Agustin Redonda, Christian von Haldenwang, 16 June 2021

Tax expenditures – such as tax incentives for firms, tax deductions for households, and lower tax rates for specific goods and services – are both widespread and costly, but are generally not subject to the same level of scrutiny in the budget process as direct spending. This column introduces the Global Tax Expenditures Database, which aims to improve reporting and enhance scrutiny. As governments worldwide face growing funding needs to respond to the pandemic, they cannot afford to lose revenues to ill-designed tax breaks. Comprehensively assessing tax expenditures is crucial, and estimating and reporting their fiscal cost is a vital first step.

Kieu-Trang Nguyen, John Van Reenen, 21 March 2016

Many countries have increased the tax support they provide for research and development (R&D). This column looks at the impact of such support on innovation outcomes in the UK. The findings suggest that tax breaks are an innovation policy that works. UK business R&D would be 10% lower in the absence of the tax breaks.

Rachel Griffith, Helen Miller, 30 June 2011

Governments around the world are grappling with the question of how to tax the income from intellectual property. This column asks whether offering tax breaks – called Patent Boxes after the box companies must tick on their tax forms – will lead to a race to the bottom across Europe and who, if anyone, benefits.

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