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Tax-Optimal Step-Up and Imperfect Loss Offset

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  • Markus Diller

    ()
    (University of Passau)

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    Abstract

    In the field of mergers and acquisitions, German and international tax law allow for several opportunities to step up a firm's assets, i.e., to revaluate the assets at fair market values. When a step-up is performed the taxpayer recognizes a taxable gain, but also obtains tax benefits in the form of higher future depreciation allowances associated with stepping up the tax base of the assets. This tax-planning problem is well known in taxation literature and can also be applied to firm valuation in the presence of taxation. However, the known models usually assume a perfect loss offset. If this assumption is abandoned, the depreciation allowances may lose value as they become tax effective at a later point in time, or even never if there are not enough cash flows to be offset against. This aspect is especiallyrelevant if future cash flows are assumed to be uncertain. This paper shows that a step-up may be disadvantageous or a firm overvalued if these aspects are not integrated into the basic calculus. Compared to the standard approach, assets should be stepped up only in a few cases and - under specific conditions - at a later point in time. Firm values may be considerably lower under imperfect loss offset.

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    File URL: http://www.business-research.org/2012/1/accounting/3308/diller-tax-optimal.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by German Academic Association for Business Research in its journal BuR - Business Research.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 (May)
    Pages: 8-23

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    Handle: RePEc:vhb:journl:v:5:y:2012:i:1:p:8-23

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    Related research

    Keywords: CAPM; business taxation; hidden reserves; step-up;

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    1. Gryglewicz, Sebastian & Huisman, Kuno J.M. & Kort, Peter M., 2008. "Finite project life and uncertainty effects on investment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 2191-2213, July.
    2. Schipper, Katherine & Smith, Abbie, 1991. "Effects of Management Buyouts on Corporate Interest and Depreciation Tax Deductions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 295-341, October.
    3. Erickson, Merle & Wang, Shiing-wu, 2000. "The effect of transaction structure on price: Evidence from subsidiary sales," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 59-97, August.
    4. DeAngelo, Harry & Masulis, Ronald W., 1980. "Optimal capital structure under corporate and personal taxation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 3-29, March.
    5. McDonald, Robert & Siegel, Daniel, 1986. "The Value of Waiting to Invest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(4), pages 707-27, November.
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