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Are family firms more tax aggressive than non-family firms?

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  • Chen, Shuping
  • Chen, Xia
  • Cheng, Qiang
  • Shevlin, Terry
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    Abstract

    Taxes represent a significant cost to the firm and shareholders, and it is generally expected that shareholders prefer tax aggressiveness. However, this argument ignores potential non-tax costs that can accompany tax aggressiveness, especially those arising from agency problems. Firms owned/run by founding family members are characterized by a unique agency conflict between dominant and small shareholders. Using multiple measures to capture tax aggressiveness and founding family presence, we find that family firms are less tax aggressive than their non-family counterparts, ceteris paribus. This result suggests that family owners are willing to forgo tax benefits to avoid the non-tax cost of a potential price discount, which can arise from minority shareholders' concern with family rent-seeking masked by tax avoidance activities [Desai and Dharmapala, 2006. Corporate tax avoidance and high-powered incentives. Journal of Financial Economics 79, 145-179]. Our result is also consistent with family owners being more concerned with the potential penalty and reputation damage from an IRS audit than non-family firms. We obtain similar inferences when using a small sample of tax shelter cases.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Financial Economics.

    Volume (Year): 95 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 41-61

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:95:y:2010:i:1:p:41-61

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505576

    Related research

    Keywords: Tax aggressiveness Family firms Non-tax costs Agency problems;

    References

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    1. Desai, Mihir A. & Dyck, Alexander & Zingales, Luigi, 2007. "Theft and taxes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 591-623, June.
    2. Paul Hribar, 2002. "Errors in Estimating Accruals: Implications for Empirical Research," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 105-134, 03.
    3. Ali, Ashiq & Chen, Tai-Yuan & Radhakrishnan, Suresh, 2007. "Corporate disclosures by family firms," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1-2), pages 238-286, September.
    4. 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.
    5. Mihir A. Desai & Dhammika Dharmapala, 2004. "Corporate Tax Avoidance and High Powered Incentives," Working papers 2004-09, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    6. Shackelford, Douglas A. & Shevlin, Terry, 2001. "Empirical tax research in accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 321-387, September.
    7. Dechun Wang, 2006. "Founding Family Ownership and Earnings Quality," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 619-656, 06.
    8. Zimmerman, Jerold L., 1983. "Taxes and firm size," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 119-149, April.
    9. Graham, John R. & Tucker, Alan L., 2006. "Tax shelters and corporate debt policy," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 563-594, September.
    10. Villalonga, Belen & Amit, Raphael, 2006. "How do family ownership, control and management affect firm value?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 385-417, May.
    11. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
    12. Anderson, Ronald C. & Mansi, Sattar A. & Reeb, David M., 2003. "Founding family ownership and the agency cost of debt," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 263-285, May.
    13. Joos, P.P.M. & Leone, A. & Zimmerman, J., 2003. "Selecting CEOs: Matching the person to the job," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5661215, Tilburg University.
    14. Shuping Chen & Xia Chen & Qiang Cheng, 2008. "Do Family Firms Provide More or Less Voluntary Disclosure?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 499-536, 06.
    15. Gaspar, Jose-Miguel & Massa, Massimo & Matos, Pedro, 2005. "Shareholder investment horizons and the market for corporate control," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 135-165, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Simon Loretz & Padraig J. Moore, 2009. "Corporate tax competition between firms," Working Papers 2009/19, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Taylor, Grantley & Richardson, Grant, 2012. "International Corporate Tax Avoidance Practices: Evidence from Australian Firms," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 469-496.
    3. Lim, Youngdeok, 2011. "Tax avoidance, cost of debt and shareholder activism: Evidence from Korea," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 456-470, February.
    4. Hope, Ole-Kristian & Ma, Mark (Shuai) & Thomas, Wayne B., 2013. "Tax avoidance and geographic earnings disclosure," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 170-189.
    5. Armstrong, Christopher S. & Blouin, Jennifer L. & Jagolinzer, Alan D. & Larcker, David F., 2013. "Corporate Governance, Incentives, and Tax Avoidance," Research Papers 2134, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    6. King, Roger & Peng, Winnie Qian, 2013. "The effect of industry characteristics on the control longevity of founding-family firms," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 281-295.
    7. Richardson, Grant & Lanis, Roman & Leung, Sidney Chi-Moon, 2014. "Corporate tax aggressiveness, outside directors, and debt policy: An empirical analysis," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 107-121.
    8. Hill, Matthew D. & Kubick, Thomas R. & Brandon Lockhart, G. & Wan, Huishan, 2013. "The effectiveness and valuation of political tax minimization," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 2836-2849.
    9. Robert Krämer & Vilen Lipatov, 2013. "The Effect of Corporate Taxation and Ownership on Raising Shareholder Capital," CESifo Working Paper Series 4436, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Karampinis, Nikolaos I. & Hevas, Dimosthenis L., 2013. "Effects of IFRS Adoption on Tax-induced Incentives for Financial Earnings Management: Evidence from Greece," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 218-247.
    11. Hasan, Iftekhar & Hoi, Chun Keung (Stan) & Wu, Qiang & Zhang, Hao, 2014. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: The effect of corporate tax avoidance on the cost of bank loans," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 109-130.
    12. Hongfei Tang, 2014. "Are CEO stock option grants optimal? Evidence from family firms and non-family firms around the Sarbanes–Oxley Act," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 251-292, February.
    13. Aaron Crabtree & Thomas Kubick, 2014. "Corporate tax avoidance and the timeliness of annual earnings announcements," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 51-67, January.
    14. Chyz, James A., 2013. "Personally tax aggressive executives and corporate tax sheltering," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 311-328.
    15. Badertscher, Brad A. & Katz, Sharon P. & Rego, Sonja O., 2013. "The separation of ownership and control and corporate tax avoidance," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 228-250.
    16. Kim, Jeong-Bon & Li, Yinghua & Zhang, Liandong, 2011. "Corporate tax avoidance and stock price crash risk: Firm-level analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 639-662, June.
    17. Chyz, James A. & Ching Leung, Winnie Siu & Zhen Li, Oliver & Meng Rui, Oliver, 2013. "Labor unions and tax aggressiveness," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(3), pages 675-698.
    18. Hanlon, Michelle & Heitzman, Shane, 2010. "A review of tax research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 127-178, December.

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