Working Paper 752

Optimal Capital Taxation Revisited

V. V. Chari | Consultant
Juan Pablo Nicolini | Senior Research Economist
Pedro Teles | Banco de Portugal, Catolica Lisbon SBE, and CEPR

Published July 6, 2018

We revisit the question of how capital should be taxed, arguing that if governments are allowed to use the kinds of tax instruments widely used in practice, for preferences that are standard in the macroeconomic literature, the optimal approach is to never distort capital accumulation. We show that the results in the literature that lead to the presumption that capital ought to be taxed for some time arise because of the initial confiscation of wealth and because the tax system is restricted.


An updated version of this paper is available as Staff Report 571.

Forthcoming In: Journal of Monetary Economics

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