Monday, March 12, 2012

(How) Should we tax capital?

Dan Shaviro on Ed Kleinbard's "The Sorry State of Capital Income Taxation":
...a key reason for reading it is to learn (or remind oneself) about the BEIT [business enterprise income tax], which is not just a corporate integration proposal but a comprehensive plan to address how capital income is taxed under U.S. law. It would get rid of numerous formal distortions under current law (e.g., corporate vs. non-corporate and debt versus equity). In addition, it would convert the entity-level corporate tax into the equivalent of a cash-flow consumption tax, while reserving actual income taxation (in the sense of taxing the pure return to waiting) for application at the individual level.
And this is interesting:
Final question (for extra credit): Why does the corporate part of the BEIT work better than the individual part, so far as realization timing is concerned? The answer, of course, is that the corporate part is a consumption tax, while the individual part is an income tax, so realization timing matters for the latter in a way that it doesn't for the former. 

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