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Dividend taxes and income shifting

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  • Alstadsæter, Annette
  • Jacob, Martin

Abstract

This paper analyzes whether a dividend tax cut for owner-managers of closely held corporations encourages income shifting, income generation, or both. We use rich, micro data from Sweden for the period 2000 - 2011 comprising the entire Swedish population, as well as firmand individual-level data for all owner-managers in closely held corporations, partnerships, and self-employed. We find robust evidence of extensive income shifting across tax bases in response to the 2006 dividend tax cut. Relative to owners of unincorporated businesses, owner-managers of closely held corporations do not increase total income. Instead, they relabel earned income as dividend income. The income shifting effect is stronger for owner-managers with tax incentives and with easier access to income shifting through a high ownership share.

Suggested Citation

  • Alstadsæter, Annette & Jacob, Martin, 2014. "Dividend taxes and income shifting," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 154, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:arqudp:154
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arnold C. Harberger, 1962. "The Incidence of the Corporation Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 215-215.
    2. Jukka Pirttilä & Håkan Selin, 2011. "Income Shifting within a Dual Income Tax System: Evidence from the Finnish Tax Reform of 1993," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(1), pages 120-144, March.
    3. Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Income Creation or Income Shifting? Behavioral Responses to the Tax Reform Act of 1986," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 175-180, May.
    4. Tobias Lindhe & Jan Södersten, 2012. "The Norwegian shareholder tax reconsidered," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(3), pages 424-441, June.
    5. Mikael Apel & Jan Södersten, 1999. "Personal Taxation and Investment Incentives in a Small Open Economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 6(1), pages 79-88, February.
    6. Becker, Bo & Jacob, Marcus & Jacob, Martin, 2013. "Payout taxes and the allocation of investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 1-24.
    7. Jacob, Martin & Alstadsæter, Annette, 2013. "Payout policies of privately held firms: Flexibility and the role of income taxes," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 152, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    8. M. S. Feldstein, 1970. "Corporate Taxation and Dividend Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(1), pages 57-72.
    9. le Maire, Daniel & Schjerning, Bertel, 2013. "Tax bunching, income shifting and self-employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 1-18.
    10. Lee, Young & Gordon, Roger H., 2005. "Tax structure and economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 1027-1043, June.
    11. Erik Fjaerli & Diderik Lund, 2001. "The choice between owner's wages and dividends under the dual income tax," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 104-119, Autumn.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:decono:v:165:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10645-017-9303-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hakan Selin & Laurent Simula, 2017. "Income Creation and/or Income Shifting? The Intensive vs. the Extensive Shifting Margins," Post-Print halshs-01666994, HAL.
    3. Spencer Bastani & Daniel Waldenström, 2018. "How Should Capital be Taxed? Theory and Evidence from Sweden," CESifo Working Paper Series 7004, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:275-293 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Bastani, Spencer & Waldenström, Daniel, 2018. "How Should Capital Be Taxed? Theory and Evidence from Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 11475, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. repec:sae:pubfin:v:46:y:2018:i:4:p:609-634 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Leon Bettendorf & Arjan Lejour & Maarten ’t Riet, 2017. "Tax Bunching by Owners of Small Corporations," De Economist, Springer, vol. 165(4), pages 411-438, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income shifting; income generation; dividend taxes; closely held corporations; owner-managers;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents

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