WP 103 | 18 Cooperatives and Taxation: How many Benefits do they really have? The Italian Case

Research Area: Misurazione e Impatto
Edited by: Eddi Fontanari, Carlo Borzaga

The belief that cooperatives enjoy high and unjustified tax benefits is widespread among both policy makers and economic operators. And many believe that these are unjustified privileges that cause situations of unfair competition and reduce the contribution of cooperatives to the formation of public revenues. However, these convictions have never been subjected to a thorough empirical verification and they do not take into account the characteristics of these forms of enterprise or the nature and quantitative relevance of the benefits they enjoy. The present contribution, through a precise analysis of the financial statements of cooperatives and shareholder corporations, will try to empirically verify these assumptions. In particular, it will take into account not only the taxes paid on corporate income, but also the taxation on employee income, so as to reconstruct the entire tax burden on each enterprise form. The calculation of the tax burden will also be broken down by sector of activity, geographical area and cooperative type in order to trace any elements of discontinuity/differentiation.

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