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Optimal Taxes on Wealth and Consumption in the Presence of Tax Evasion

  • Johann K. Brunner
  • Susanne Pech
  • Paul Eckerstorfer

This article incorporates tax evasion into an optimum taxation framework with individuals differing in earning abilities and initial wealth. We find that despite the possibility of its evasion a tax on initial wealth should supplement the optimal nonlinear income tax, given a positive correlation between initial wealth and earning abilities. Further, even if income and initial wealth are taxed optimally, it is still desirable to levy a tax on commodities, though it can be evaded as well. Thus, our result provides a rationale for a comprehensive tax system. Optimal tax rates on commodities differ in general, however for the special case of a uniform evasion technology it turns out that equal rates are optimal if preferences are homothetic and weakly separable.

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Paper provided by The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series NRN working papers with number 2010-03.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2010_03
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  1. Chetty, Nadarajan, 2009. "Is the Taxable Income Elasticity Sufficient to Calculate Deadweight Loss? The Implications of Evasion and Avoidance," Scholarly Articles 9748527, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
  3. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre & ROCHET, Jean-Charles, . "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1700, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  5. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2001. "Direct versus Indirect Taxation: The Design of the Tax Structure Revisted," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(3), pages 781-99, August.
  6. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
  7. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-73, August.
  8. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2008. "Optimum Taxation of Inheritances," CESifo Working Paper Series 2319, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. repec:att:wimass:9610 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1973. "A note on optimum tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 265-270, July.
  11. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2011. "Optimal taxation of wealth transfers when bequests are motivated by joy of giving," Economics working papers 2011-12, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  12. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1996. "Tax evasion and the optimum general income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 235-249, May.
  13. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  14. Usher, Dan, 1986. "Tax Evasion and the Marginal Cost of Public Funds," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(4), pages 563-86, October.
  15. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
  16. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. " Redistribution with Unobservable Bequests: A Case for Taxing Capital Income," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(2), pages 253-67, June.
  17. Deaton, Angus, 1979. "Optimally uniform commodity taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 357-361.
  18. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1993. "Tax evasion and optimal commodity taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 261-275, February.
  19. Pierre Pestieau & Uri M. Possen & Steven M. Slutsky, 2004. "Jointly Optimal Taxes and Enforcement Policies in Response to Tax Evasion," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 6(2), pages 337-374, 05.
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