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A Negotiation-Based Model of Tax-Induced Transfer Pricing

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  • Johannes Becker
  • Ronald B. Davies

Abstract

We present a new model of tax induced transfer pricing as an alternative to the oft-used concealment model. Inspired by interviews with practitioners, we consider a large multinational firm which is audited by the tax authority in the high-tax location. When this country adjusts the transfer prices proposed by the firm, the low-tax location may dispute this decision and initiate negotiations. Since negotiations are costly, the high-tax location sets a transfer price that prevents the low-tax location from entering negotiations. We compare this model’s predictions to those of the concealment model. The negotiation model replicates the predictions on the tax rate effects on transfer pricing, while adding new predictions. Profit shifting is expected to fall in the high-tax country’s bargaining power and to rise in firm profits and domestic firm ownership in both countries. Most importantly, profit shifting occurs even if tax enforcement is perfect. We analyze the effects of an introduction of a common consolidated corporate tax base with formula apportionment and conclude that the negotiation model may change the perspective on such a policy. Specifically, strong countries with large bargaining power may find this reform unappealing.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Becker & Ronald B. Davies, 2014. "A Negotiation-Based Model of Tax-Induced Transfer Pricing," CESifo Working Paper Series 4892, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4892
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Johannes Becker & Ronald B. Davies, 2015. "Negotiated Transfer Prices," Working Papers 201527, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    2. Ronald B. Davies & Julien Martin & Mathieu Parenti & Farid Toubal, 2018. "Knocking on Tax Haven’s Door: Multinational Firms and Transfer Pricing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 120-134, March.
    3. Becker, Johannes & Davies, Ronald B. & Jakobs, Gitte, 2017. "The economics of advance pricing agreements," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 255-268.
    4. Rathke, Alex Augusto Timm & Rezende, Amaury José, 2016. "Exploring the characteristics of transfer pricing systems across countries," EconStor Preprints 130141, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    5. Søren Bo Nielsen & Dirk Schindler & Guttorm Schjelderup, 2014. "Abusive Transfer Pricing and Economic Activity," CESifo Working Paper Series 4975, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Holzmann, Carolin Maria, 2016. "Transfer pricing as tax avoidance under different legislative schemes," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145929, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Rathke, Alex Augusto Timm & Rezende, Amaury José, 2016. "Exploring the characteristics of transfer pricing systems across countries," MPRA Paper 70437, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    transfer pricing; Nash bargaining; tax avoidance; corporate taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods

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