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German Inbound Investment, Corporate Tax Planning, and Thin-Capitalization Rules - A Difference-in-Differences Approach

  • Michael Overesch
  • Georg Wamser

This paper investigates tax planning behavior by means of inter-company finance and the effectiveness of fighting back via thin-capitalization rules. A simple theoretical model, which considers the financing decision of a multinational company, is used to obtain empirical implications. The empirical analysis, based on German inbound investment data from 1996 until 2004, supports a significant impact of tax rate differences on the use of intra-company debt. The effectiveness of the German thin-capitalization rule is tested by using legal amendments as natural experiments. The results suggest that the German thin-capitalization rule induces significantly lower intra-firm debt-levels of inbound investments. Hence, tax planning via intra-firm finance is effectively limited.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-Ifo_Working_Papers/wp-ifo-2005-2010/IfoWorkingPaper-37.pdf
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Paper provided by Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich in its series Ifo Working Paper Series with number Ifo Working Papers No. 37.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_37
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  1. Meyer, Bruce D, 1995. "Natural and Quasi-experiments in Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 151-61, April.
  2. Paolo Panteghini, 2009. "The capital structure of multinational companies under tax competition," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 59-81, February.
  3. Ramb, Fred & Weichenrieder, Alfons J., 2005. "Taxes and the financial structure of German inward FDI," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,05, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  4. Mintz, Jack & Smart, Michael, 2004. "Income shifting, investment, and tax competition: theory and evidence from provincial taxation in Canada," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1149-1168, June.
  5. MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey K, 1990. " Do Taxes Affect Corporate Financing Decisions?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(5), pages 1471-93, December.
  6. Schreiber, Ulrich & Overesch, Michael & Büttner, Thiess & Wamser, Georg, 2006. "The Impact of Thin-Capitalization Rules on Multinationals? Financing and Investment Decisions," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-68, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Thiess Buettner & Michael Overesch & Ulrich Schreiber & Georg Wamser, 2006. "Taxation and Capital Structure Choice – Evidence from a Panel of German Multinationals," CESifo Working Paper Series 1841, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Luc Laeven & Harry Huizinga & Gaetan Nicodeme, 2007. "Capital Structure and International Debt Shifting," IMF Working Papers 07/39, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  10. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, 2004. "A Multinational Perspective on Capital Structure Choice and Internal Capital Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(6), pages 2451-2487, December.
  11. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  12. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  13. Clemens Fuest & Thomas Hemmelgarn, 2003. "Corporate Tax Policy, Foreign Firm Ownership and Thin Capitalization," CESifo Working Paper Series 1096, CESifo Group Munich.
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