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The elasticity of taxable income of high earners: Evidence from Hungary

  • Áron Kiss


    (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (central bank of Hungary))

  • Pálma Mosberger


    (Central European University)

The paper studies how high-income taxpayers responded to the introduction of the ‘extraordinary tax on individuals’ in Hungary in 2007. The study is based on a panel of tax returns compiled by the Hungarian Tax Authority for the purposes of this study, containing information on 10 percent of tax-filers from 2005 and three subsequent years. We estimate the elasticity of taxable income with respect to the marginal net-of-tax rate and find that the taxable income of Hungarian high earners is moderately responsive to taxation: the estimated elasticity is about 0.2. This means that if the upper tax rate of the 2010 Hungarian tax system were increased by a small amount, the behavioral response of taxpayers would reduce the additional tax revenue by about 60 percent. We find evidence suggesting that the elasticity is a reflection of a labor supply response to the tax change on the intensive margin, and not a reflection of tax shifting, avoidance or evasion.

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Paper provided by Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary) in its series MNB Working Papers with number 2011/11.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mnb:wpaper:2011/11
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  15. Péter Bakos & Péter Benczúr & Dóra Benedek, 2008. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income: Estimates and Flat Tax Predictions Using the Hungarian Tax Changes in 2005," MNB Working Papers 2008/7, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary).
  16. Seth H. Giertz, 2004. "Recent Literature on Taxable-Income Elasticities: Technical Paper 2004-16," Working Papers 16189, Congressional Budget Office.
  17. Emmanuel Saez & Joel B. Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2009. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 15012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Austan Goolsbee, 2000. "What Happens When You Tax the Rich? Evidence from Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 352-378, April.
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  21. Raj Chetty, 2009. "Is the Taxable Income Elasticity Sufficient to Calculate Deadweight Loss? The Implications of Evasion and Avoidance," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 31-52, August.
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