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Taxing our wealth


Scheuer, Florian; Slemrod, Joel (2021). Taxing our wealth. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 35(1):207-230.

Abstract

This paper evaluates proposals for an annual wealth tax. While a dozen OECD countries levied wealth taxes in the recent past, now only three retain them, with only Switzerland raising a comparable fraction of revenue as recent proposals for a US wealth tax. Studies of these taxes sometimes, but not always, find a substantial behavioral response, including of saving, portfolio change, avoidance, and evasion, and the impact depends crucially on design features, especially the broadness of the base and enforcement provisions. Because the US proposals are very different from any previous wealth tax, experience in other countries offers only broad lessons, but we can gain insights from closely related taxes, such as the property and the estate tax, and from optimal tax analysis of the role of wealth taxation.

Abstract

This paper evaluates proposals for an annual wealth tax. While a dozen OECD countries levied wealth taxes in the recent past, now only three retain them, with only Switzerland raising a comparable fraction of revenue as recent proposals for a US wealth tax. Studies of these taxes sometimes, but not always, find a substantial behavioral response, including of saving, portfolio change, avoidance, and evasion, and the impact depends crucially on design features, especially the broadness of the base and enforcement provisions. Because the US proposals are very different from any previous wealth tax, experience in other countries offers only broad lessons, but we can gain insights from closely related taxes, such as the property and the estate tax, and from optimal tax analysis of the role of wealth taxation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Economics and Econometrics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Economics and Econometrics
Language:English
Date:February 2021
Deposited On:25 Aug 2021 10:41
Last Modified:27 Aug 2021 06:46
Publisher:American Economic Association
ISSN:0895-3309
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1257/jep.35.1.207
Related URLs:https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-194114

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