This paper reaches three related conclusions. First, because wage and capital income are highly correlated, higher-income taxpayers will pay a relatively larger share of the tax, regardless of whether the corporate income tax falls on labor or capital. Second, even if capital income is broadly defined to include income accrued to tax-preferred retirement accounts, this conclusion is little-changed. Third, the incidence of the corporate tax has only a modest effect on overall progressivity simply because the tax collects only a small fraction of federal revenues.
The paper uses the Tax Policy Center microsimulation model to estimate the progressivity of the corporate tax—and the tax code in general—under the alternative assumptions that capital bears 20 percent, 50 percent, or 80 percent of the corporate tax burden. Under all three assumptions, average corporate tax rates generally rise with income, indicating progressivity.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Does Corporate Tax Incidence Increase Progressivity?
Yes, according to a new working paper out of the Tax Policy Center by Benjamin Harris: