Inflation and the Tax Treatment of Firm Behavior
13 Pages Posted: 28 May 2004 Last revised: 2 Jul 2010
Date Written: September 1980
In the past decade, economists have be-gun to realize that inflation, even when fully anticipated, constitutes a great deal more than a tax on money balances. The primary reason for inflation's wider impact is the existence of a tax system designed with stable prices in mind. This paper offers a brief summary of the effects of inflation on the tax treatment of the firm, focusing on four important decisions the firm makes: the scale of investment; the method of finance; the durability of assets used in production; and the holding period of these assets. There are a number of interesting and related issues which cannot be covered in a paper of this length. As I will be considering inflation that is both uniform and fully anticipated, questions concerning the behavior of the firm in response to uncertainty about inflation, or to a concommitant change in relative prices, will not arise.
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