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Has German Business Income Taxation Raised too Little Revenue over the Last Decades?


  • Stefan Bach


This study presents comprehensive macroeconomic measures on the revenue from business taxation in Germany. A comparison of the tax base reported in tax statistics with the corporate income derived from national accounts gives hints to considerable tax base erosion. The high weight of reported tax losses underlines this result. The average implicit tax rate on corporate income was around 21 percent since 2001, and thus falling considerably short of statutory tax rates and effective tax rates discussed in the literature. For lack of detailed accounting data it is hard to give precise reasons for the presumptive tax base erosion.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Bach, 2013. "Has German Business Income Taxation Raised too Little Revenue over the Last Decades?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1303, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1303

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2006. "Ist Deutschland Hoch- oder Niedrigsteuerland? Der Versuch einer Synthese," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7(1), pages 35-42, February.
    2. Buettner, Thiess & Wamser, Georg, 2013. "Internal Debt and Multinational Profit Shifting: Empirical Evidence From Firm-Level Panel Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 66(1), pages 63-95, March.
    3. Joeri Gorter & Ruud de Mooij, 2001. "Capital income taxation in Europe; trends and trade-offs," CPB Special Publication 30, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    4. Martin Ruf & Alfons J. Weichenrieder, 2012. "The taxation of passive foreign investment: lessons from German experience," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1504-1528, November.
    5. Peter Egger & Simon Loretz & Michael Pfaffermayr & Hannes Winner, 2009. "Firm-specific forward-looking effective tax rates," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(6), pages 850-870, December.
    6. Michael Devereux & Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2004. "Why has the UK corporation tax raised so much revenue?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(4), pages 367-388, December.
    7. Peter Birch Sørensen, 2007. "Can Capital Income Taxes Survive? And Should They?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 53(2), pages 172-228, June.
    8. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2002. "Corporate income tax reforms and international tax competition," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 449-495, October.
    9. Michael Overesch & Georg Wamser, 2010. "Corporate tax planning and thin-capitalization rules: evidence from a quasi-experiment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(5), pages 563-573.
    10. Jost H. Heckemeyer & Christoph Spengel, 2008. "Ausmaß der Gewinnverlagerung multinationaler Unternehmen - empirische Evidenz und Implikationen für die deutsche Steuerpolitik," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(1), pages 37-61, February.
    11. Alfons Weichenrieder, 2009. "Profit shifting in the EU: evidence from Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(3), pages 281-297, June.
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    More about this item


    Business income taxation; implicit tax rates; tax base erosion;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence

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