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Estimating the scale of profit shifting and tax revenue losses related to foreign direct investment

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  • Petr Janský

    (Charles University)

  • Miroslav Palanský

    (Charles University)

Abstract

Governments’ revenues are lower when multinational enterprises avoid paying corporate income tax by shifting their profits to tax havens. In this paper, we ask which countries’ tax revenues are affected most by this tax avoidance and how much. To estimate the scale of profit shifting, we begin by observing that the higher the share of foreign direct investment from tax havens, the lower the reported rate of return on this investment. Similarly to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s World Investment Report 2015, we argue that the reported rate of return is lower due to profit shifting. Unlike the report, however, we provide illustrative country-level estimates of profit shifting for as many countries as possible, including low-income ones, which enables us to study the distributional effects of international corporate tax avoidance. We compare estimated corporate tax revenue losses, relative to their GDP and tax revenues, of country groups classified by income per capita and we find that there are almost no statistically significant differences across these groups. Furthermore, we compare our results with four other recent studies that use different methodologies to estimate tax revenue losses due to profit shifting. In the first such comparison made, we find that most studies identify some differences across income groups, but the nature of these differences varies across the studies.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:26:y:2019:i:5:d:10.1007_s10797-019-09547-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-019-09547-8
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    Cited by:

    1. Hayato Kato & Hirofumi Okoshi, 2022. "Economic Integration And Agglomeration Of Multinational Production With Transfer Pricing," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 63(3), pages 1325-1355, August.
    2. Amendolagine, Vito & De Pascale, Gianluigi & Faccilongo, Nicola, 2021. "International capital mobility and corporate tax revenues: How do controlled foreign company rules and innovation shape this relationship?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    3. David Bradbury, & Tibor Hanappi & Anne Moore, . "Estimating the fiscal effects of base erosion and profit shifting: data availability and analytical issues," UNCTAD Transnational Corporations Journal, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    4. Alex Cobham & Petr Janský & Chris Jones & Yama Temouri, . "An evaluation of the effects of the European Commission's proposals for the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base," UNCTAD Transnational Corporations Journal, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    5. Wildmer Daniel Gregori & Michela Nardo, 2021. "The effect of restrictive measures on cross‐border investment in the European Union," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(7), pages 1914-1943, July.
    6. María T. Álvarez-Martínez & Salvador Barrios & Diego d'Andria & Maria Gesualdo & Gaetan Nicodeme & Jonathan Pycroft, 2022. "How large is the corporate tax base erosion and profit shifting? A general equilibrium approach," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 167-198, April.
    7. Alessandro Ferrari & Sébastien Laffitte & Mathieu Parenti & Farid Toubal, 2022. "Profit Shifting Frictions and the Geography of Multinational Activity," Working Papers ECARES 2022-33, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Petr Janský & Jan Láznička & Miroslav Palanský, 2021. "Tax treaties worldwide: Estimating elasticities and revenue foregone," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 359-401, May.
    9. Katarzyna Bilicka & André Seidel, 2020. "Profit shifting and corruption," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(5), pages 1051-1080, October.
    10. Javier Garcia-Bernardo & Petr Janský & Thomas Tørsløv, 2021. "Multinational corporations and tax havens: evidence from country-by-country reporting," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 28(6), pages 1519-1561, December.
    11. 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.
    12. Athiphat Muthitacharoen, 2020. "Assessing Tax Burden Differential Between Foreign Multinationals and Local Firms: Implications for FDI Tax Incentives," PIER Discussion Papers 127, Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Laudage, Sabine, 2020. "Corporate tax revenue and foreign direct investment: Potential trade-offs and how to address them," IDOS Discussion Papers 17/2020, German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS).
    14. MUKUNOKI Hiroshi & OKOSHI Hirofumi, 2022. "Antidumping on Tax-induced Dumping," Discussion papers 22063, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    15. Javier Garcia-Bernardo & Petr Janský & Thomas Tørsløv, 2022. "Decomposing Multinational Corporations’ Declining Effective Tax Rates," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 70(2), pages 338-381, June.
    16. Javier Garcia-Bernardo & Petr Jansk'y, 2022. "Profit Shifting of Multinational Corporations Worldwide," Papers 2201.08444, arXiv.org.
    17. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Foreign direct investment; Corporate income tax; Tax avoidance; Base erosion; Profit shifting; Tax havens; Inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • 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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