Who Bears the Corporate Tax? A Review of What We Know

52 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2012 Last revised: 20 Jun 2012

See all articles by Alan J. Auerbach

Alan J. Auerbach

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Date Written: October 2005

Abstract

This paper reviews what we know from economic theory and evidence about who bears the burden of the corporate income tax. Among the lessons from the recent literature are: 1. For a variety of reasons, shareholders may bear a certain portion of the corporate tax burden. In the short run, they may be unable to shift taxes on corporate capital. Even in the long run, they may be unable to shift taxes attributable to a discount on "old" capital, taxes on rents, or taxes that simply reduce the advantages of corporate ownership. Thus, the distribution of share ownership remains empirically quite relevant to corporate tax incidence analysis, though attributing ownership is itself a challenging exercise. 2. One-dimensional incidence analysis -- distributing the corporate tax burden over a representative cross-section of the population -- can be relatively uninformative about who bears the corporate tax burden, because it misses the element timing. 3. It is more meaningful to analyze the incidence of corporate tax changes than of the corporate tax in its entirety, because different components of the tax have different incidence and incidence relates to the path of the economy over time, not just in a single year.

Suggested Citation

Auerbach, Alan Jeffrey, Who Bears the Corporate Tax? A Review of What We Know (October 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11686. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2079410

Alan Jeffrey Auerbach (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-643-0711 (Phone)
510-643-0413 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
67
Abstract Views
532
rank
337,009
PlumX Metrics