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Capital gains taxes and asset prices: The impact of tax awareness and procrastination

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  • Eichfelder, Sebastian
  • Lau, Mona

Abstract

We argue that the impact of capital gains taxation on asset pricing depends on the tax awareness of market participants. While institutional investors should be generally well-informed about tax regulations, private investors have only limited tax knowledge and resources. As a result, market reactions on tax law changes may be delayed if a considerable fraction of market participants is not fully tax-aware. In line with our argument, we find evidence that the introduction of a previously announced German flat tax on private capital gains in 2009 resulted in a temporarily strong and significant increase of trading volumes, daily returns and asset prices. Our research implies that tax law changes provide an opportunity for well-informed investors to generate arbitrage benefits. Corresponding to our estimate, the capital gains tax resulted in an increase demand for shares of 160 % as well as in an price surplus of about 7.4 % within the last two trading days 2008.

Suggested Citation

  • Eichfelder, Sebastian & Lau, Mona, 2014. "Capital gains taxes and asset prices: The impact of tax awareness and procrastination," Discussion Papers 2014/17, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:201417
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eichfelder, Sebastian & Lau, Mona, 2015. "Capitalization of capital gains taxes: (In)attention and turn-of-the-year returns," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 195, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    2. Sebastian Eichfelder & Mona Lau, 2015. "Capitalization of capital gains taxes: (In)attention and turn-of-the-year returns," FEMM Working Papers 150019, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    3. Eichfelder, Sebastian & Lau, Mona, 2015. "Capitalization of capital gains taxes: (In)attention and turn-of-the-year returns," Discussion Papers 2015/33, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    capital gains tax; asset pricing; tax awareness; tax arbitrage;

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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