Adjustment costs and the neutrality of income taxes

Vol: 
2006/04
Author name: 
Matt Benge
George Fane
Year: 
2006
Month: 
January
Abstract: 

A true income tax would not affect asset values or investment decisions for given values of cash flows and pre-tax interest rates (Samuelson, 1964). However, most so-called income taxes do not fully tax capital gains on accrual. This note shows that in the absence of adjustment costs, investment decisions are not distorted by the lack of a comprehensive tax on the capital gains on unimproved land, provided that the depreciation of improvements is allowed as a tax deduction. It also provides the intuition underlying the closely related results of Hartman (1978) and Abel (1983).

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