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The Impact of Separate Taxation on the Intra-Household Allocation of Assets: Evidence from the UK

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  • Melvin Stephens Jr.
  • Jennifer Ward-Batts

Abstract

The income tax system in the United Kingdom moved from joint to independent taxation of husbands' and wives' income in 1990. One interesting aspect of independent taxation is the ability for households to choose the division of household assets between the two spouses. This tax reform therefore creates an opportunity for households to engage in a form of tax avoidance by shifting their investment income to the spouse with the lower marginal tax rate. We use Family Expenditure Survey data to examine the impact of this tax reform on the magnitude of investment income shifting between spouses with different marginal tax rates. We find a sizeable shift in the share and incidence of asset income claimed by wives, who typically have lower marginal tax rates, as well as in the incidence of the wife claiming all the household asset income, indicating that households responded to this policy change by reallocating asset ownership.

Suggested Citation

  • Melvin Stephens Jr. & Jennifer Ward-Batts, 2001. "The Impact of Separate Taxation on the Intra-Household Allocation of Assets: Evidence from the UK," NBER Working Papers 8380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8380
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    Cited by:

    1. Onji, Kazuki, 2009. "The response of firms to eligibility thresholds: Evidence from the Japanese value-added tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 766-775, June.
    2. Maggie R. Jones & Amy B. O’Hara, 2016. "Do Doubled-Up Families Minimize Household-Level Tax Burden?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 69(3), pages 613-640, September.
    3. Bessho, Shun-ichiro & Hayashi, Masayoshi, 2014. "Intensive margins, extensive margins, and spousal allowances in the Japanese system of personal income taxes: A discrete choice analysis," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 162-178.
    4. Annette Alstadsæter & Martin Jacob, 2013. "Who Participates in Tax Avoidance?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4219, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. LaLumia, Sara, 2008. "The effects of joint taxation of married couples on labor supply and non-wage income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1698-1719, July.
    6. Mizuki Komura, 2013. "Tax reform and endogenous gender bargaining power," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 175-192, June.
    7. Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (ed.), 2007. "Das Erreichte nicht verspielen. Jahresgutachten 2007/08," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 200708.
    8. Andrew Bauer & Alan Macnaughton & Anindya Sen, 2015. "Income splitting and anti-avoidance legislation: evidence from the Canadian “kiddie tax”," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(6), pages 909-931, December.
    9. Rydqvist, Kristian & Schwartz, Steven T. & Spizman, Joshua D., 2014. "The tax benefit of income smoothing," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 78-88.
    10. Alan, Sule & Atalay, Kadir & Crossley, Thomas F. & Jeon, Sung-Hee, 2010. "New evidence on taxes and portfolio choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 813-823, December.
    11. Klara Kaliskova, 2013. "Family Taxation and the Female Labor Supply: Evidence from the Czech Republic," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp496, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    12. Kalíšková, Klára, 2014. "Labor supply consequences of family taxation: Evidence from the Czech Republic," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 234-244.
    13. Rydqvist, Kristian & Schwartz, Steven & Spizman, Joshua, 2011. "The Tax Benefit of Income Smoothing," CEPR Discussion Papers 8425, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Aronsson, Thomas & Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov & Wikström, Magnus, 2001. "Intra-household Tax Avoidance: An Application to Swedish Household Data," Umeå Economic Studies 572, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    15. Sánchez-Mangas, Rocio & Sánchez-Marcos, Virginia, 2008. "Balancing family and work: The effect of cash benefits for working mothers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1127-1142, December.
    16. Gracia, Louise & Oats, Lynne, 2012. "Boundary work and tax regulation: A Bourdieusian view," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 304-321.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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