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Taxation and capital structure: Empirical evidence from a quasi-experiment in China

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  • An, Zhiyong

Abstract

China's new Corporate Income Tax Law was passed in March 2007 and took effect on January 1, 2008. It terminated the dual corporate income tax regime by removing the preferential tax treatments offered to foreign investment enterprises (FIEs) and unifying the corporate income tax regime for FIEs and Chinese domestic enterprises (DEs). This paper uses a difference-in-differences approach to determine whether FIEs responded to the law by raising debt ratios. Employing the Chinese Industrial Enterprises Database from 2002 to 2008 to implement the analysis, we find that FIEs have responded to the law by raising debt ratios; the treatment effect is larger for Hong Kong–Macau–Taiwan (HMT) investment enterprises than for other FIEs, which implies that HMT investment enterprises are more sensitive and more responsive to the removal of the preferential tax treatments than other FIEs; and the treatment effect by restricting the control group to State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) is less than that by restricting the control group to Private-Owned Enterprises (POEs), which is consistent with the perception that SOEs might enjoy more favorable treatments from the Chinese government than POEs. All three findings are consistent with the tax-based theories of capital structure, and hence we conclude that taxation plays an important role in the choice of capital structure. We argue that our conclusion is not China-specific, but a general lesson for modern finance theory and is portable to developed countries.

Suggested Citation

  • An, Zhiyong, 2012. "Taxation and capital structure: Empirical evidence from a quasi-experiment in China," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 683-689.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:18:y:2012:i:4:p:683-689
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2012.04.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anwar, Sajid & Sun, Sizhong, 2015. "Can the presence of foreign investment affect the capital structure of domestic firms?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 32-43.
    2. Clemens Fuest & Li Liu, 2015. "Does ownership affect the impact of taxes on firm behaviour? Evidence from China," Working Papers 1505, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    3. José A. Clemente-Almendros & Francisco Sogorb-Mira, 2016. "The effect of taxes on the debt policy of spanish listed companies," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 359-391, August.
    4. Wei Huang, 2016. "Tunneling through related-party loan guarantees: evidence from a quasi-experiment in China," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 857-884, October.
    5. Tchankam, Jean-Paul & Feudjo, Jules Roger & Gandja, Serge Valant, 2016. "The determinants of financial structure: How to explain the “paradox of insolvency and debt” among SMEs in Cameroon?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 73-84.
    6. Tang, Erzi & Peng, Chong, 2017. "A macro- and microeconomic analysis of coal production in China," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 234-242.
    7. Nihal Bayraktar, 2013. "Foreign Direct investment and Investment Climate," EcoMod2013 5294, EcoMod.
    8. Temimi, Akram & Zeitun, Rami & Mimouni, Karim, 2016. "How does the tax status of a country impact capital structure? Evidence from the GCC region," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 37, pages 71-89.
    9. Firth, Michael & Gong, Stephen X. & Shan, Liwei, 2013. "Cost of government and firm value," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 136-152.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Taxation; Capital structure; Trade-off theory; China;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods

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