The Institute of Public Finance (IPF) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) are organizing the conference Public Sector Economics 2019 – Wealth and property taxation: where do we stand? on 24 October 2019 in Zagreb, Croatia. The goal of the conference is to provide a state-of-the-art assessment of the profession’s thinking on the potentials and limitations of these taxes and their role in the modern economy. We invite submissions of historical reviews, studies of experience, as well as theoretical, empirical and policy papers on different aspects of wealth and property taxation.
Wealth (or capital) taxes can be imposed on the holding, transfer or increase in the value of land, housing, financial, business, and other types of assets. Their forms include gross or net wealth taxes; estate, inheritance or gift taxes; housing ownership and rental income taxes; other real estate and property taxes; capital gains taxes and so on. Wealth taxes are far less widespread and generate much less revenue than they used to. Although taxes on property play a bigger role, overall property tax revenue remains limited in most countries.
Recently, there has been a renewed interest in wealth and property taxation. One reason has been a rapid growth in wealth across countries, on the one hand, and increasing wealth inequality on the other. Another has been the need for many governments to generate revenue in order to stabilise public finances in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Separately, there is an ongoing debate about the impact of the favourable tax treatment of housing on resource allocation as well as macroeconomic and financial stability. Many countries have seen heated debates on estate or inheritance taxes: are they an efficient way to address wealth inequality, increase incentives to work and innovate, or do they encourage wealthy individuals to move to tax havens or engage in tax saving activities that create little value added?