Measuring Top Incomes Using Tax Record Data: A Cautionary Tale from Australia

76 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2013

See all articles by Richard V. Burkhauser

Richard V. Burkhauser

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM); University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute

Markus H. Hahn

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

R Wilkins

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2013

Abstract

Atkinson, Piketty, and Saez (2011) survey an important new literature using income tax-based data to measure the share of income held by top income groups. But changes in tax legislation that expand the tax base to include income sources (e.g. capital gains, dividends, etc.) disproportionately held by these groups will conflate such an expansion with an increase in the share of income they hold. We provide a cautionary tale from Australia of how comprehensive tax reform legislation in 1985 substantially altered Australian top income series, especially those that do not separate taxable realized capital gains from other taxable income.

Suggested Citation

Burkhauser, Richard V. and Hahn, Markus Hilmar and Wilkins, Roger, Measuring Top Incomes Using Tax Record Data: A Cautionary Tale from Australia (June 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19121. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2280973

Richard V. Burkhauser (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM) ( email )

120 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
161 Barry Street
Carlton, VIC 3053
Australia

Markus Hilmar Hahn

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Roger Wilkins

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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