Wealth Tax as Alternative Minimum Tax - the Impact of a Wealth Tax on Business Structure and Strategy

Arqus Quantitative Tax Research Discussion Paper No. 3

32 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2005

See all articles by Caren Sureth-Sloane

Caren Sureth-Sloane

Paderborn University; Vienna University of Economics and Business; TRR 266 Accounting for Transparency

Ralf Maiterth

Leibniz Universität Hannover - Economics and Business Administration Area

Date Written: April 6, 2005

Abstract

An alternative minimum tax (AMT) is often regarded as desirable. We analyze a wealth tax at corporate and personal level that is designed as an AMT as proposed by the German Green Party. This wealth tax is imputable to profit taxes and is hence intended to prevent multiple (multistage) taxation. Referring to data from annual reports and the German Central Bank we model enterprises of different structure, industry, size and legal status. We show that companies in the service sector which generally maintain rather high gearing rates are more frequently subjected to the wealth tax than capital intensive industries. This result runs counter to well-known effects of a common wealth tax. Capital intensive firms, e.g. in the metal industry, are levied with definitive wealth tax only if they have large loss carry-forwards or extremely volatile profits. Furthermore, partnerships often enjoy wealth tax privileges due to uniform taxation at individual level whereas corporations may suffer from the wealth tax at corporate and personal level caused by imputation backlogs. Obviously, the underlying AMT influences corporate dividend policy evoking a push-out effect. We prove that this kind of wealth taxation usually favors financial rather than real investment and encourages outbound investment. Consequently, introducing an AMT discriminates against many firms and investment projects, especially if economic income is lower than taxable income. This proves that whenever income is taxed correctly, AMT is dispensable.

Keywords: Alternative minimum tax, business strategy, investment decisions, wealth tax

JEL Classification: H25, H21

Suggested Citation

Sureth-Sloane, Caren and Maiterth, Ralf, Wealth Tax as Alternative Minimum Tax - the Impact of a Wealth Tax on Business Structure and Strategy (April 6, 2005). Arqus Quantitative Tax Research Discussion Paper No. 3, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=700297 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.700297

Caren Sureth-Sloane (Contact Author)

Paderborn University ( email )

Warburger Str. 100
Paderborn, 33098
Germany

Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
Austria

TRR 266 Accounting for Transparency ( email )

Warburger Straße 100
Paderborn, 33098
Germany

Ralf Maiterth

Leibniz Universität Hannover - Economics and Business Administration Area ( email )

Koenigsworther Platz 1
30167 Hannover
Germany

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