The VAT Laffer curve and the business cycle in the EU27: an empirical approach

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Value Added Tax (VAT) standard rate Laffer curves are estimated for the European Union of twenty seven countries (EU27) over the period 1995-2011, using a twice continuously differentiable VAT revenue quadratic flexible functional form. A business cycle effect on the Laffer curve is found. In recession years, VAT revenue is typically lower, the curve steeper, and the VAT standard rate that maximises VAT revenue slightly smaller than previously. These results can be explained with reference to changes in the composition of consumption and VAT collection enforcement. A countercyclical VAT standard rate policy (procyclical fiscal policy), observable in a few countries, not only increases the underlying business cycle volatility but may also result in long-term instability of VAT revenue. In 2011, the maximum VAT standard rates in expansion and recession were respectively 22.0 and 21.5 per cent. Most of the EU27 countries were operating in the non-prohibitive range of the curve; although Portugal, with a VAT standard rate of 23 per cent, along with several other countries with similar rates, was already operating in the prohibitive range of the curve. VAT standard rate Laffer curves shifted to the left and maximum VAT standard rates declined during the analysed period.
Idioma originalEnglish
Páginas (de-até)29-44
Número de páginas16
RevistaEconomic Issues
Estado da publicaçãoPublicado - 2015

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