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Tuesday, August 3 • 10:45am - 12:15pm
4B3 Sales Tax and Arson

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Roger White, Arizona State University; Mason Snow, Arizona State University

Florida sales taxes are unique in that they apply to leases on commercial real estate and the sales/leases of automobiles. Prior research and anecdotal evidence suggest that such taxes can burden lessees with unexpected costs and depress after-tax selling/renting/leasing returns for property owners. We examine whether these tax-induced financial pressures spill over and spur arson. We analyze a 20-year panel of Florida counties using a generalized difference-in-differences design and find that local sales tax rates positively predict arson levels for property subject to Florida sales taxes (commercial buildings and cars), but bear no relation to arson levels in property classes exempt from local sales taxes (single-family homes, government buildings). These findings suggest that sales taxes burden owners and lessees of affected property to the point that, at the margin, they resort to arson at higher rates (to avoid future payments, garner an insurance payout, prevent selling at a loss, etc.).


Charles Nyce

Florida State University

avatar for Mason Craig Snow

Mason Craig Snow

PhD Student, Arizona State University

Tuesday August 3, 2021 10:45am - 12:15pm EDT

Attendees (8)