by Salvador Barrios, Flavia Coda Moscarola, Francesco Figari & Luca Gandullia; International Tax and Public Finance
International Tax and Public Finance, volume 27, pages 1287–1320(2020).
This paper quantifies the fiscal and distributional impact of tax expenditures related to public and private contributory pension schemes, affecting both contributions and pension benefits, in all EU Member States using EUROMOD, the EU-wide microsimulation model. Adopting a benchmark system in which pension contributions are exempt and taxes apply when benefits are received (EET system), we find that pension-related tax expenditures can have a sizeable impact on revenue and strong effects on inequality and poverty. Tax expenditures tend to be progressive on two levels: first, among pensioners, by favoring those with lower incomes, mainly as a result of the preferential treatment given to pension incomes; and, second, among people of working age, through a partial or no deduction of pension contributions, draining resources from those at the top of the income distribution. Moreover, embracing a lifetime perspective, tax expenditures tend to redistribute resources in favor of women and low-educated individuals.