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International Transfer Pricing and Tax Avoidance: Evidence from Linked Trade-Tax Statistics in the UK

Author

Listed:
  • Li Liu
  • Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr
  • Dongxian Guo

Abstract

This paper employs unique data on export transactions and corporate tax returns of UK multinational firms and finds that firms manipulate their transfer prices to shift profits to lower-taxed destinations. It uncovers three new findings on tax-motivated transfer mispricing in real goods. First, transfer mispricing increases substantially when taxation of foreign profits changes from a worldwide to a territorial approach in the UK, with multinationals shifting more profits into low-tax jurisdictions. Second, transfer mispricing increases with a firm’s R&D intensity. Third, tax-motivated transfer mispricing is concentrated in countries that are not tax havens and have low-to-medium-level corporate tax rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Li Liu & Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr & Dongxian Guo, 2017. "International Transfer Pricing and Tax Avoidance: Evidence from Linked Trade-Tax Statistics in the UK," CESifo Working Paper Series 6594, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6594
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Tørsløv & Ludvig Wier & Gabriel Zucman, 2023. "Externalities in International Tax Enforcement: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 497-525, May.
    2. Pham, Anh, 2020. "Effects of temporary corporate income tax cuts: Evidence from Vietnam," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    3. Sebastian Beer & Ruud de Mooij & Li Liu, 2020. "International Corporate Tax Avoidance: A Review Of The Channels, Magnitudes, And Blind Spots," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 660-688, July.
    4. Davies, Ronald B. & Studnicka, Zuzanna, 2018. "The heterogeneous impact of Brexit: Early indications from the FTSE," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 1-17.
    5. Hynes, Kate & Kwan, Yum K. & Foley, Anthony, 2020. "Local linkages: The interdependence of foreign and domestic firms in Ireland," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 139-153.
    6. Ruud Mooij & Li Liu, 2020. "At a Cost: The Real Effects of Transfer Pricing Regulations," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 68(1), pages 268-306, March.
    7. Arie Pratama, 2020. "Corporate governance, foreign operations and transfer pricing practice: the case of Indonesian manufacturing companies," International Journal of Business and Globalisation, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 24(2), pages 185-200.
    8. Quint, Ansgar F. & Rudsinske, Jonas F., 2020. "International trade and tax-motivated transfer pricing," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 406, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    9. Mariana Colacelli & Deepali Gautam & Cyril Rebillard, 2021. "Japan’s Foreign Assets and Liabilities: Implications for the External Accounts," IMF Working Papers 2021/026, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Joana Andrade Vicente, 2021. "Tax us, if you can: a game theoretic approach to profit shifting within the European Union," Working Papers REM 2021/0206, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, REM, Universidade de Lisboa.
    11. Bakke, Julia Tropina & Hopland, Arnt Ove & Møen, Jarle, 2019. "Profit shifting and the effect of stricter transfer pricing regulation on tax revenue," Discussion Papers 2019/11, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    12. Wier, Ludvig, 2020. "Tax-motivated transfer mispricing in South Africa: Direct evidence using transaction data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    13. Ludvig Wier, 2018. "Tax-motivated transfer mispricing in South Africa: Direct evidence using transaction data," WIDER Working Paper Series 123, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. Ludvig Wier, 2018. "Tax-motivated transfer mispricing in South Africa: Direct evidence using transaction data," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-123, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Alejandro Esteller-Moré & Shafik Hebous & Niels Johannesen & Katarzyna Anna Bilicka, 2018. "The Present and Future of Tax Havens / El presente y futuro de los paraísos fiscales / El present i futur dels paradisos fiscals," IEB Reports ieb_report_4_2018, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    16. Andrea Lassmann & Benedikt Marian Maximilian Zoller-Rydzek, 2019. "Decomposing the Margins of Transfer Pricing," KOF Working papers 19-450, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    transfer pricing; corporate taxation avoidance; multinational firms;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm

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