Are Global Taxes Feasible?

46 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2017 Last revised: 21 Feb 2018

See all articles by Richard M. Bird

Richard M. Bird

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: February 18, 2918


Over the years many proposals for global taxes – taxes levied on a world-wide basis – have been made. None has been successful, essentially because one cannot have global taxes without a global government. This paper first reviews some of the major global tax proposals and then considers what lessons experience in two other spheres in which countries deal with each other to resolve fiscal questions – the financing of international organizations and international taxation (how national taxes deal with cross-border flows) – may have to teach those who consider the answer to some problem to be a global (or regional) tax. Since countries have little appetite for giving up fiscal sovereignty or for explicitly redistributive fiscal arrangements, most past global tax proposals had little or no prospect of success. However, less ambitious attempts to develop a more ‘global’ approach through a transparent process that involves all who are affected, provides some demonstrable benefit to all, and remains firmly under national control may, over time, permit at least some small steps towards achieving the better world that global tax proponents presumably wish to achieve.

Keywords: Global Tax, International Taxation, Financing International Organizations, Supranational Taxation, Tax Policy

JEL Classification: F50, H87, N40, O19

Suggested Citation

Bird, Richard Miller, Are Global Taxes Feasible? (February 18, 2918). Rotman School of Management Working Paper No. 3006175, Available at SSRN: or

Richard Miller Bird (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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