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The effect of the tax reform act of 1986 on the location of assets in financial services firms

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  • Altshuler, Rosanne
  • Hubbard, R. Glenn

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 on the international location decisions of U.S. financial services firms. The Act included rule changes that made it substantially more difficult for U.S. firms to defer U.S. taxes on overseas financial services income held in low-tax jurisdictions. These same rule changes were not applied to other forms of income; in particular, income generated from active manufacturing operations was still eligible for deferral after the Act. We use information from the tax returns of U.S. corporations to examine how local taxes affect the allocation of assets held abroad. We find that, before the Act, the location of assets in financial subsidiaries was responsive to differences in host country tax rates across jurisdictions. However, after the Act, differences in host country tax rates no longer explain the distribution of assets held in financial services subsidiaries abroad. In contrast, we find that assets held in manufacturing subsidiaries have become more sensitive to variations in tax rates. Our results suggest that the tightening of the anti-deferral provisions applicable to financial services companies has been successful in neutralizing the effect of host country income taxes on investment location decisions.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 87 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 109-127

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:87:y:2003:i:1:p:109-127

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Altshuler, R. & Newlon, T.S., 1991. "The Effects of US Tax Policy on the Income Repatriation Patterns of US Multinational Corporations," Discussion Papers 1991_60, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  2. Desai, Mihir A. & Hines Jr., James R., 1999. ""Basket cases": Tax incentives and international joint venture participation by American multinational firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 379-402, March.
  3. Devereux, Michael P & Hubbard, R Glenn, 2003. "Taxing Multinationals," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 469-87, August.
  4. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "The Case against Deferral: A Deferential Reconsideration," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 385-404, September.
  5. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons from Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 305-22, June.
  6. Gordon, Roger H. & Hines, James Jr, 2002. "International taxation," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 28, pages 1935-1995 Elsevier.
  7. Jason G. Cummins & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "The Tax Sensitivity of Foreign Direct Investment: Evidence from Firm-Level Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 4703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. James R. Hines, Jr. & Eric M. Rice, 1990. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," NBER Working Papers 3477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Feldstein, Martin & Hines, James R. & Hubbard, R. Glenn (ed.), 1995. "Taxing Multinational Corporations," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226240947, January.
  10. James R. Hines, Jr. & R. Glenn Hubbard & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1995. "Appendix to "Taxing Multinational Corporations"," NBER Chapters, in: Taxing Multinational Corporations, pages 103-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael P Devereux, 2007. "The Impact of Taxation on the Location of Capital, Firms and Profit: a Survey of Empirical Evidence," Working Papers 0702, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.

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