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Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance in Developing Countries: The Role of International Profit Shifting

Author

Listed:
  • Clemens Fuest

    (Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation)

  • Nadine Riedel

    (Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation)

Abstract

In the debate on the impact of illicit capital flows on developing countries, the view is widespread that profit shifting to low tax jurisdictions undermines the ability of developing countries to raise tax revenue. While the shifting of income out of developed countries is a widely debated issue, empirical evidence on the magnitude of the problem and on the factors driving income shifting is scarce. This paper reviews the literature on tax avoidance and evasion through border crossing income shifting out of developing countries. Moreover, we discuss methods and available datasets which can be used to gain new insights into the problem of corporate income shifting. We argue that results of many existing studies on tax avoidance and evasion in developing countries are difficult to interpret, mainly because the measurement concepts used have a number of drawbacks. We discuss some alternative methods and datasets and present some empirical evidence which supports the view that profit shifting out of many developing countries and into tax havens takes place.

Suggested Citation

  • Clemens Fuest & Nadine Riedel, 2010. "Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance in Developing Countries: The Role of International Profit Shifting," Working Papers 1012, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  • Handle: RePEc:btx:wpaper:1012
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    Cited by:

    1. Granda, María L., 2021. "Tax haven ownership and business groups: Tax avoidance incentives in Ecuadorian firms," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 698-708.
    2. Hebous, Shafik & Lipatov, Vilen, 2014. "A journey from a corruption port to a tax haven," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 739-754.
    3. Hayley Reynolds & Ludvig Wier, 2016. "Estimating profit shifting in South Africa using firm-level tax returns," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-128, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Samer Khouri & Lubos Elexa & Michal Istok & Andrea Rosova, 2019. "A Study from Slovakia on the Transfer of Slovak Companies to Tax Havens and Their Impact on the Sustainability of the Status of a Business Entity," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(10), pages 1-18, May.
    5. Alex Cobham & Petr Janský, 2017. "Global distribution of revenue loss from tax avoidance: Re-estimation and country results," WIDER Working Paper Series 055, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Fuest, Clemens & Spengel, Christoph & Finke, Katharina & Heckemeyer, Jost H. & Nusser, Hannah, 2013. "Profit shifting and 'aggressive' tax planning by multinational firms: Issues and options for reform," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-078, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    7. Richard Bolwijn & Bruno Casella & Davide Rigo, . "An FDI-driven approach to measuring the scale and economic impact of BEPS," UNCTAD Transnational Corporations Journal, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    8. Caroline Schimanski, 2018. "Do multinational companies shift profits out of developing countries?: How data availability may hide the evidence," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-52, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Nitsch, Volker, 2011. "Trade Mispricing and Illicit Flows," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 77397, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
    10. Hayley Reynolds & Ludvig Wier, 2016. "Estimating profit shifting in South Africa using firm-level tax returns," WIDER Working Paper Series 128, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Shafik Hebous, 2014. "Money at the Docks of Tax Havens: A Guide," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 70(3), pages 458-485, September.
    12. Alex Cobham & Petr Janský & Alex Prats, 2014. "Estimating Illicit Flows of Capital via Trade Mispricing: A Forensic Analysis of Data on Switzerland - Working Paper 350," Working Papers 350, Center for Global Development.
    13. Kodjo Adandohoin & Jean-Francois Brun, 2020. "Are incomes and property taxes effective instruments for tax transition?," Working Papers hal-03053683, HAL.
    14. Joel Cooper & Randall Fox & Jan Loeprick & Komal Mohindra, 2016. "Transfer Pricing and Developing Economies," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 25095, July.
    15. Caroline Schimanski, 2018. "Do multinational companies shift profits out of developing countries?: How data availability may hide the evidence," WIDER Working Paper Series 52, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    16. Mardan, Mohammed & Stimmelmayr, Michael, 2020. "Tax competition between developed, emerging, and developing countries – Same same but different?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    17. Alex Cobham & Petr Janský, 2017. "Global distribution of revenue loss from tax avoidance: Re-estimation and country results," WIDER Working Paper Series 055, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    18. Giulia Zilio, 2017. "Cross-Country Differences in Corporate Tax Rates, Anti-Tax Avoidance Rules, and Base Erosion Profit Shifting," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1701, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.

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