What determines the level of local business property taxes?
Conventional economic theory intuitively holds that local business property taxes, which account for over one-third of the state and local taxes that firms pay, should be efficiently structured in order to recover the exact cost of providing public services to these firms. However, this conceptual thinking does not accord with observed geographic and over-time variation in business taxation. To better explain these discrepancies, the author develops an alternative theoretical model with heterogeneous firms, some of which are more profitable than others in certain locations. This model more precisely captures observed business tax revenues and its implications are empirically tested using a nationally-representative database of effective tax rates for commercial property and owner-occupied housing. The alternative model better reflects the political and policy tradeoffs that local government officials face between balancing the need for government revenue while maintaining an attractive profit-making environment for businesses and attracting firms that will supply jobs for their constituents.
AUTHORS: Merriman, David
Estimating the Tax and Credit-Event Risk Components of Credit Spreads
This paper argues that tax liabilities explain a large fraction of observed short-maturity investment-grade (IG) spreads, but credit-event premia do not. First, we extend Duffie and Lando (2001) by permitting management to issue both debt and equity. Rather than defaulting, managers of IG firms who receive bad private signals conceal this information and service existing debt via new debt issuance. Consistent with empirical observation, this strategy implies that IG firms have virtually zero credit-event risk (at least until they become ?fallen angels"). Second, we provide empirical evidence that short maturity IG spreads are mostly due to taxes. By properly accounting for the tax treatment of capital gains and interest income associated with bond investments, we reconcile this finding with the previous literature which argues against a significant tax component to spreads.
AUTHORS: Benzoni, Luca; Goldstein, Robert S.
Targeted business incentives and the debt behavior of households
The empirical effects of place-based tax incentive schemes designed to aid low-income communities are unclear. While a growing number of studies find beneficial effects on employment, there is little investigation into other behaviors of households affected by such programs. We analyze the impact of the Texas Enterprise Zone Program on household debt and delinquency. Specifically, we utilize detailed information on all household liabilities, delinquencies, and credit scores from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax, a quarterly longitudinal 5% random sample of all individuals in the US with a social security number and a credit report. We identify the causal effect of the program by using a sharp regression discontinuity approach that exploits the known institutional rules of the program. We find a modest positive impact on the repayment of retail loans, and the evidence of an increase in the delinquency rates of auto loans, as well as in Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.
AUTHORS: Millimet, Daniel; Di, Wenhua
The Dynamic Effects of Personal and Corporate Income Tax Changes in the United States: Reply to Jentsch and Lunsford
In this reply to a comment by Jentsch and Lunsford, we show that, when focusing on the relevant impulse responses, the evidence for economic and statistically significant macroeconomic effects of tax changes in Mertens and Ravn (2013) remains present for a range of asymptotically valid inference methods.
AUTHORS: Mertens, Karel; Ravn, Morten O.
Openness and the Optimal Taxation of Foreign Know-How
Developing countries frequently offer tax incentives and even subsidize the entry and operation of foreign firms. I examine the optimality of such policies in an economy where growth is driven by entrepreneurial know-how, a skill that is continuously updated on the basis of the productive ideas implemented in the country. Openness allows foreign ideas to disseminate inside a country and can foster the country's domestic accumulation of know- how. With externalities, however, laissez-faire openness is suboptimal and can be growth-and even welfare-reducing. I examine the gains from openness under an optimal taxation program the self-funding taxes on domestic and foreign firms that maximize the welfare of the recipient country, subject to the equilibrium behavior of national and foreign firms. Under optimal taxation, openness is always welfare enhancing and leads lagging countries to catch up with the world frontier. Yet, a country may want to subsidize the entry of foreign firms only if it can also subsidize the domestic accumulation of know-how. I also consider the optimal tax program under a number of restrictions that developing countries typically face. For instance, a country must not subsidize entry of foreign firms if doing so requires taxing the concurrent cohort of domestic firms. Similarly, an international agreement that requires equal taxation of domestic and foreign firms can be welfare reducing for a country close to the knowledge frontier.
AUTHORS: Monge-Naranjo, Alexander
Capital Gains Taxation and Investment Dynamics
This paper quantifies the long-run effects of reducing capital gains taxes on aggregate investment. We develop a dynamic general equilibrium model with heterogeneous firms, which face discrete capital gains tax rates based on firm size. We calibrate our model by targeting micro moments and a difference-in-differences estimate of the capital stock response based on the institutional setting and policy reform in Korea. We find that the reform that reduced the capital gains tax rates for a subset of firms substantially increased investment in the short run, and capturing general equilibrium price responses is important to quantify the long-run aggregate outcomes.
AUTHORS: Moon, Terry S.; Hong, Sungki
Capital Gains Taxation and Investment Dynamics
This paper quanti?es the long-run effects of reducing capital gains taxes on aggregate investment. We develop a dynamic general equilibrium model with heterogeneous ?rms, which face discrete capital gains tax rates based on their ?rm size. We calibrate our model by targeting relevant micro moments as well as the difference-in-differences estimate of the capital elasticity based on the institutional setting and a policy reform in Korea. We ?nd that the ?rm-size reform that reduced the capital gains tax rates from 24 percent to 10 percent for the affected ?rms increased aggregate investment by 2.6 percent and 1.7 percent in the short-run and in the steady state, respectively. Additionally, in a counter factual analysis where we set the uniformly low tax rate of 10 percent, the aggregate investment rose by 6.8 percent in the long-run. Taken together, our ?ndings suggest that reducing capital gains tax rates would substantially increase investment in the short-term, and accounting for dynamic and general equilibrium responses is important for understanding the aggregate effects of capital gains taxes.
AUTHORS: Hong, Sungki; Moon, Terry S.
Corporate income tax, legal form of organization, and employment
We adopt a dynamic stochastic occupational choice model with heterogeneous agents and evaluate the impact of a potential reduction in the corporate income tax on employment. We show that a reduction in corporate income tax leads to moderate job creation. In the extreme case, the elimination of the corporate income tax would reduce the non-employed population by 5.4 percent. In the model, a reduction in the corporate income tax creates jobs through two channels, one from new entry firms and one from existing firms changing their form of legal organization. In particular, the latter accounts for 85.7 percent of the new jobs created.
AUTHORS: Qi, Shi; Chen, Daphne; Schlagenhauf, Don E.
The Macroeconomic Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
This paper studies the macroeconomic effects of seven key TCJA provisions, including the tax cuts for individuals and businesses, the bonus depreciation of equipment, the amortization of R&D expenses, and the limits on interest deductibility. I use a dynamic general equilibrium model with interest deductibility and accelerated depreciation. I find that, initially, the tax reform had a small positive impact on output and investment. In the medium term, however, the effect on output will diminish, and the effect on investment will turn negative. The tax reform will depress investment in R&D. Government debt will surge.
AUTHORS: Occhino, Filippo
International Transfer Pricing and Tax Avoidance : Evidence from Linked Trade-Tax Statistics in the UK
This paper employs unique data on export transactions and corporate tax returns of UK multinational firms and finds that firms manipulate their transfer prices to shift profits to lower-taxed destinations. It uncovers three new findings on tax-motivated transfer mispricing in real goods. First, transfer mispricing increases substantially when taxation of foreign profits changes from a worldwide to a territorial approach in the UK, with multinationals shifting more profits into low-tax jurisdictions. Second, transfer mispricing increases with a firm's R&D intensity. Third, tax-motivated transfer mispricing is concentrated in countries that are not tax havens and have low-to-medium-level corporate tax rates.
AUTHORS: Schmidt-Eisenlohr, Tim; Liu, Li; Guo, Dongxian