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How Effective are Bank Levies in Reducing Leverage Given the Debt Bias of Corporate Income Taxation?
SUERF Policy Brief,
To finance resolution funds, the regulatory toolkit has been expanded in many countries by bank levies. In addition, these levies are often designed to reduce incentives for banks to rely excessively on wholesale funding resulting in high leverage ratios. At the same time, corporate income taxation biases banks’ capital structure towards debt financing in light of the deductibility of interest on debt. A recent paper published in the Journal of Banking and Finance shows that the implementation of bank levies can significantly reduce leverage ratios, however, only in case corporate income taxes are not too high. The result demonstrates that the effectiveness of regulatory tools can depend upon non-regulatory measures such as corporate taxes, which differ at the country level.
Interactions Between Bank Levies and Corporate Taxes: How is Bank Leverage Affected?
Journal of Banking and Finance,
Regulatory bank levies set incentives for banks to reduce leverage. At the same time, corporate income taxation makes funding through debt more attractive. In this paper, we explore how regulatory levies affect bank capital structure, depending on corporate income taxation. Based on bank balance sheet data from 2006 to 2014 for a panel of EU-banks, our analysis yields three main results: The introduction of bank levies leads to lower leverage as liabilities become more expensive. This effect is weaker the more elevated corporate income taxes are. In countries charging very high corporate income taxes, the incentives of bank levies to reduce leverage turn insignificant. Thus, bank levies can counteract the debt bias of taxation only partially.
Assessing the Effects of Regulatory Bank Levies
VOX CEPR's Policy Portal,
In response to the Global Crisis, governments have implemented restructuring and resolution regimes backed by funds financed by bank levies. Bank levies aim to internalise system risk externalities and to provide funding for bank recovery and resolution. This column explores bank levy design by considering the German and European cases. The discussion points to the importance of structured policy evaluations to determine the effects of levies.
Taxing Banks: An Evaluation of the German Bank Levy
Journal of Banking and Finance,
Bank distress can have severe negative consequences for the stability of the financial system. Regimes for the restructuring and resolution of banks, financed by bank levies, aim at reducing these costs. This paper evaluates the German bank levy, which has been implemented since 2011. Our analysis offers three main insights. First, revenues raised through the levy were lower than expected. Second, the bulk of the payments were contributed by large commercial banks and by the central institutions of savings banks and credit unions. Third, for those banks, which were affected by the levy, we find evidence for a reduction in lending and higher deposit rates.