Taxes and Telework: The Impacts of State Income Taxes in a Work-from-Home Economy
48 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2022 Last revised: 30 Dec 2022
Date Written: July 14, 2022
This paper studies the interstate effects of decentralized taxation and spending when individuals can work from home (WFH). Because WFH decouples population and employment, the analysis of tax impacts on state populations, employment levels, wages and housing prices is radically different than in the standard model where individuals live and work in the same state. Which state can tax teleworkers---leading to either source or residence taxation---matters for tax impacts under WFH. Our main findings, which pertain to the employment and wage effects of WFH, show that a shift from a non-WFH economy to WFH reduces employment and raises the wage in high-tax states, with larger effects under source taxation. Once WHF is established, an increase in a state's tax rate either reduces employment further while raising the wage (source taxation) or leaves the labor market unaffected (residence taxation). We show that only the residence-taxation equilibrium is efficient.
Keywords: taxes, telework, source principle, residence principle, mobility, incidence
JEL Classification: K34, J61, H24, H71, R50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation