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What does tax aggressiveness signal? Evidence from stock price reactions to news about tax shelter involvement

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  • Hanlon, Michelle
  • Slemrod, Joel

Abstract

We study the stock price reaction to news about corporate tax aggressiveness. We find that, on average, a company's stock price declines when there is news about its involvement in tax shelters. We find some limited evidence for cross-sectional variation in the reaction. For example, the reaction is more negative for firms in the retail sector, suggesting that part of the reaction may be a consumer/taxpayer backlash. In addition, the reaction is less negative for firms that are viewed to be generally less tax aggressive, as proxied by the firm's cash effective tax rate. We interpret this as being consistent with the market reacting positively to evidence that a firm is trying to reduce taxes when their financial reports would lead one to believe the firm is not tax aggressive.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanlon, Michelle & Slemrod, Joel, 2009. "What does tax aggressiveness signal? Evidence from stock price reactions to news about tax shelter involvement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 126-141, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:1-2:p:126-141
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Palmrose, Zoe-Vonna & Richardson, Vernon J. & Scholz, Susan, 2004. "Determinants of market reactions to restatement announcements," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 59-89, February.
    2. Slemrod, Joel, 2004. "The Economics of Corporate Tax Selfishness," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(4), pages 877-899, December.
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    5. Desai, Mihir A. & Hines, James R. Jr., 2002. "Expectations and Expatriations: Tracing the Causes and Consequences of Corporate Inversions," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(3), pages 409-440, September.
    6. Garbade, Kenneth D & Silber, William L & White, Lawrence J, 1982. "Market Reaction to the Filing of Antitrust Suits: An Aggregate and Cross-Sectional Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 686-691, November.
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