NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Retrospective Capital Gains Taxation

Alan J. Auerbach

NBER Working Paper No. 2792 (Also Reprint No. r1609)
Issued in December 1988
NBER Program(s):   PE

This paper presents a new approach to the taxation of capital gains that eliminates the deferral advantage present under current realization-based systems, along with the lock-in effect and tax arbitrage possibilities associated with this deferral advantage. The new approach also taxes capital gains only upon realization but, by effectively charging interest on past gains when realization finally occurs, eliminates the incentive to defer such realization. Unlike a similar scheme suggested previously by Vickrey, the present one does not require knowledge of the potentially unobservable pattern of gains over time. It thus is applicable to a very broad range of capital assets.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2792

Published: The American Economic Review, Vol. 81, No. 1, pp. 167-178, (March 1991). citation courtesy of

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