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Income Shifting in U.S. Multinational Corporations

In: Studies in International Taxation

Author

Listed:
  • David Harris
  • Randall Morck
  • Joel B. Slemrod

Abstract

It is often claimed that multinational firms avoid taxes by shifting income from high-tax to low-tax countries. Using a five year panel of data for two hundred large U.S. manufacturing firms, we find that U.S. tax liability, as a fraction either of U.S. sales or U.S. assets, is related to the location of foreign subsidiaries in a way that is consistent with tax-motivated income shifting. Having a subsidiary in a tax haven, Ireland, or one of the "four dragon" Asian countries - all characterized by low tax rates - is associated with lower U.S. tax ratios. Having a subsidiary in a high-tax region is associated with higher U.S. tax ratios. These results suggest that U.S. manufacturing companies shift income out of high-tax countries into the U.S., and from the U.S. to low-tax countries. Such behavior certainly lowers worldwide tax liabilities for larger U.S. manufacturing companies and appears to significantly lower their U.S. tax liabilities as well.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:8001
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Morck, Randall & Yeung, Bernard, 1991. "Why Investors Value Multinationality," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(2), pages 165-187, April.
    2. Joel Slemrod, 1990. "The Impact of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 on Foreign Direct Investment to and from the United States," NBER Working Papers 3234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. James R. Hines & Eric M. Rice, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 109(1), pages 149-182.
    4. Morck, Randall & Yeung, Bernard, 1992. "Internalization : An event study test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 41-56, August.
    5. Grubert, Harry & Mutti, John, 1991. "Taxes, Tariffs and Transfer Pricing in Multinational Corporate Decision Making," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 285-293, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business

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