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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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    1. Peter Egger & Valeria Merlo & Martin Ruf & Georg Wamser, 2015. "Consequences of the New UK Tax Exemption System: Evidence from Micro‐level Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(589), pages 1764-1789, December.
    2. Shafik Hebous & Niels Johannesen, 2015. "At Your Service! The Role of Tax Havens in International Trade with Services," CESifo Working Paper Series 5414, CESifo.
    3. Anca D. Cristea & Daniel X. Nguyen, 2016. "Transfer Pricing by Multinational Firms: New Evidence from Foreign Firm Ownerships," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 170-202, August.
    4. Aaron Flaaen, 2017. "The Role of Transfer Prices in Profit-Shifting by U.S. Multinational Firms : Evidence from the 2004 Homeland Investment Act," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-055, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Sergio Correia, 2014. "REGHDFE: Stata module to perform linear or instrumental-variable regression absorbing any number of high-dimensional fixed effects," Statistical Software Components S457874, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 18 Nov 2019.
    6. V. Vicard, 2015. "Profit shifting through transfer pricing: evidence from French firm level trade data," Working papers 555, Banque de France.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Wier, Ludvig, 2020. "Tax-motivated transfer mispricing in South Africa: Direct evidence using transaction data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).

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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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