Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2000

Abstract

This Article examines the increased use of tax incentives as weapons in the international competition to attract investment. Professor Avi-Yonah argues that the establishment of tax havens allows large amounts of capital to go untaxed, depriving both developed and developing countries of revenue and forcing them to rely on forms of taxation less progressive than the income tax. He points to social insurance programs, many of which are already on uncertain courses as aging populations imperil their fiscal health, as likely to bear the brunt of the revenue loss that tax havens cause. Professor Avi-Yonah contends that both economic efficiency and equity among individuals and among nations support limits on international tax competition, and he presents a proposal that accommodates the competing concern for democratic states' ability to set their tax rates independently. He proposes the coordinated imposition of withholding taxes on international portfolio investment, with the goal of ensuring that all income may be taxed in the investor's home jurisdiction. Professor Avi-Yonah also proposes that multinational corporations be taxed initially in the jurisdictions where their goods and services are consumed. Under the framework this Article outlines, both developed and developing nations would be able to preserve the progressivity of the income tax and to broaden and stabilize their tax bases in time to stave off the fiscal threat to the welfare state.


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