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Income Shifting, Investment, and Tax Competition: Theory and Evidence from Provincial Taxation in Canada

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Author Info

  • Jack M. Mintz

    (University of Toronto)

  • Michael Smart

    ()
    (University of Toronto)

Abstract

We study corporate income taxation when firms operating in multiple jurisdictions can shift income using tax planning strategies. Because income of corporate groups is not consolidated for tax purposes in Canada, firms may use financial techniques, such as lending among affiliates, to reduce subnational corporate taxes. A simple theoretical model shows how income shifting affects real investment, government revenues, and tax base elasticities, depending on whether firms must allocate income to provinces or not. We then analyze data from administrative tax records to compare the behaviour of corporate subsidiaries that may engage in income shifting to comparable firms that must use the statutory allocation formula to determine their taxable in each province. The evidence suggests that income shifting has pronounced effects on provincial tax bases. According to our preferred estimate, the elasticity of taxable income with respect to tax rates for “income shifting” firms is 4.9, compared to 2.3 for other, comparable firms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto in its series International Tax Program Papers with number 0402.

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Length: 20 Pages
Date of creation: May 2001
Date of revision: Apr 2003
Handle: RePEc:ttp:itpwps:0402

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Keywords: corporate tax; tax planning; income shifting; provincial tax base; tax competition; Canada;

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References

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  1. Thiess Buettner, 1999. "Determinants of Tax Rates in Local Capital Income Taxation: A Theoretical Model and Evidence from Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 194, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. David Harris & Randall Morck & Joel B. Slemrod, 1993. "Income Shifting in U.S. Multinational Corporations," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in International Taxation, pages 277-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sam Bucovetsky & Michael Smart, 2006. "The Efficiency Consequences of Local Revenue Equalization: Tax Competition and Tax Distortions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(1), pages 119-144, 01.
  4. Haufler, Andreas & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2000. "Corporate tax systems and cross country profit shifting," Munich Reprints in Economics 20419, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Janeba, Eckhard & Peters, Wolfgang, 1999. "Tax Evasion, Tax Competition and the Gains from Nondiscrimination: The Case of Interest Taxation in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 93-101, January.
  6. Harry Grubert & Joel Slemrod, 1994. "The Effect of Taxes on Investment and Income Shifting to Puerto Rico," NBER Working Papers 4869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Roger H. Gordon & Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1995. "The Importance of Income Shifting to the Design and Analysis of Tax Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Taxing Multinational Corporations, pages 29-38 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hines, James Jr., 1994. "Credit and deferral as international investment incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 323-347, October.
  9. Gordon, Roger H & Wilson, John Douglas, 1986. "An Examination of Multijurisdictional Corporate Income Taxation under Formula Apportionment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1357-73, November.
  10. Altshuler, Rosanne & Grubert, Harry, 2003. "Repatriation taxes, repatriation strategies and multinational financial policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 73-107, January.
  11. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel, 1998. "Taxes and the location of production: evidence from a panel of US multinationals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 335-367, June.
  12. Michael Smart, 1998. "Taxation and Deadweight Loss in a System of Intergovernmental Transfers," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 189-206, February.
  13. Thomas A. Gresik, 2001. "The Taxing Task of Taxing Transnationals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 800-838, September.
  14. Vijay Jog & Jianmin Tang, 2001. "Tax Reforms, Debt Shifting and Tax Revenues: Multinational Corporations in Canada," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 5-25, January.
  15. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  16. Jack M. Mintz, 2000. "Taxation of Investment and Finance in an International Setting: Implications for Tax Competition," CoFE Discussion Paper 00-33, Center of Finance and Econometrics, University of Konstanz.
  17. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: US Economic Growth in the Information Age," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 261, OECD Publishing.
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  1. How much new revenue will be generated by an increase in federal corporate taxes?
    by Stephen Gordon in Worthwhile Canadian Initiative on 2012-03-10 21:43:59
  2. How much new revenue will be generated by an increase in federal corporate taxes?
    by Stephen Gordon in Worthwhile Canadian Initiative on 2012-03-10 21:43:59
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