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German inbound investment, corporate tax planning, and thin-capitalization rules: a difference-in-differences approach

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  • Overesch, Michael
  • Wamser, Georg

Abstract

This paper investigates tax planning behavior by means of inter-company finance and the effectiveness of fighting back via thin-capitalization rules. A simple theoretical model, which considers the financing decision of a multinational company, is used to obtain empirical implications. The empirical analysis, based on German inbound investment data from 1996 until 2004, supports a significant impact of tax rate differences on the use of intra-company debt. The effectiveness of the German thin-capitalization rule is tested by using legal amendments as natural experiments. The results suggest that the German thin-capitalization rule induces significantly lower intra-firm debt-levels of inbound investments. Hence, tax planning via intra-firm finance is effectively limited. --

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 06-75.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5468

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Keywords: Corporate Income Tax; Multinationals; Thin-Capitalization Rule; Difference-in-Differences; Firm-Level Data;

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References

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  1. Thiess Buettner & Michael Overesch & Ulrich Schreiber & Georg Wamser, 2006. "The Impact of Thin-Capitalization Rules on Multinationals' Financing and Investment Decisions," Working Papers 2006-06, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
  2. Huizinga, Harry & Laeven, Luc & Nicodeme, Gaetan, 2008. "Capital structure and international debt shifting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 80-118, April.
  3. MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey K, 1990. " Do Taxes Affect Corporate Financing Decisions?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(5), pages 1471-93, December.
  4. Paolo Panteghini, 2009. "The capital structure of multinational companies under tax competition," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 59-81, February.
  5. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, Jr., 2003. "A Multinational Perspective on Capital Structure Choice and Internal Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 9715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Büttner, Thiess & Overesch, Michael & Schreiber, Ulrich & Wamser, Georg, 2006. "Taxation and capital structure choice: evidence from a panel of German multinationals," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-67, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Fred Ramb & Alfons Weichenrieder, 2004. "Taxes and the Financial Structure of German Inward FDI," CESifo Working Paper Series 1355, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Jack M. Mintz & Michael Smart, 2001. "Income Shifting, Investment, and Tax Competition: Theory and Evidence from Provincial Taxation in Canada," International Tax Program Papers 0402, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised Apr 2003.
  9. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  10. Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Natural and Quasi- Experiments in Economics," NBER Technical Working Papers 0170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Clemens Fuest & Thomas Hemmelgarn, 2003. "Corporate Tax Policy, Foreign Firm Ownership and Thin Capitalization," CESifo Working Paper Series 1096, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  13. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Maßbaum, Alexandra & Sureth, Caren, 2008. "The impact of thin capitalization rules on shareholder financing," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 39, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

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