum Wages for Young Workers Raise their Employment? Evidence from a Danish Discontinuity," CEPR Discussion Papers 12539, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2014. "Sufficient Statistic or Not? The Elasticity of Taxable Income in the Presence of Deduction Possibilities," IZA Discussion Papers 8554, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2016. "The elasticity of taxable income and income-shifting: what is “real” and what is not?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(4), pages 640-669, August.
    13. Søren Leth-Petersen & Peer Ebbesen Skov, 2014. "Does the marginal tax rate affect activity in the informal sector?," Study Papers 64, Rockwool Foundation Research Unit.
    14. Carina Neisser, 2017. "The elasticity of taxable income: A meta-regression analysis," Working Papers 2017/10, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    15. repec:eee:pubeco:v:151:y:2017:i:c:p:41-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Marianne Simonsen & Lars Skipper & Niels Skipper, 2017. "Piling Pills? Forward-Looking Behavior and Stockpiling of Prescription Drugs," Economics Working Papers 2017-08, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    17. Aspen Gorry & R. Glenn Hubbard & Aparna Mathur, 2018. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income in the Presence of Intertemporal Income Shifting," NBER Working Papers 24531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Philipp Doerrenberg & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2017. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income in the Presence of Deduction Possibilities," NBER Chapters,in: Personal Income Taxation and Household Behavior (TAPES) National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    elasticity of taxable income; income shifting; monthly payroll records;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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