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Do we need tax harmonization in the EU?

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  • Boss, Alfred

Abstract

For many years there have been political intentions to harmonize tax rates in Europe. As to capital income taxation, competition is often seen to be especially harmful. Facing a high degree of international capital mobility, every country is expected to reduce its tax rate in order to attract new capital or not to lose capital allocated in the country ("race to the bottom"). It is shown that the development of capital income tax rates in the European Union (EU) and in other industrialized countries as well as the development of corporate income tax revenues do not indicate that a race to the bottom has taken place. If tax competition should become as fierce as some observers seem to fear, the arguments in favor of tax competition instead of harmonization should be kept in mind. If tax rates are cut in a process of competition, government expenditures have to be reduced; this helps to avoid waste and inefficiencies in the public sector. In addition, tax competition might help to find better tax systems, and every country could learn from the experiences of other countries. In contrast, tax harmonization would probably lead to higher taxes in the EU.

Suggested Citation

  • Boss, Alfred, 1999. "Do we need tax harmonization in the EU?," Kiel Working Papers 916, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:916
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/2268/1/270011943.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Boss, Alfred, 1989. "Steuerharmonisierung und Realisierung des EG-Binnenmarktes," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 1395, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. David Bradford, "undated". "Consumption Taxes: Some Fundamental Transition Issues," EPRU Working Paper Series 95-15, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    3. Gordon, Roger H. & Bo Nielsen, Soren, 1997. "Tax evasion in an open economy:: Value-added vs. income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 173-197, November.
    4. Boss, Alfred, 1989. "Steuerharmonisierung und Realisierung des EG-Binnenmarktes," Wirtschaftsdienst – Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik (1949 - 2007), ZBW – German National Library of Economics / Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 69(5), pages 249-251.
    5. Fehr, Hans & Rosenberg, Christoph & Wiegard, Wolfgang, 1993. "Value-added taxation in the EC after 1992: Some applied general equilibrium calculations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1483-1506, December.
    6. Rimbaux, Eric, 1996. "Marginal Effective Tax Rates in Retrospect: 1970-1995," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 51(1), pages 92-127.
    7. Blankart, Charles Beat, 1996. "Braucht Europa mehr zentralstaatliche Koordination? Einige Bemerkungen zu Hans-Werner Sinn," Wirtschaftsdienst – Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik (1949 - 2007), ZBW – German National Library of Economics / Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 76(2), pages 87-91.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Boss, Alfred, 2003. "Steuerharmonisierung oder Steuerwettbewerb?," Kiel Working Papers 1178, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. repec:pdc:jrnbeh:v:13:y:2017:i:2:p:152-168 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Mara (Nandra), Eugenia Ramona, 2007. "Tax Competition in the European Union – Evidence from Panel Data," MPRA Paper 21082, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2007.
    4. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Lionel Fontagné & Amina Lahrèche-Revil, 2000. "Foreign Direct Investment and the Prospects for Tax Co-Ordination in Europe," Working Papers 2000-06, CEPII research center.
    5. André Fourçans & Thierry Warin, 2001. "Tax Harmonization versus Tax Competition in Europe: A Game Theoretical Approach," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 132, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax competition; tax rate harmonization; value-added taxation in the EU; capital income taxation in the EU;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods

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