The benefits and effectiveness of tax incentives must be proven in the same way as direct subsidies. Economic relevance, efficiency, transparency and sustainability are further criteria in which tax reliefs must be examined, when assessing whether or not they should be maintained, modernized, transformed into financial grants or abolished.

Between 2007 and 2009, the ZEW was part of a consortium which was overseen by FiFo Köln. On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Finance, twenty tax concessions were evaluated in accordance with coherent criteria.

The next round of evaluation is due to take place between 2017 and 2019 and will be on an even larger scale. 33 various tax incentives taken from the government’s subsidy report will be quantified and put to the test based on coherent and advanced methods. The taxes in question range from the wage tax, the personal income tax to the motor vehicle tax, as well as multilayered deductions in energy and electricity taxes. The incentives affect various sectors of the economy: Alongside deductions which benefit trade and industry as a whole; the agriculture sector, road, maritime and public transport, housing (sector) and city planning are all also affected.

The results of the evaluation are as diverse as their goals. The research on the effectiveness, relevance, sustainability and transparency of the 33 very different incentives in the income and motor vehicle tax as well as in energy and electricity tax shows how crucial regular evaluations are for a policy that wants to work more and more evidence-based and results-oriented. In the overall evaluation, only six measures with a total of 2.7 billion euros get a "good". The majority of the tax credits examined score "sufficient". After all, ten measures totaling 1.8 billion euros per year are so weak that they should urgently be adjusted or abolished.

The team carrying out the current evaluation under the guidance of FiFo Köln includes cooperation from ifo München and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT) alongside the ZEW Mannheim.

Selected Publications

Expertises

Lamouroux, Léa , Eduard Maier, Michael Thöne, Kathrin Gunkelmann and Sven Stöwhase (2019), Evaluierung von Steuervergünstigungen II - Teilbericht E, Bundesministerium der Finanzen, Berlin. Download

Gerhards, Eva , Michael Thöne and Sven Stöwhase (2019), Evaluierung von Steuervergünstigungen II - Teilbericht D, Bundesministerium der Finanzen, Berlin. Download

Gerhards, Eva, Michael Thöne, Mirko Seithe, Martin Teuber, Florian Neumeier, Stefanie Gäbler, Björn Kauder and Lea Immel (2019), Evaluierung von Steuervergünstigungen II - Teilbericht C, Bundesministerium der Finanzen, Berlin. Download

Hummel, Caroline-Antonia , Bernhard Koldert, Tobias Müller, Leif Jacobs, Lara Quack and Sven Stöwhase (2019), Evaluierung von Steuervergünstigungen II - Teilbericht B, Bundesministerium der Finanzen, Berlin. Download

Havlik, Annika, Daniela Steinbrenner, Nikolas Wölfing, Julia Braun, Christoph Harendt, Bernhard Koldert, Tobias Müller, Michael Thöne, Julia Gruber, Kathrin Gunkelmann, Carsten Hänisch, Jonas Klos, Regina Kühne, Raoul Peter, Luca Rebeggiani, Mirko Seithe and Sven Stöwhase (2019), Evaluierung von Steuervergünstigungen II - Teilbericht A, Bundesministerium der Finanzen, Berlin. Download

Eva, Gerhards and Thöne Michael (2019), Evaluierung von Steuervergünstigungen II - Ergebnisüberblick, Bundesministerium der Finanzen, Berlin. Download