Each year, the Tax Foundation honors state legislators, executives, and other individuals with its Outstanding Achievement in State Tax Reform award. As the name suggests, the honoree's accomplishments...
- The Tax Policy Blog
- Delaware Bill Reveals Major Flaw of Gross Receipts Taxes
Delaware Bill Reveals Major Flaw of Gross Receipts Taxes
Legislation to exempt Delaware's two auto manufacturers from the state's gross receipts tax will be introduced when the General Assembly convenes next week, an initial step toward persuading DaimlerChrysler to keep its Newark assembly plant open.
The Tax Foundation is constantly educating lawmakers, the media and the public about the dangers of gross receipts taxes, and the Delaware bill is a prime example of why.
One of the key findings in a recent Tax Foundation paper about gross receipts taxes is they impose varying effective tax rates across industries, tilting the market in favor of those sectors not hit as hard by the tax. Often, companies in the same industry can experience vastly different effective tax rates.
Furthermore, lawmakers are under constant pressure to levy different rates for different companies because of lack of horizontal equity inherent in gross receipts taxes. Horizontal equity means that taxpayers with similar levels of income pay equal amounts.
Washington's Business and Occupation tax, now the nation's oldest gross receipts tax, is a good example because it levies six different rates varying by industry. It remains to be seen whether newly implemented gross receipts taxes in Ohio and Texas can avoid varying rates, but history shows that has never happened. Kentucky's gross receipts tax, only one year old, is already under intense pressure to lower its rate for retail companies.
Delaware lawmakers should avoid the pressure put on them by DaimlerChrylser and not grant the preferential treatment. If automakers in Delaware deserve repeal of the gross receipts tax then all companies do. Delaware would be better served by a full repeal anyway.
To learn more about gross receipts taxes read the 2007 State Business Tax Climate Index and look for a forthcoming report by professor John Mikesell of Indiana University.
Get Email Updates from the Tax Foundation
We will never sell or share your information with third parties.
Join the Tax Foundation's fight for sound tax policy Go
About the Tax Policy Blog
The Tax Policy Blog is the official blog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.