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Ann O’Connell

This chapter examines the tax treatment of capital gains in Australia. It explains the history of the Australian capital gains tax, its basic design (relationship to income tax, the scope of the tax, the tax treatment of different asset classes, the rates of tax, losses, and so on), how particular problems have been addressed (family homes, avoidance, and so on), and the lessons that might be learned from it. Keywords: capital gains tax; Australia; tax system design

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David G. Duff

This chapter examines the tax treatment of capital gains in Canada. It explains the history of the Canadian capital gains tax, its basic design (relationship to income tax, the scope of the tax, the tax treatment of different asset classes, the rates of tax, losses, and so on), how particular problems have been addressed (family homes, avoidance, and so on), and the lessons that might be learned from it. Keywords: capital gains tax; Canada; tax system design

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Capital Gains Taxation

A Comparative Analysis of Key Issues

Edited by Michael Littlewood and Craig Elliffe

Capital gains taxes pose a host of technical and political design problems and yet, while the literature on the theory of capital gains taxation is substantial, little has been published on how governments have addressed these dilemmas. Written by a team of distinguished international experts, Capital Gains Taxation addresses the gap in the literature; it explains how a number of countries tax capital gains and the successes and pitfalls of these methods.
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Michael Littlewood

This chapter surveys the key issues in the design of capital gains taxes (whether the tax should be a separate tax or part of the income tax; whether it should be based on realisation or accrual; the territorial scope of the tax; the tax consequences of death and emigration; exemptions and preferences; and so on) by reference to the tax systems examined more closely in the other chapters of this book, namely those of Australia, Canada, China, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK and the US. Keywords: taxation; capital gains tax; comparative; tax reform

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Janet E. Milne

While carbon tax measures have not yet met with success at the federal level in the United States, proposals for carbon taxes emerged in a handful of states in 2015 and 2016. The proposals address the shared challenge of climate change, but each has its own unique features and setting. Drawing on proposals in Oregon, Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington as case studies, this chapter explores how state constitutions can affect the design of state-level carbon taxes and their legislative route toward enactment. For example, the Oregon constitution imposes limits on tax rates and use of the revenue when taxing certain fossil fuels. The constitutions in three of the four states require that some types of revenue measures must originate in the legislative House of Representatives, not the Senate, raising the question whether carbon taxes can be designed in a manner that will avoid this procedural constraint. In Washington, the carbon tax proposal came forward as a ballot initiative that went to voters in the general election, following a procedure permitted under the state constitution. These case studies serve as an important reminder of how constitutional provisions that were not created with climate change in mind can influence the design features of subnational carbon taxes and political strategies.

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Claudia Kettner and Daniela Kletzan-Slamanig

In the EU CO2 emissions from industry and energy supply are regulated under the EU Emission Trading Scheme. In contrast, emissions from private households, transport and other small sources are regulated on the Member State level as no comprehensive EU policy strategy is in place for these sectors. Policy instruments specific to the transport sector include fuel taxes, vehicle registration taxes and ownership taxes, which can each contain a specific CO2 component, as well as performance standards and road pricing schemes. This chapter includes an empirical analysis of energy and carbon taxes in the transport sector for the EU Member States focusing on an assessment of fuel tax rates as well as on registration and ownership taxation of passenger cars. It is shown that Member States' tax systems still exhibit pronounced differences with respect to both tax categories. Taxation can make a significant contribution towards achieving emission reductions in the transport sector and should be given more weight by Member States in view of achieving their greenhouse gas reduction targets.

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Yan Xu

This chapter examines the tax treatment of capital gains in China. It explains the history of the Chinese tax treatment of capital gains, the system’s basic design (relationship to income tax, the scope of the tax, the tax treatment of different asset classes, the rates of tax, losses, and so on), how particular problems have been addressed (family homes, avoidance, and so on), and the lessons that might be learned from it. Keywords: capital gains tax; China; tax system design

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Bettina Bahn-Walkowiak, Henning Wilts, Mark Meyer and Martin Distelkamp

Against the background of the question which role tax based instruments have to play in policy mixes to counteract the unbroken growth trend of global resource use, this chapter initially describes how the insights from a country comparative study on national resource policy frameworks could be linked to instruments for the internalisation of external environmental costs on a European scale. On the basis of a project specific but substantiated resource use vision and potential governance principles for three transition processes to reach the goals, the tax concepts are subsequently connected to simulation scenarios in order to illustrate the resource impacts that could be achieved by those policy reforms. Conclusively, barriers to such fundamental changes of framework conditions are briefly reflected upon and some conclusions are drawn.

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Hans Sprohge and Larry Kreiser

In the United States (U.S.), subsidies and tax preferences for generating electricity from nuclear energy provide incentives for creating difficult to remediate environmental damage. Nuclear energy is erroneously claimed by proponents as an environmentally friendly way to meet the country’s energy needs. Energy can be extracted from atoms either through fusion or fission. Theoretically, energy from fusion is limitless without any environmental consequences. The problem is that energy from fusion is not possible under current technology. Although it is true that the process of fission per se does not emit any greenhouse gases, it is not true that electricity generated by nuclear power plants is environmentally friendly. Over their life cycle, nuclear power plants emit greenhouse gases. The worst threat is posed by radiation from nuclear power plant accidents and from nuclear waste. Countless studies about the impact of this radiation on human health and the environment are contradictory. Some studies assert that the impact is not all that bad; other studies assert that the impact is devastating. Determining which position is correct is a difficult task. In light of the known and contradictory claims about the environmental and human health impact of nuclear energy, the issue in the U.S. is whether any new nuclear power plants should be granted subsidies and tax incentives. Prudence suggests erring on the side of caution. The chapter commences by first explaining the essence of nuclear energy and then examining the advantages and disadvantages of fusion and fission; subsequently, the chapter examines the U.S. nuclear industry, its subsidies, tax incentives and environmental effects.

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Sven Rudolph, Takeshi Kawakatsu and Achim Lerch

While the Paris agreement certainly gives hope for effective global climate protection, it has to be substantiated by concrete policy programs. Regional or local market-based mitigation measures provide a promising supplement to national policies. Some regions and municipalities have already successfully implemented carbon taxes and carbon cap-and-trade such as the US North East, British Columbia and Tokyo. While national carbon markets have remained politically deadlocked in the US and Canada, particularly promising regional schemes have appeared, an international linkage has been established between California and Québec, and more programs and linkages are under way. Despite of some criticism, ambitious carbon markets promise to minimize compliance costs and achieve pre-set targets accurately. In addition, linkages between sub-national schemes can increase the economic efficiency and environmental effectiveness, and help in developing national or even international carbon markets from the bottom-up. But, effectiveness and efficiency alone do not suffice. Social justice was one of the founding principles of sustainability; it has become an increasingly important issue in climate policy, and recent policy debates have been forced to reconsider questions such as electricity price effects and the use of carbon pricing revenues. As research on the sustainability of regional carbon market linkages in North America is virtually non-existent, in our chapter we ask if and how these linkages can foster efficient, effective and fair climate policy in the US and Canada. We do so by, first, reviewing the arguments on efficient and effective carbon market design and linking and then adding a social justice component. Second, we give an overview of established and upcoming carbon markets in Canada and the US and identify the chances and barriers of linking. Third, we evaluate the programs based on sustainability criteria and analyze the prospects for linking. We show that North America has a new historic chance to act as a role model for sustainable climate policy developed from the bottom-up by linking sub-national carbon markets.