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The Asset Price Incidence of Capital Gains Taxes: Evidence from the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 and Publicly-Traded Real Estate Firms

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  • Todd Sinai
  • Joseph Gyourko

Abstract

We provide new evidence that corporate-level investment subsidies can be substantially capitalized into asset prices by examining the relative stock price performance of publicly traded companies in the real estate industry that should have been differentially affected by the capital gains tax rate reduction enacted in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. By comparing real estate firms that have an organizational structure that allow property sellers to defer capital gains taxes and plan to use it to acquire property with those that do not, we isolate the effect of the tax cut from industry trends and firm-level heterogeneity. When we examine the time period surrounding the reduction in the capital gains tax rate, our results suggest the tax change was substantially capitalized into lower share prices for these firms and that the benefit of the seller's capital gains tax deferral accrued mainly to the buyer of an appreciated property. The validity of our estimation strategy is supported by further tests showing that these firms did not experience any relative movement in share prices during the previous year when capital gains tax rates did not change.

Suggested Citation

  • Todd Sinai & Joseph Gyourko, 2000. "The Asset Price Incidence of Capital Gains Taxes: Evidence from the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 and Publicly-Traded Real Estate Firms," NBER Working Papers 7893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7893
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1983. "Some aspects of the taxation of capital gains," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 257-294, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Han, Bing, 2004. "Insider Ownership and Corporate Value: Evidences from Real Estate Investment Trust," Working Paper Series 2004-1, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    2. Schneider, Georg & Sureth, Caren, 2010. "The impact of profit taxation on capitalized investment with options to delay and divest," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 97, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    3. Ebrahim, M. Shahid & Mathur, Ike, 2013. "On the efficiency of the UPREIT organizational form: Implications for the subprime crisis and CDO's," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 286-305.
    4. Knight*, Brian, 2007. "Are policy platforms capitalized into equity prices? Evidence from the Bush/Gore 2000 Presidential Election," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 389-409, February.
    5. Bing Han, 2006. "Insider Ownership and Firm Value: Evidence from Real Estate Investment Trusts," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 471-493, June.
    6. Barclay, Michael J. & Heitzman, Shane M. & Smith, Clifford W., 2013. "Debt and taxes: Evidence from the real estate industry," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 74-93.
    7. Niemann, Rainer & Sureth, Caren, 2009. "Investment effects of capital gains taxation under simultaneous investment and abandonment flexibility," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 77, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    8. Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio, 2015. "Fear of Obama: An empirical study of the demand for guns and the U.S. 2008 presidential election," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 66-79.
    9. William M. Gentry & Christopher J. Mayer, 2003. "What Can We Learn About the Sensitivity of Investment to Stock Prices with a Better Measure of Tobin's q?," Department of Economics Working Papers 2003-03, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    10. Cunningham, Christopher R. & Engelhardt, Gary V., 2008. "Housing capital-gains taxation and homeowner mobility: Evidence from the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 803-815, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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