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Tax Status and Tax Response Heterogeneity of Multinationals' Debt Finance


  • Thiess Buettner
  • Michael Overesch
  • Georg Wamser


This paper analyzes how corporate taxation affects the capital structure of subsidiaries of multinational companies. The emphasis is on firm characteristics that proxy for the tax status of a subsidiary, which is crucial for the tax responsiveness of firms. Based on a comprehensive panel of German multinationals, we find that the tax sensitivity of the capital structure is significantly affected by several firm characteristics. Our results imply that well-known non-debttax shields such as depreciation allowances and loss carryforwards reduce the tax sensitivity of the debt-to-capital ratio. We also find that a higher probability of experiencing losses reduces the tax-rate sensitivity of debt financing.

Suggested Citation

  • Thiess Buettner & Michael Overesch & Georg Wamser, 2011. "Tax Status and Tax Response Heterogeneity of Multinationals' Debt Finance," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 67(2), pages 103-122, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(291106)67:2_103:tsatrh_2.0.tx_2-8
    DOI: 10.1628/001522108X588781

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jarle Møen & Dirk Schindler & Guttorm Schjelderup & Julia Tropina, 2011. "International Debt Shifting: Do Multinationals Shift Internal or External Debt?," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2011-40, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    2. Overesch Michael, 2016. "Steuervermeidung multinationaler Unternehmen," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 17(2), pages 129-143, July.
    3. Peter Egger & Valeria Merlo, 2011. "Statutory Corporate Tax Rates and Double-Taxation Treaties as Determinants of Multinational Firm Activity," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 67(2), pages 145-170, June.
    4. Guttorm Schjelderup, 2016. "The Tax Sensitivity of Debt in Multinationals: A Review," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 109-121, February.

    More about this item


    non-debttax shields; corporate taxation; debt finance; firm-level data;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill


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