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Are Multinational Corporate Tax Rules as Important as Tax Rates?

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  • Lee, Namryoung
  • Swenson, Charles
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    Abstract

    Previous research has documented the influence of statutory tax rates on international firms' effective tax rates, or ETRs. We add to this body of research by examining common factors of the income tax base, which affects ETRs. Specifically, this study examines the determinants of effective tax rates for publicly traded companies based in European Union (EU) countries. The time period examined is after 2004, when all EU firms were required to use standardized accounting principles under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). We find that, across EU countries, such factors are relatively consistent with factors found in studies of U.S. companies' effective tax rates, which include inventory, leverage, depreciation tax shield, and R&D intensity. We also find that the presence of country book-tax conformity rules increases effective rates. Importantly, our finding that such tax base (or rule) effects are at least as important as rate effects adds to the international debate about uneven tax structures around the globe.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020706312000362
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal The International Journal of Accounting.

    Volume (Year): 47 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 155-167

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:accoun:v:47:y:2012:i:2:p:155-167

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620179

    Related research

    Keywords: Tax avoidance; Multinational taxation;

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    1. Bartelsman, Eric J. & Beetsma, Roel M. W. J., 2003. "Why pay more? Corporate tax avoidance through transfer pricing in OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2225-2252, September.
    2. Kevin S. Markle & Douglas Shackelford, 2009. "Do Multinationals or Domestic Firms Face Higher Effective Tax Rates?," NBER Working Papers 15091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Slemrod, Joel, 2004. "Are corporate tax rates, or countries, converging?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1169-1186, June.
    4. Julie Collins & Douglas Shackelford, 1995. "Corporate domicile and average effective tax rates: The cases of Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 55-83, February.
    5. Roger Gordon & Laura Kalambokidis & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "A New Summary Measure of the Effective Tax Rate on Investment," NBER Working Papers 9535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gupta, Sanjay & Newberry, Kaye, 1997. "Determinants of the variability in corporate effective tax rates: Evidence from longitudinal data," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-34.
    7. Hsiao,Cheng, 2003. "Analysis of Panel Data," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521522717, December.
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