La prueba de aumento de impuestos de Japón

TOKIO – A comienzos de octubre, el primer ministro japonés, Shinzo Abe, anunció que su gobierno aumentaría la tasa del impuesto al consumo del país de 5% a 8% en el próximo mes de abril, y supuestamente a 10% 18 meses después de esa fecha. El contraste con lo que hoy está sucediendo en Estados Unidos no podría ser más marcado. Mientras los opositores domésticos del presidente norteamericano, Barack Obama, se resisten a aceptar la legislación sobre atención médica que lleva su firma, debido a las transferencias de riqueza que conlleva, los burócratas japoneses intentan recuperar la autoridad para administrar los ingresos tributarios destinados a sustentar los programas de bienestar social

Existen muchos argumentos para aumentar la tasa del impuesto al consumo de Japón. El gobierno japonés tiene una alta carga de deuda y su tasa del impuesto al consumo es mucho más baja que las tasas del impuesto al valor agregado que prevalecen en Europa. Al mismo tiempo, la tasa efectiva del impuesto corporativo en Japón es más alta que en otras partes, lo que hace que a Japón le resulte difícil atraer inversiones, extranjeras o domésticas. Para sobrevivir a la competencia impositiva internacional -y así poder recurrir a los impuestos corporativos como fuente de ingresos-, debería reducirse la tasa del impuesto corporativo de Japón en el largo plazo.

Sin embargo, ahora que la economía de Japón apenas empieza a recuperarse de más de 15 años de estancamiento, un incremento marcado del impuesto al consumo no es aconsejable. De hecho, rara vez -si es que alguna vez sucedió- se intentó un alza tan importante, debido al riesgo de que alentara a los consumidores a gastar antes de que entrara en vigencia, reduciendo así el consumo futuro. Es más, cualquier aumento repentino de la carga tributaria resulta en pérdidas muy pesadas.

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