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Taxation of Outbound Direct Investment: Economic Principles and Tax Policy Considerations

  • Michael P Devereux


    (Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation)

This paper reviews economic principles for optimality of the taxation of international profit, from both a global and national perspective. It argues that for traditional systems based on the residence of the investor or the source of the income, nothing less than full harmonisation across countries can achieve global optimality. The conditions for national optimality are more difficult to identify, but are most likely to imply source-based taxation. However, source-based taxation requires an allocation of the profits of multinational companies to individual jurisdictions; this is not only very difficult in practice, but in some cases is without any conceptual foundation. The taxation of interest income on a residence basis is also hard to justify if the aim of the tax system is to tax only the income arising from economic activity in a given country.

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Paper provided by Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation in its series Working Papers with number 0824.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:btx:wpaper:0824
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  1. Stephen Bond & Alexander D Klemm & Michael B. Devereux, 2007. "The Effects of Dividend Taxes on Equity Prices; A Re-examination of the 1997 U.K. Tax Reform," IMF Working Papers 07/204, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Bond, Stephen R. & Devereux, Michael P., 2003. "Generalised R-based and S-based taxes under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1291-1311, May.
  3. Mintz, Jack & Tulkens, Henry, 1996. "Optimality properties of alternative systems of taxation of foreign capital income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 373-399, June.
  4. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel, 2002. "Evaluating Tax Policy for Location Decisions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3247, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2010. "Taxing Foreign Profits With International Mergers And Acquisitions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(1), pages 171-186, 02.
  6. Huizinga, Harry & Nielsen, Soren Bo, 1997. "Capital income and profit taxation with foreign ownership of firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 149-165, February.
  7. Desai, Mihir A. & Hines, James R. Jr., 2003. "Evaluating International Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(3), pages 487-502, September.
  8. Devereux, Michael P & Hubbard, R Glenn, 2003. "Taxing Multinationals," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 10(4), pages 469-87, August.
  9. Edwards Jeremy, 2005. "Gains from Trade in Government Revenue and Pareto-Efficient International Taxation," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-25, December.
  10. Chiara Criscuolo & Ralf Martin, 2009. "Multinationals and U.S. Productivity Leadership: Evidence from Great Britain," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 263-281, May.
  11. Mihir A. Desai, 2008. "The Decentering of the Global Firm," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-054, Harvard Business School.
  12. Alan Auerbach & Michael P. Devereux & Helen Simpson, 2007. "Taxing Corporate Income," CESifo Working Paper Series 2139, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. J. E. Stiglitz & P. Dasgupta, 1971. "Differential Taxation, Public Goods, and Economic Efficiency," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 151-174.
  14. Bonds, Stephen R. & Devereux, Michael P., 1995. "On the design of a neutral business tax under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 57-71, September.
  15. Michael Keen & Hannu Piekkola, 1996. "Simple rules for the optimal taxation of international capital income," IFS Working Papers W96/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. Michael Keen, 1993. "The welfare economics of tax co-ordination in the European Community : a survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 14(2), pages 15-36, February.
  17. Christian Keuschnigg & Michael P. Devereux, 2009. "The Distorting Arm's Length Principle," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2009 2009-20, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  18. Michael P. Devereux, 2004. "Some Optimal Tax Rules for International Portfolio and Direct Investment," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(1), pages 1-, April.
  19. Huizinga, Harry & Nielsen, Soren Bo, 2002. "The coordination of capital income and profit taxation with cross-ownership of firms," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-26, January.
  20. Michael Keen & David Wildasin, 2004. "Pareto-Efficient International Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 259-275, March.
  21. Thomas Horst, 1980. "A Note on the Optimal Taxation of International Investment Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 793-798.
  22. Michael P. Devereux & Peter Birch Sørensen, 2006. "The Corporate Income Tax: international trends and options for fundamental reform," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 264, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  23. Joel Slemrod, 1994. "Free-Trade Taxation and Protectionist Taxation," NBER Working Papers 4902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Bond, Stephen Roy & Devereux, Michael P., 2002. "Cash Flow Taxes in an Open Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3401, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Michael P Devereux & Simon Loretz, 2008. "Increased efficiency through consolidation and formula apportionment in the European Union?," Working Papers 0812, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  26. Gordon, Roger H. & Bradford, David F., 1980. "Taxation and the stock market valuation of capital gains and dividends : Theory and emphirical results," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 109-136, October.
  27. Devereux, Michael P. & Pearson, Mark, 1995. "European tax harmonisation and production efficiency," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1657-1681, December.
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