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Feng Wei and Jean-François Wen
Presumptive income taxes in the form of a tax on turnover for SMEs are pervasive as a way to reduce the costs of compliance and administration. We analyze a model where entrepreneurs allocate labor to the formal and informal sectors. Formal sector income is subjected either to a corporate income tax or a tax on turnover, depending on whether their turnover exceeds a threshold. We characterize the private sector equilibrium for any given configuration of tax policy parameters (corporate income tax rate, turnover tax rate, and threshold). Given private behavior, social welfare is optimized. We interpret the first-order conditions for welfare maximization to identify the key margins and then simulate a calibrated version of the model.
Mr. David Amaglobeli, Mr. Valerio Crispolti, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Pooja Karnane, and Florian Misch
This paper describes a new, comprehensive database of tax policy measures in 23 advanced and emerging market economies over the last four decades. We extract this information from more than 900 OECD Economic Surveys and 37,000 tax-related news from the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation using text-mining techniques. The innovation of this dataset lies in its granularity: changes in the rates and bases of personal and corporate income taxes, value added and sale taxes, social security contributions, excise, and property taxes are systematically documented. In addition, the database provides information on the announcement and implementation dates, whether the measures represent major changes, are part of a broader tax package, and phased in over several years. The paper also presents a range of stylized facts suggesting that information from this database is useful to deepen the analysis of tax policy changes for research and policy purposes.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper considers features of the Luxembourg tax system that may be susceptible to changes in international tax transparency standards and surveys related policy options. Luxembourg’s predictable and generally low-rate tax system has helped establish it as a leading financial and commercial entrepôt and has supported its fiscal revenues. Its revenue base could, however, be susceptible to changes in the European Union and global tax environment. This paper highlights that to address potential challenges to Luxembourg’s revenue base, the tax policy review should explore selective rate increases and base broadening measures. Moreover, the tax practices should seek to avoid encouraging unnecessary complexity in corporate ownership structures and intragroup financial contracts.
International Monetary Fund
Germany’s economic growth and recovery from the global crisis are explained in this study. Tax, education, and innovation policies are specific measures supported by the authorities. External and financial shocks received by Germany and other outward spillovers are outlined. Germany has a high current account and international assets. From a long-term perspective, rebalancing of public finances to promote growth is desirable. Stress tests are conducted to confirm the capital buffers. Finally, the banking system of Germany reflects significant policy measures and economic recovery.
Ruud A. de Mooij
Although the empirical literature has long struggled to identify the impact of taxes on corporate financial structure, a recent boom in studies offers ample support for the debt bias of taxation. Yet, studies differ considerably in effect size and reveal an equally large variety in methodologies and specifications. This paper sheds light on this variation and assesses the systematic impact on the size of the effects. We find that, typically, a one percentage point higher tax rate increases the debt-asset ratio by between 0.17 and 0.28. Responses are increasing over time, which suggests that debt bias distortions have become more important.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper analyzes Portugal’s export performance in 2006 and assesses whether it might augur a sustained recovery. The paper examines the factors underlying the recent export rebound, and searches for signs of fundamental changes in structures of the export industries during the last decade. It highlights the importance of labor market flexibility. Using a four-country version of the IMF Global Economic Model, the paper attempts to illustrate the benefits of labor market reform to help close the competitiveness gap.
International Monetary Fund
This paper describes how growing economic integration within the European Community increases the scope for any one EC country to impose adverse externalities on other member countries by manipulating its capital income taxes. After examining several alternatives to concerted tax harmonization, the paper concludes that there is a need to harmonize capital income taxes within the EC as the Community moves toward a unified market with free capital movements and fixed nominal exchange rates. The harmonization process could start by agreeing on the tax base, followed by setting minimum statutory rates.