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Impact of tax rate cut cum base broadening reforms on heterogeneous firms: Learning from the German tax reform 2008


  • Finke, Katharina
  • Heckemeyer, Jost H.
  • Reister, Timo
  • Spengel, Christoph


The German corporate tax reform of 2008 has brought about important cuts in corporate tax rates, which were at the same time accompanied by significant changes in the determination of the tax base for both major German corporate taxes - corporate income tax and trade tax. The reform followed the distinct and internationally prevalent pattern of tax rate cut cum base broadening. Its implications are thus not unique to Germany. Especially in view of the current economic crisis, questions on the distribution of the tax burden among firms of different characteristics have arisen and still remain at the heart of the academic and political debate in Germany and other countries. In this paper we present a new corporate microsimulation model, ZEW TaxCoMM, which allows for the coherent micro-based analysis of revenue implications of tax reforms and the distribution of tax consequences among heterogeneous firms. The model processes firm-level financial accounting input data and derives the firm specific tax base and tax due endogenously in accordance with the tax code. To smooth out distortions between the sample and the population of German corporations, the sample is extrapolated on the basis of the corporate income tax statistic. The simulation results show inter alia that the average annual relief as measured by the average decline in the effective tax burden on cash flow amounts to 2.8 percentage points for large corporations and to 6 percentage points for small corporations. Furthermore, the results illustrate that firms with low profitability, high debt ratio and high capital intensity benefit least from the reform. As to tax revenues, the reform induced decrease amounts to € 9.8 billion and the trade tax gains fiscally in importance.

Suggested Citation

  • Finke, Katharina & Heckemeyer, Jost H. & Reister, Timo & Spengel, Christoph, 2011. "Impact of tax rate cut cum base broadening reforms on heterogeneous firms: Learning from the German tax reform 2008," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-036 [rev.], ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:10036r

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Creedy, John, 2001. "Tax Modelling," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 77(237), pages 189-202, June.
    2. Radulescu, Doina & Stimmelmayr, Michael, 2010. "The impact of the 2008 German corporate tax reform: A dynamic CGE analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 454-467, January.
    3. Filippo Oropallo & Valentino Parisi, 2007. "Will Italy’s Tax Reform Reduce the Corporate Tax Burden? A Microsimulation Analysis," Rivista di statistica ufficiale, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY), vol. 9(1), pages 31-58, march.
    4. Stefan Bach & Hermann Buslei & Nadja Dwenger & Frank Fossen, 2008. "Dokumentation des Mikrosimulationsmodells BizTax zur Unternehmensbesteuerung in Deutschland," Data Documentation 29, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    5. Arntz, Melanie & Boeters, Stefan & Gürtzgen, Nicole & Schubert, Stefanie, 2008. "Analysing welfare reform in a microsimulation-AGE model: The value of disaggregation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 422-439, May.
    6. Peichl, Andreas & Fuest, Clemens & Schaefer, Thilo, 2005. "Dokumentation FiFoSiM: Integriertes Steuer-Transfer-Mikrosimulations- und CGE-Modell," FiFo Discussion Papers - Finanzwissenschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 05-3, University of Cologne, FiFo Institute for Public Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Leszczyłowska, 2016. "Provisions for Future Liabilities and Effective Corporate Income Tax Rate," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 3, pages 57-72.
    2. Finke, Katharina & Heckemeyer, Jost H. & Spengel, Christoph, 2014. "Assessing the impact of introducing an ACE regime: A behavioural corporate microsimulation analysis for Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-033, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Michael Stimmelmayr, 2015. "Investors' Portfolio Choice and Tax Reforms: The 2008 German Corporate Tax Reform Reconsidered," CESifo Working Paper Series 5311, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Wagner, Julia, 2015. "EBITDA-Vortrag - cui bono? Eine Gesetzesevaluation auf Basis einer Mikrosimulation," Discussion Papers 2015/31, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    5. Spengel, Christoph & Lazar, Sebastian & Evers, Lisa & Zinn, Benedikt, 2012. "Romania's development to a low-tax country: Effective corporate tax burden in Romania from 1992 to 2010 and Romania's current ranking among the eastern European member states," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-003, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (ed.), 2015. "Zukunftsfähigkeit in den Mittelpunkt. Jahresgutachten 2015/16," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201516.

    More about this item


    Tax reform; microsimulation; tax policy evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law
    • C8 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs

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