This Selected Issues paper analyzes key features of corporate taxation in Switzerland. The Swiss corporate tax system includes many aspects of a territorial regime; is highly attractive for multinational companies; and collects non-negligible revenues, but the status quo is not sustainable. The proposed reform would eliminate differences in the tax treatment of foreign and Swiss sourced income. Further, cantons are expected to lower their corporate income tax (CIT) rates, bringing the combined (municipal, cantonal, and federal) tax rate (averaged across cantons) to about 13.9 percent. Costs of lowering the CIT rates would be unequally distributed across cantons, and would be costlier for cantons with a large immobile CIT base.
This Selected Issues paper reviews the relationship between real GDP growth and domestic bank lending to the private sector in Hungary after the global financial crisis, It draws on a cross-country analysis of European countries. The recessions that followed the crisis were deeper and lasted longer than the average recession. Hungary, like some other countries, experienced a creditless recovery. Although it is difficult to disentangle the causes, this analysis concludes that (1) both credit demand and supply were hurt by the crisis; (2) key factors influencing credit developments include loan quality, deposit funding, and bank capital, as well as the macroeconomic environment; and (3) lending by Hungarian banks to the private sector finally seems to be picking up.
This paper considers how a tax on financial transactions could be applied to three broad and partially overlapping categories of financial instruments: (1) exchange-traded instruments; (2) over-the-counter instruments; and, (3) foreign exchange instruments. For each category, the paper examines the factors that would facilitate or complicate the administration of a financial transactions tax, the options for collecting the tax, the types of compliance risks that are likely to be encountered, and measures for mitigating these risks.
This paper reviews issues and evidence concerning tax-motivated, cross-border commodity transactions. A distinction is drawn between "arbitrage trades" (driven by cross-country differences in tax rates) and "tax not paid" transactions (motivated by the opportunity to pay no tax at all on transactions with international aspects). Assessment of the severity of the associated policy problems faces the difficulty that the observed extent of cross-border transactions conveys no information on the induced inefficiency that the possibility of such transactions may generate. Given the difficulty of securing coordination of national tax policies, much of the emphasis in dealing with these problems in the coming years is likely to be on administrative cooperation.
This paper argues that securities transaction taxes "throw sand" not in the wheels, but into the engine of financial markets where the transformation of latent demands into realized transactions takes place. The paper considers the impact of transaction taxes on financial markets in the context of four questions. How important is trading? What causes price volatility? How are prices formed? How valuable is the volume of transactions? The paper concludes that transaction taxes or such equivalents as capital controls can have negative effects on price discovery, volatility, and liquidity and lead to a reduction in the informational efficiency of markets.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix examines the developments in the intergovernmental fiscal relations for the Republic of Estonia. The paper highlights that intergovernmental relations in Estonia have been marked in recent years by a strong push in the direction of fiscal decentralization. This trend has been part of the broader process of structural change, including privatization and liberalization of markets in Estonia. The paper analyzes the evolution of the financial sector. It also examines European Union accession and the economic policy of Estonia.
Tobin has suggested that exchange rate volatility be controlled through a tax on international financial transactions. This analysis shows that the Tobin tax as a pure transaction tax is not viable. The tax would impair financial operations and create international liquidity problems. It is also unlikely to deter speculation. However, a possible alternative would be a two-tier rate structure—consisting of a low-rate transaction tax plus an exchange surcharge. The exchange rate could move freely within a “crawling” exchange rate band, but overshooting the band would trigger a tax on an “externality,” which is the discrepancy between the market exchange rate and the closest margin of the band. The scheme is inspired by the European Monetary System. However, exchange rates would be kept within the target range through a tax, not through interest policy or central bank sterilization and, eventually, the depletion of international reserves.