Tax Reform in Open Economies

Tax Reform in Open Economies

International and Country Perspectives

Edited by Iris Claus, Norman Gemmell, Michelle Harding and David White

The eminent contributors (including Altshuler, Creedy, Freebairn, Gravelle, Heady, Kalb, Sørensen and Zodrow) investigate the beneficial directions for medium-term tax reform in the light of global developments and lessons from the latest taxation research. In addressing this issue, they review recent advances in both the theoretical and empirical tax literature and reform evidence from individual countries. Topics covered include the impact of taxes on economic performance; international and corporate taxation; personal tax and welfare systems; environmental taxation; and country-specific tax reform experiences.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Iris Claus, Norman Gemmell, Michelle Harding and David White

Subjects: economics and finance, financial economics and regulation, public finance, public sector economics

Extract

Iris Claus, Norman Gemmell, Michelle Harding and David White 1.1 BACKGROUND The idea for this book arose in conjunction with a conference organized by Victoria University of Wellington with support from the New Zealand Treasury and from Inland Revenue in February 2009. Over the years, New Zealand governments have frequently been praised for their commitment to tax reform, for developing a tax system that displays many desirable features, and for avoiding many of the pitfalls of numerous other OECD countries’ tax systems. It is perhaps no coincidence, therefore, at a time when the late-2000s global economic crisis is generating increasing fiscal pressures in many countries, that Wellington was the scene for a major gathering of some of the world’s leading experts on tax policy. The overarching question that the conference sought to address was: ‘what can tax policy makers in open economies learn about beneficial directions for medium-term tax reform in the light of global developments and lessons from the latest taxation research?’ That is also the underlying theme of this book, and in this introduction we bring together some of the lessons learned from the international and country perspectives presented in later chapters. The book covers a range of tax reform issues from general assessments of different countries’ tax systems to key aspects of taxes on labour, capital, individuals and corporations. The chapters included in this volume cannot resolve many of the issues currently challenging tax policy makers around the world, faced with an increasingly integrated world economy,...