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Income shifting, investment, and tax competition: theory and evidence from provincial taxation in Canada

  • Mintz, Jack
  • Smart, Michael

We study corporate income tax competition when firms operating in multiple jurisdictions can shift income using financial planning strategies. Several such strategies, particularly intra-corporate lending, appear to be actively pursued by companies to reduce subnational corporate taxes in Canada. A simple theoretical model shows how interjurisdictional tax planning can give rise to asymmetries in jurisdictions’ tax policies, with one jurisdiction becoming a “tax haven” to attract taxable income through financial transactions, while others set higher statutory rates. Further, increased competition from tax havens may paradoxically lead to tax increases by high-tax jurisdictions. Analysis of data from administrative tax records suggests income shifting has pronounced effects on provincial tax bases in Canada. According to our preferred estimate, the elasticity of taxable income with respect to tax rates for "tax shifting" firms is 4.3, compared to 1.6 for other, comparable firms.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2004)
Issue (Month): 6 (June)
Pages: 1149-1168

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:88:y:2004:i:6:p:1149-1168
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Harry Grubert & Joel Slemrod, 1998. "The Effect Of Taxes On Investment And Income Shifting To Puerto Rico," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 365-373, August.
  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. Thiess Büttner, 1999. "Determinants of Tax Rates in Local Capital Income Taxation: A Theoretical Model and Evidence from Germany," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 56(3/4), pages 363-, July.
  4. 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.
  5. Rosanne Altshuler & Harry Grubert, 2001. "Repatriation Taxes, Repatriation Strategies and Multinational Financial Policy," NBER Working Papers 8144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. 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.
  12. Haufler, A. & Schjelderup, G., 1999. "Corporate Tax Systems and Cross Country Profit Shifting," Papers 1/99, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Thomas A. Gresik, 2001. "The Taxing Task of Taxing Transnationals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 800-838, September.
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