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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. Büttner, Thiess & Overesch, Michael & Schreiber, Ulrich & Wamser, Georg, 2006. "Taxation and capital structure choice: evidence from a panel of German multinationals," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-67, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Paolo Panteghini, 2006. "The Capital Structure of Multinational Companies Under Tax Competition," Working Papers ubs0606, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
  3. Harry Huizinga & Luc Laeven & Gaetan Nicodeme, 2006. "Capital structure and international debt shifting," European Economy - Economic Papers 263, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  4. Fuest, Clemens & Hemmelgarn, Thomas, 2005. "Corporate tax policy, foreign firm ownership and thin capitalization," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 508-526, September.
  5. Büttner, Thiess & Overesch, Michael & Schreiber, Ulrich & Wamser, Georg, 2008. "The impact of thin-capitalization rules on multinationals' financing and investment decisions," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2008,03, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey K, 1990. " Do Taxes Affect Corporate Financing Decisions?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(5), pages 1471-93, December.
  9. repec:ttp:itpwps:0402 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  14. Jack Mintz & Michael Smart, 2001. "Income Shifting, Investment, and Tax Competition: Theory and Evidence from Provincial Taxation in Canada," CESifo Working Paper Series 554, CESifo Group Munich.
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