Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Indirect Tax Incidence under Inelastic Underground Economy Demand

Soldatos, Gerasimos (2014): Indirect Tax Incidence under Inelastic Underground Economy Demand. Forthcoming in: Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies , Vol. 7, No. 3 (2015)


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This paper demonstrates theoretically that a profit tax does not affect the distribution of the firm’s operations between the official and the underground economy. Or, if the firm was initially operating only officially, direct taxation of its business would not be a reason to go underground. Indirect taxation in the form of a sales tax does influence an already existing mix of official and underground activities, favoring the latter. And, it does constitute a reason to “go underground” for an otherwise fully official business. This is a thesis robust to market structure changes and to introducing tax evasion in the usual sense, provided the underground demand is inelastic. The tax authority can still collect the planned tax revenue through a combination of a cash-flow tax with indirect taxation, under only consumer-surplus loss by the underground customer.

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