NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Taxes, Organizational Form, and the Deadweight Loss of the Corporate Income Tax

Austan Goolsbee

NBER Working Paper No. 6173
Issued in September 1997
NBER Program(s):   PE

By changing the relative gain to incorporation, corporate taxation can play an important role in a firm's choice of organizational form. General equilibrium models have shown that substantial shifting of organizational form in response to tax rates implies a large deadweight loss of taxation. This paper estimates the impact of taxes on organizational form using data from 1900-1939. The results indicate that the effect of taxes is significant but small. A corporate rate increase of .10 raises the non-corporate share of capital .002-.03. The implied deadweight loss of the corporate income tax is around 5-10% of revenue.

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Published: Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 69 (July 1998): 143-152.

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