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


  • Clemens Fuest

    () (Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation)

  • Nadine Riedel

    () (Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation)


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. 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.
    2. 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 - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. 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).
    4. 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.
    5. Joel Cooper & Randall Fox & Jan Loeprick & Komal Mohindra, 2016. "Transfer Pricing and Developing Economies," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 25095.
    6. Nitsch, Volker, 2011. "Trade mispricing and illicit flows," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 206, Darmstadt University of Technology, Department of Law and Economics.
    7. 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.
    8. 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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