Diskussionsbeiträge: Serie II, Sonderforschungsbereich 178 "Internationalisierung der Wirtschaft", Universität Konstanz 112
The paper analyzes the effects of general consumption taxes levied under alternative tax principles. It is shown that different national tax rates imposed under a general destination principle or a general origin principle create no relative price distortions and no redistributional effects in a simple international trade model. Under mixed tax principles, nationally diverging tax rates are no longer neutral, however. Two such cases are studied: in the first setting, the destination principle applies to trade in intermediate goods while final consumer goods are taxed under the origin principle. In a second case (which has been termed a restricted origin principle) trade within an economic union is based on the origin principle while trade with third countries follows the destination principle. It is argued that the abolition of border controls in the European Community will inevitably lead to either the one or the other of these mixed principles for taxing international trade.