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Ways of taxing wealth: alternatives and interactions

Journal article | Fiscal Studies Special Issue on a Wealth Tax: Time for Another Look?

In this paper, I examine the role of a wealth tax in the context of the UK's existing taxes on wealth. First, I discuss several ways in which the UK could be said to tax wealth already, and I set out two possible directions for reforming these taxes, highlighting policies that are merited under either approach. Second, I consider whether and under what circumstances a broad-based tax on the ownership of wealth – a ‘wealth tax’ – could be justified instead of or in addition to these reforms. Third, I address how a wealth tax should interact with other taxes, focusing on concerns regarding ‘double taxation’ and (conversely) proposals for an alternative minimum tax based on wealth. I conclude that there is a large degree of consensus amongst existing proposals to reform our current taxes on wealth, and that most of these reforms would be required whether or not a wealth tax is introduced as well.

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