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Trading Offshore: Evidence on Banks' Tax Avoidance

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  • Dominika Langenmayr
  • Franz Reiter

Abstract

Little is known about how banks shift profits to low-tax countries. Because of their specific business model, banks use profit shifting channels different from those of other firms. We propose a novel and bank-specific method of profit shifting: the strategic relocation of proprietary trading to low-tax jurisdictions. Using regulatory data from the German central bank, we show that a one percentage point lower corporate tax rate increases banks’ fixed-income trading assets by 4.0% and trading derivatives by 9.0%. This increase does not arise from a relocation of real activities (i.e. traders); instead, it stems from the relocation of book profits.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominika Langenmayr & Franz Reiter, 2017. "Trading Offshore: Evidence on Banks' Tax Avoidance," CESifo Working Paper Series 6664, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6664
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Verena K. Dutt & Christopher A. Ludwig & Katharina Nicolay & Heiko Vay & Johannes Voget, 2019. "Increasing tax transparency: investor reactions to the country-by-country reporting requirement for EU financial institutions," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 26(6), pages 1259-1290, December.
    2. Daniel Anarfi & Danuše Nerudová, 2018. "Profit Shifting and the Tax Response of Multinational Banks in Eastern Europe," Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis, Mendel University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 729-736.
    3. Petr Janský, 2020. "European banks and tax havens: evidence from country-by-country reporting," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(54), pages 5967-5985, November.
    4. Franz Reiter & Dominika Langenmayr & Svea Holtmann, 2020. "Avoiding Taxes: Banks' Use of Internal Debt," CESifo Working Paper Series 8525, CESifo.
    5. Gawehn, Vanessa, 2019. "Banks and corporate income taxation: A review," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 247, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    6. Dutt, Verena K. & Nicolay, Katharina & Vay, Heiko & Voget, Johannes, 2019. "Can European banks' country-by-country reports reveal profit shifting? An analysis of the information content of EU banks' disclosures," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-042, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    7. Gawehn, Vanessa & Müller, Jens, 2019. "Tax avoidance - are banks any different?," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 239, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    profit shifting; multinational banks; corporate taxation; proprietary trading;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements

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