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

Author

Listed:
  • Theresa Lohse

    (University of Mannheim)

  • Nadine Riedel

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Theresa Lohse & Nadine Riedel, 2013. "Do transfer pricing laws limit international income shifting? Evidence from European multinationals," Working Papers 1307, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  • Handle: RePEc:btx:wpaper:1307
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Huizinga, Harry & Laeven, Luc & Nicodeme, Gaetan, 2008. "Capital structure and international debt shifting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 80-118, April.
    3. Swenson, Deborah L., 2001. "Tax Reforms and Evidence of Transfer Pricing," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(1), pages 7-26, March.
    4. Martin Ruf & Alfons J. Weichenrieder, 2012. "The taxation of passive foreign investment: lessons from German experience," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1504-1528, November.
    5. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons From Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(2), pages 305-322, June.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corporate taxation; international pro t shifting; transfer pricing laws;

    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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