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Intercompany Loans and Profit Shifting – Evidence from Company-Level Data

  • Thiess Buettner
  • Georg Wamser

This paper is concerned with tax-planning strategies of multinational corporations. A theoretical analysis discusses the choice of the capital structure in a setting where intercompany loans can be used to shift profits to low-tax countries. Empirical evidence is provided using micro-level panel data of virtually all German multinationals made available by the Bundesbank. This comprehensive dataset allows us to exploit differences in taxing conditions of almost eighty countries during a period of nine years. The empirical results confirm a robust impact of tax-rate differences within the multinational group on the use of intercompany loans, supporting the profit-shifting hypothesis. However, the implied tax-revenue effects are rather small, suggesting that costs related to adjusting the capital structure for profit-shifting purposes are substantial.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2007/wp-cesifo-2007-03/cesifo1_wp1959.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1959.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1959
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  1. Haufler, A. & Schjelderup, G., 1999. "Corporate Tax Systems and Cross Country Profit Shifting," Papers 1/99, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  2. Clausing, Kimberly A., 2003. "Tax-motivated transfer pricing and US intrafirm trade prices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2207-2223, September.
  3. Jack Mintz & Alfons Weichenrieder, 2005. "Taxation and the Financial Structure of German Outbound FDI," CESifo Working Paper Series 1612, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Haufler, Andreas & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2000. "Corporate tax systems and cross country profit shifting," Munich Reprints in Economics 20419, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1989. "The financial structure of the firm and the problem of control," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(2-3), pages 286-293, March.
  6. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, 2004. "A Multinational Perspective on Capital Structure Choice and Internal Capital Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(6), pages 2451-2487, December.
  7. Ruud A. de Mooij & Sjef Ederveen, 2001. "Taxation and Foreign Direct Investment: A Synthesis of Empirical Research," CESifo Working Paper Series 588, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Büttner, Thiess & Overesch, Michael & Schreiber, Ulrich & Wamser, Georg, 2006. "Taxation and capital structure choice: evidence from a panel of German multinationals," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-67, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  9. Oliver D. Hart, 1987. "Capital Structure as a Control Mechanism in Corporations," Working papers 441, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Roger H. Gordon & Young Lee, 1999. "Do Taxes Affect Corporate Debt Policy? Evidence from US Corporate Tax Return Data," NBER Working Papers 7433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Thomas A. Gresik, 2001. "The Taxing Task of Taxing Transnationals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 800-838, September.
  13. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, Jr., 2002. "The Costs of Shared Ownership: Evidence from International Joint Ventures," NBER Chapters, in: Corporate Alliances National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey K, 1990. " Do Taxes Affect Corporate Financing Decisions?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(5), pages 1471-93, December.
  15. 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.
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