Rich People pay Less

I just thought of a reason for why the effective corporate / upper bracket tax rate is persistently low. These entities simply avoid taxes by responding more effectively to tax incentives. Tax rebates are out there because the government wants to buy certain types of behavior right? The problem, accounting-wise, is that effective behavior-changing tax rebates don’t show up as (income – expenditure), they just show up as reduced government income.

This is a case of the market value vs. book value dilemna. Things are worth more to you than what you paid for them, otherwise you wouldn’t have decided to buy. Tax rebates buy behavior which is presumably more valuable to the government than the tax income lost, but under simple analysis is valued at the tax income lost.

Of course, when the tax-avoiding behavior is not the anticipated kind, then it is called a loophole. If you believe that regulators will never outsmart corporate tax lawyers, you should be arguing for a simplification of the tax code.

Comments are closed.