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International Corporate Tax Avoidance: A Review Of The Channels, Magnitudes, And Blind Spots

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  • Sebastian Beer
  • Ruud de Mooij
  • Li Liu

Abstract

This paper reviews the rapidly growing empirical literature on international tax avoidance by multinational corporations. It surveys evidence on the main channels of corporate tax avoidance including transfer mispricing, international debt shifting, treaty shopping, tax deferral, and corporate inversions. Moreover, it performs a meta‐analysis of the extensive literature that estimates the overall size of profit shifting. We find that the literature suggests that, on average, a 1 percentage‐point lower corporate tax rate will expand before‐tax income by 1%—an effect that is larger than reported as the consensus estimate in previous surveys and tends to be increasing over time. The literature on tax avoidance still has several unresolved puzzles and blind spots that require further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Beer & Ruud de Mooij & Li Liu, 2020. "International Corporate Tax Avoidance: A Review Of The Channels, Magnitudes, And Blind Spots," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 660-688, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:34:y:2020:i:3:p:660-688
    DOI: 10.1111/joes.12305
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    17. Niels Johannesen & Thomas Tørsløv & Ludvig Wier, 2016. "Are less developed countries more exposed to multinational tax avoidance? Method and evidence from micro-data," WIDER Working Paper Series 010, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    18. Petr Janský & Miroslav Palanský, 2019. "Estimating the scale of profit shifting and tax revenue losses related to foreign direct investment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 26(5), pages 1048-1103, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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