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Why is the corporate tax rate lower than the personal tax rate? The role of new firms

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  • Fuest, Clemens
  • Huber, Bernd
  • Nielsen, Søren Bo

Abstract

In many OECD countries, statutory corporate tax rates are lower than personal income tax rates. This tax rate difference is often particularly large for small firms. The present paper argues that a reduction of the corporate tax rate below the personal tax rate is an optimal tax policy if there are problems of asymmetric information between investors and firms in the capital market. The reduction of the corporate tax rate below the personal tax rate encourages equity financing and thus mitigates the excessive use of debt financing induced by asymmetric information. Our main theoretical result stands in marked contrast to the traditional view of corporate taxation and corporate finance theory, according to which there is a tax disadvantage to equity financing. More recent empirical evidence on this issue, however, is in line with our result.

Suggested Citation

  • Fuest, Clemens & Huber, Bernd & Nielsen, Søren Bo, 2003. "Why is the corporate tax rate lower than the personal tax rate? The role of new firms," Munich Reprints in Economics 20327, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20327
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Keuschnigg & Søren Bo Nielsen, 2004. "Taxation and Venture Capital Backed Entrepreneurship," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 11(4), pages 369-390, August.
    2. Michael Pfaffermayr & Matthias Stöckl & Hannes Winner, 2013. "Capital Structure, Corporate Taxation and Firm Age," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 34(1), pages 109-135, March.
    3. Haufler, Andreas & Runkel, Marco, 2012. "Firms' financial choices and thin capitalization rules under corporate tax competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1087-1103.
    4. Alfons J. Weichenrieder & Tina Klautke, 2008. "Taxes and the Efficiency Costs of Capital Distortions," CESifo Working Paper Series 2431, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Tomasz Skica & Tomasz Wo³owiec & Pavel Pavlov, 2014. "Eeconomic Relations Between Personal And Corporate Income Tax," "e-Finanse", University of Information Technology and Management, Institute of Financial Research and Analysis, vol. 10(1), pages 60-68, June.
    6. Christian Keuschnigg & Soren Bo Nielsen, 2003. "Public Taxation and Venture Capital Backed Entrepreneurship," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2003 2003-17, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    7. Christian Keuschnigg, 2008. "Tax Policy for Venture Capital Backed Entrepreneurship," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2008 2008-07, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    8. Vesa Kanniainen & Seppo Kari & Jouko Ylä-Liedenpohja, 2007. "Nordic dual income taxation of entrepreneurs," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(4), pages 407-426, August.
    9. Christian Keuschnigg & Martin Dietz, 2007. "A growth oriented dual income tax," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(2), pages 191-221, April.

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