Tax Policy Reform and Economic Growth
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Tax Policy Reform and Economic Growth

In the wake of the recent financial and economic crisis, many OECD countries face the challenge of restoring public finances while still supporting growth. This report investigates how tax structures can best be designed to support GDP per capita growth.  

The analysis suggests a tax and economic growth ranking order according to which corporate taxes are the most harmful type of tax for economic growth, followed by personal income taxes and then consumption taxes, with recurrent taxes on immovable property being the least harmful tax. Growth-oriented tax reform measures include tax base broadening and a reduction in the top marginal personal income tax rates. Some degree of support for R&D through the tax system may help to increase private spending on innovation. 

But implementing pro-growth tax reforms may not be easy. This report identifies those public and political economy tax reform strategies that will allow policy makers to reconcile differing tax policy objectives and overcome obstacles to reform. It stresses that with clear vision, strong leadership and solid tax policy analysis, growth-oriented tax reform can indeed be realised.

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Publication Date :
03 Nov 2010
DOI :
10.1787/9789264091085-en
 
Chapter
 

Growth-oriented Tax Policy Reform Recommendations You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Pages :
17–24
DOI :
10.1787/9789264091085-3-en

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Tax systems are primarily aimed at financing public expenditures.1 Tax systems are also used to promote other objectives, such as equity, and to address social and economic concerns. They need to be set up to minimise taxpayers’ compliance costs and government’s administrative cost, while also discouraging tax avoidance and evasion. But taxes also affect the decisions of households to save, supply labour and invest in human capital, the decisions of firms to produce, create jobs, invest and innovate, as well as the choice of savings channels and assets by investors. What matters for these decisions is not only the level of taxes but also the way in which different tax instruments are designed and combined to generate revenues (what this chapter will henceforth refer to as tax structures). The effects of tax levels and tax structures on agents’ economic behaviour are likely to be reflected in overall living standards. Recognising this, over the past decades many OECD countries have undertaken structural reforms in their tax systems. Most of the personal income tax reforms have tried to create a fiscal environment that encourages saving, investment, entrepreneurship and provides increased work incentives. Likewise, most corporate tax reforms have been driven by the desire to promote competition and avoid tax-induced distortions. Almost all of these tax reforms can be characterised as involving rate cuts and base broadening in order to improve efficiency, while at the same time maintain tax revenues.