Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics

No 15-2004: Must losing taxes on saving be harmful?

Harry Huizinga and Søren Bo Nielsen
Additional contact information
Harry Huizinga: Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Solbjerg Plads 3 C, 5. sal, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Søren Bo Nielsen: Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Solbjerg Plads 3 C, 5. sal, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Abstract: Internationalization offers enhanced opportunities for individuals to place savings abroad and evade domestic saving taxation. This paper asks whether the concomi- tant loss of saving taxation necessarily is harmful. To this end we construct a model of many symmetric countries in which public goods are financed by taxes on saving and investment. There is international cross-ownership of firms, and countries are assumed to be unable to tax away pure profits. Countries then face an incentive to impose a rather high investment tax also borne by foreigners. In this setting, the loss of the saving tax instrument on account of international tax evasion may prevent the overall saving-investment tax wedge from becoming too high, and hence may be beneficial for moderate preferences for public goods. A world with 'high-spending' governments, in contrast, is made worse off by the loss of saving taxes,and hence stands to gain from international cooperation to restore saving taxation.

Keywords: Capital income taxation; cross-ownership; coordination

JEL-codes: H21; H87

29 pages, May 5, 2004

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