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Optimal tax routing: network analysis of FDI diversion

Author

Listed:
  • Maarten ‘t Riet

    (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

  • Arjan Lejour

    (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis
    Tilburg University)

Abstract

The international corporate tax system is considered a network. Just like for transportation, “shortest” paths are computed, which minimize tax payments for multinational enterprises when they repatriate profits. We include corporate income tax rates, withholding taxes on dividends, double tax treaties, and double taxation relief methods. We find that treaty shopping leads to an average potential reduction of the tax burden on repatriated dividends of about 6% points. An indicator for centrality in the tax network identifies the UK, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands as the most important conduit countries. Low-tax havens do not have a crucial role in reducing dividend repatriation taxes. By contrast, tax haven financial centres do. In the regressions we find that the centrality measures are robustly significant explanatory variables for bilateral FDI stocks. This also holds for our treaty shopping indicator.

Suggested Citation

  • Maarten ‘t Riet & Arjan Lejour, 2018. "Optimal tax routing: network analysis of FDI diversion," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(5), pages 1321-1371, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:25:y:2018:i:5:d:10.1007_s10797-018-9491-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-018-9491-6
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    Cited by:

    1. Breinlich, Holger & Leromain, Elsa & Novy, Dennis & Sampson, Thomas, 2020. "Voting with their money: Brexit and outward investment by UK firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 124(C).
    2. Sunghoon Hong, 2018. "Tax treaties and foreign direct investment: a network approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(5), pages 1277-1320, October.
    3. Lejour, Arjan & Mohlmann, Jan & van't Riet, Maarten & Benschop, Thijs, 2019. "Dutch Shell Companies and International Tax Planning," Discussion Paper 2019-024, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Tembo Nakamoto & Odile Rouhban & Yuichi Ikeda, 2020. "Location-sector analysis of international profit shifting on a multilayer ownership-tax network," Evolutionary and Institutional Economics Review, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 219-241, January.
    5. Ronald B. Davies & Neill Killeen, 2018. "The Effect of Tax Treaties on Market Based Finance: Evidence using Firm-Level Data," Working Papers 201818, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    6. Sebastian Beer & Jan Loeprick, 2018. "The Cost and Benefits of Tax Treaties with Investment Hubs: Findings from Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 2018/227, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Barrios, Salvador & d'Andria, Diego & Gesualdo, Maria, 2020. "Reducing tax compliance costs through corporate tax base harmonization in the European Union," Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    8. Laudage, Sabine, 2020. "Corporate tax revenue and foreign direct investment: Potential trade-offs and how to address them," Discussion Papers 17/2020, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
    9. Kunka Petkova, 2021. "Withholding tax rates on dividends: symmetries versus asymmetries or single- versus multi-rated double tax treaties," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 28(4), pages 890-940, August.
    10. Kunka Petkova & Andrzej Stasio & Martin Zagler, 2020. "On the relevance of double tax treaties," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(3), pages 575-605, June.
    11. Klein, Daniel & Ludwig, Christopher A. & Nicolay, Katharina & Spengel, Christoph, 2021. "Quantifying the OECD BEPS indicators: An update to BEPS Action 11," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-013, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    12. Lejour, Arjan, 2021. "The Role of Conduit Countries and Tax Havens in Corporate Tax Avoidance," Discussion Paper 2021-014, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    13. European Commission, 2018. "Tax Policies in the European Union: 2018 Survey," Taxation Survey 2018, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    14. Lejour, Arjan & Mohlmann, Jan & van't Riet, Maarten & Benschop, Thijs, 2019. "Dutch Shell Companies and International Tax Planning," Discussion Paper 2019-024, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    15. Lejour, Arjan, 2021. "The Role of Conduit Countries and Tax Havens in Corporate Tax Avoidance," Other publications TiSEM e0530ca3-b3b3-4aca-826b-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    16. Sebastian Beer & Jan Loeprick, 2021. "Too high a price? Tax treaties with investment hubs in Sub-Saharan Africa," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 28(1), pages 113-153, February.
    17. Shafik Hebous, 2020. "Global Firms, National Corporate Taxes: An Evolution of Incompatibility," CESifo Working Paper Series 8568, CESifo.
    18. Kunka Petkova & Andrzej Leszek Stasio & Martin Zagler, 2020. "Bilateral Tax Competition and Regional Spillovers in Tax Treaty Formation," JRC Working Papers on Taxation & Structural Reforms 2020-07, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    19. European Commission, 2017. "Tax Policies in the European Union: 2017 Survey," Taxation Survey 2017, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corporate taxation; Tax treaties; Treaty shopping; Tax havens; Shortest path;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods

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