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Transfer Pricing and Debt Shifting in Multinationals

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  • Dirk Schindler
  • Guttorm Schjelderup

Abstract

There is a growing concern that governments lose substantial corporate tax revenue because of profit shifting through transfer-pricing and thin-capitalization strategies. Existing literature studies profit shifting and transfer pricing separately. In practice, the choice of debt-to-asset ratios in affiliates and the transfer price of debt are interrelated management decisions that are also mutually affected by government regulation. This paper models these strategies as intertwined. We find that the tax sensitivity of the corporate tax base depends on whether the debt shifting and transfer pricing are cost complements or substitutes. A second result is that stricter regulation of debt shifting (transfer pricing) can potentially increase the use of transfer pricing (debt shifting) and thus the amount of profits shifted.

Suggested Citation

  • Dirk Schindler & Guttorm Schjelderup, 2013. "Transfer Pricing and Debt Shifting in Multinationals," CESifo Working Paper Series 4381, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4381
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jarle Møen & Dirk Schindler & Guttorm Schjelderup & Julia Tropina, 2011. "International Debt Shifting: Do Multinationals Shift Internal or External Debt?," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2011-40, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
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    6. Buettner, Thiess & Overesch, Michael & Schreiber, Ulrich & Wamser, Georg, 2009. "Taxation and capital structure choice--Evidence from a panel of German multinationals," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 309-311, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mardan, Mohammed, 2017. "Why countries differ in thin capitalization rules: The role of financial development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 1-14.
    2. Martin Simmler, 2014. "Do multinational firms invest more? On the impact of internal debt financing on capital accumulation," Working Papers 1424, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    3. Schindler, Dirk & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2012. "Debt shifting and ownership structure," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 635-647.
    4. Hansson, Åsa & Olofsdotter, Karin & Thede, Susanna, 2016. "Do Multinationals Pay Less in Taxes than Domestic Firms? Evidence from the Swedish Manufacturing Sector," Working Papers 2016:17, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    5. Kayis-Kumar, Ann, 2015. "Thin capitalisation rules: A second-best solution to the cross-border debt bias?," MPRA Paper 72031, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    multinational corporations; profit shifting; debt shifting; concealment costs;

    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
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory

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