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Tax loss offset restrictions and biased perception of risky investments

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  • Mehrmann, Annika
  • Sureth-Sloane, Caren

Abstract

We investigate how tax loss offset restrictions affect an investor's evaluation of risky investments under bounded rationality. We analytically identify behavioral tax effects for different levels of loss offset restrictions, tax rate and prospect theoretical biases (loss aversion, probability weighting and reference dependence) and find tax loss offset restrictions significantly bias investor perception, even more heavily than the tax rate. If loss offset restrictions are rather generous, investors are very loss averse or assign a huge weight to loss probabilities, taxation is likely to increase the preference value of risky investments (behavioral tax paradox). Surprisingly, the identified significant perception biases of tax loss offset restrictions occur under both high and low tax rates and thus are relatively insensitive to tax rate changes. Finally, we identify huge differences in behavioral tax effects across countries indicating that tax loss offset restrictions crucially determine the perceived tax quality of a country for risky investments. Our analysis is relevant for policy makers discussing future tax reforms as well as for investors assessing risky investment opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Mehrmann, Annika & Sureth-Sloane, Caren, 2017. "Tax loss offset restrictions and biased perception of risky investments," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 222, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:arqudp:222
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    asymmetric taxation; investment decisions; loss offset restrictions; perception bias; risktaking; tax effects; tax losses; prospect theory; behavioral taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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