Tax Treatment of Dividends and Capital Gains and the Dividend Decision Under Dual Income Tax
The paper analyses efficiency aspects of a dual income tax system with a higher tax on capital gains than dividends. It argues that apart from the distortions to investments claimed in earlier literature, the system puts even more emphasis in creating incentives for entrepreneurs to participate in tax planning. The paper suggests that the owner of a closely held company can avoid all personal taxes on entrepreneurial income by two tax-planning strategies. The first is the avoidance of distributions, which would be taxed at the tax rate on labour income. These funds would instead be invested in the financial markets. The second strategy is a distribute-and-call-back policy, converting retained profits into new equity capital. Interestingly, the outcome is that investment in real capital is not distorted in the long-run equilibrium. Empirical evidence using micro data is also provided.
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