Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 2013:16: Distortive Effects of Dividend Taxation

Tobias Lindhe () and Jan Södersten ()
Additional contact information
Tobias Lindhe: Uppsala center for fiscal studies, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Jan Södersten: Department of Economics, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: This paper examines how the distortions caused by dividend taxation depend on whether or not shareholders can recover their original equity injections without being subject to the dividend tax. We point out the alternative assumptions in the literature on this, and we compare two different tax regimes, one where it is impossible for the firm to pay cash to its shareholders that is not taxed as dividends, the other where the shareholders are allowed a tax-free return of the original capital contributed through new issues. Our analysis shows that the regimes imply a substantial difference to our perceptions of the distortive effects of dividend taxation.

Keywords: dividend taxation; share repurchases; equity trap; cost of capital; nucleus theory; growth path

JEL-codes: H24; H25; H32

22 pages, September 4, 2013

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