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Cross-Country Comparisons of Corporate Income Taxes

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  • Kevin S. Markle
  • Douglas A. Shackelford

Abstract

To our knowledge, this paper provides the most comprehensive analysis of firm-level corporate income taxes to date. We use publicly available financial statement information for 11,602 public corporations from 82 countries from 1988 to 2009 to estimate country-level effective tax rates (ETRs). We find that the location of a multinational and its subsidiaries substantially affects its worldwide ETR. Japanese firms always faced the highest ETRs. U.S. multinationals are among the highest taxed. Multinationals based in tax havens face the lowest taxes. We find that ETRs have been falling over the last two decades; however, the ordinal rank from high-tax countries to low-tax countries has changed little. We also find little difference between the ETRs of multinationals and domestic-only firms. Besides enhancing our knowledge about international taxes, these findings should provide some empirical underpinning for ongoing policy debates about the taxation of multinationals.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16839.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Publication status: published as Markle, Kevin S. and Douglas A. Shackelford, “Cross-Country Comparisons of Corporate Income Taxes,” National Tax Journal 65:3, September 2012, 493-527.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16839

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  1. Harry Huizinga & Luc Laeven & Gaëtan Nicodème, 2007. "Capital Structure and International Debt Shifting," Working Papers CEB 07-015.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Huizinga, Harry & Laeven, Luc, 2008. "International profit shifting within multinationals: A multi-country perspective," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1164-1182, June.
  3. Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2004. "What has been the tax competition experience of the past 20 years?," IFS Working Papers W04/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Patricia Born & W. Viscusi, 2006. "The catastrophic effects of natural disasters on insurance markets," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 55-72, September.
  5. Douglas Shackelford & Joel Slemrod & James Sallee, 2011. "Financial reporting, tax, and real decisions: toward a unifying framework," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 461-494, August.
  6. Hanlon, Michelle & Heitzman, Shane, 2010. "A review of tax research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 127-178, December.
  7. John Graham & Jana Raedy & Douglas Shackelford, 2010. "Research in Accounting for Income Taxes," NBER Working Papers 15665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Collins, Julie H. & Shackelford, Douglas A., 1997. "Global organizations and taxes: An analysis of the dividend, interest, royalty, and management fee payments between U.S. multinationals' foreign affiliates," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 151-173, December.
  9. David F. Bradford & Don Fullerton, 1981. "Pitfalls in the Construction and Use of Effective Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 0688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Julie H. Collins & Douglas A. Shackelford, 2003. "Do U.S. Multinationals Face Different Tax Burdens than Other Companies?," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 17, pages 141-168 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Keller, Sara & Schanz, Deborah, 2013. "Tax attractiveness and the location of German-controlled subsidiaries," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 142, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

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