Distribution of Income and the Income Tax Burden in Bulgaria
32 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: February 1995
The empirical analysis of Bulgaria's income distribution and income tax burden indicates that the country has low income inequality although this is changing rapidly. The income tax is progressive and contributes significantly to reducing income inequality, and the urban sector pays proportionately more in taxes than the rural sector.
Using the 1992 Bulgarian household budget survey, Bogetic and Hassan analyze the distribution of income and of the income tax burden by income and expenditure class and by rural-urban sector. They find: ° Low income inequality (although that is changing rapidly). ° A progressive income tax system. The poor (the lowest two-income decile) pay only 1.4 percent of their per capita income in income tax; the rich (the top decile) pay nearly 6 percent. In-kind income and expenditures are excluded from taxation. ° The urban sector paying proportionately more in taxes than the rural sector. For example, urban households pay 5.3 percent of their per capita income in income tax, whereas the rural sector pays 2.4 percent. ° Income tax contributes significantly to reducing income inequality at both the national and sectoral (rural-urban) level, as the poor pay a smaller share of taxes than their share of national income.
These results hold whether income or expenditure is used as an indicator of economic well-being.
Bogetic and Hassan caution that as in-kind income becomes monetized and the economy becomes more market-oriented, the system will become less progressive and urban-rural differences will diminish.
They contend that the bias toward higher urban taxes is justified to some extent by the fact that urban households benefit more from government services than rural households do.
This paper - a product of the Country Operations Division, Europe and Central Asia, Country Department I - is part of a larger effort in the region to analyze the consequences of government public finance policies. This paper is a part of a volume under preparation, Financing Government in the Transition: Bulgaria, edited by Zeljko Bogetic and Arye Hillman. The preparation of the volume is supported by the Bank's Research Support Budget under dissemination grant Taxation and Revenue Adequacy in Transition: Observations and Implications from Bulgaria (RPO 679-60). Fareed Hassan may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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