International Evidence on the Effects of Having no Capital Gains Taxes

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International Evidence on the Effects of Having No Capital Gains Taxes represents the second part of The Fraser Institute's ongoing effort to study the costs and benefits of capital gains taxation in Canada.

The first part of this effort involved a colloquium among 25 economists and entrepreneurs from Canada and the United States who met in June 1999 for the Fraser Institute 1999 Symposium on Capital Gains Taxation. We discussed the question: Resolved that Canada's capital gains tax rate should be equal to that of the United States. Drawing on this discussion, a monograph entitled Unlocking Canadian Capital: The Case for Capital Gains Tax Reform (Vancouver, BC: The Fraser Institute, 2000) was published.

The main conclusion of this study was that the capital gains tax rate in Canada was too high and that lowering it would increase revenues, have little effect on the distribution of personal income, and bring large economic benefits. During 1999 and early 2000, the Senate of Canada held a series of hearings about the merit of the capital gains tax. Unlocking Canadian Capital included the proceedings of five of these Senate hearings, all of which supported and expanded on the arguments presented in the first half of the volume.

In September 2000 The Fraser Institute held the 2000 Symposium on Capital Gains Taxation (September 15, 2000) at which economists from nine countries addressed a number of issues important in assessing the consequences of having no capital gains tax. Some of the papers discussed countries' experiences with the use of indexing of capital gains due to inflation. Part 1 of the present study presents the editor's views on the merit of eliminating Canada's capital gains tax and is based on the existing, traditional literature. It also summarizes the main findings of the papers presented at the gathering. Part 2 contains seven papers written by the participants at the symposium.

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