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Do transfer pricing laws limit international income shifting? Evidence from European multinationals

  • Theresa Lohse

    (University of Mannheim)

  • Nadine Riedel

    ()

    (University of Hohenheim, CESifo Munich & Oxford University CBT)

In recent years several countries have augmented their national tax laws by transfer pricing legislations which intend to limit the leeway of multinational fi rms to exploit international corporate tax rate diverences and relocate profit to low-tax affiliates by distorting intra-firm transfer prices. The aim of this paper is to empirically investigate whether these laws are instrumental in restricting shifting behaviour. To do so, we exploit unique information on the scope and evolution of national transfer pricing laws and link it with panel data on European multinationals. In line with previous studies, we find evidence for tax-motivated profit shifting. The analysis further suggests that transfer pricing rules significantly reduce shifting activities. The effect is economically relevant, suggesting that the legislations may be socially desirable despite the high administrative burden they impose on fi rms and tax authorities.

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Paper provided by Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation in its series Working Papers with number 1307.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:btx:wpaper:1307
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  1. Martin Ruf & Alfons Weichenrieder, 2009. "The Taxation of Passive Foreign Investment - Lessons from German Experience," CESifo Working Paper Series 2624, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Buettner, Thiess & Wamser, Georg, 2013. "Internal Debt And Multinational Profit Shifting: Empirical Evidence From Firm-Level Panel Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 66(1), pages 63-95, March.
  3. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons from Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 305-22, June.
  4. Huizinga, Harry & Laeven, Luc & Nicodème, Gaëtan, 2006. "Capital Structure and International Debt Shifting," CEPR Discussion Papers 5882, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Swenson, Deborah L., 2001. "Tax Reforms and Evidence of Transfer Pricing," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 7-26, March.
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