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Valuing the Debt Tax Shield


  • Cooper, Ian A.

    () (London Business School)

  • Nyborg, Kjell G.

    () (Dept. of Finance and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)


The tax shield from debt represents a significant proportion of total value for many companies, projects, and transactions. Accurate valuation of the debt tax shield is of more importance than ever as leverage is now commonly used as a source of value added, and there is growing competition in buying assets. Changes in tax rules and more international transactions also make it important to understand how to value debt tax shields under different tax regimes. The increased practical importance of accurate valuation of the debt tax shield has been paralleled by debates among researchers about how to do it. The different approaches have large effects on estimated values. In this article, we review these approaches and show their implications for practical debt tax shield valuation. The issue we stress is that each method relies on a few basic assumptions, primarily about the risk of debt tax shields. Picking the most appropriate assumption in any particular situation and then using only those procedures that are consistent with that assumption is the key to good valuation of debt tax shields. Using inconsistent procedures can lead to large errors. The structure of the article is as follows: We start by giving a brief overview of the theory. Then we review the tensions that exist in the “how to value tax shields” literature. Next, we discuss the practical implications of the various approaches and show by way of an example the large errors that can arise if incorrect and inconsistent valuation methods are used. Finally, we offer our views as to which methods and assumptions are most appropriate in various real world economic settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Cooper, Ian A. & Nyborg, Kjell G., 2007. "Valuing the Debt Tax Shield," Discussion Papers 2007/15, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhhfms:2007_015

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    Cited by:

    1. Qi Howard, 2010. "Valuation Methodologies and Emerging Markets," Journal of Business Valuation and Economic Loss Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-18, April.
    2. Assaf Eisdorfer & Thomas J. O'Brien, 2012. "The firm-specific nature of debt tax shields and optimal corporate investment decisions," Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(6), pages 560-570, May.
    3. Qi, Howard, 2011. "Value and capacity of tax shields: An analysis of the slicing approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 166-173, January.
    4. repec:eee:corfin:v:45:y:2017:i:c:p:262-293 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Christian Koziol, 2014. "A simple correction of the WACC discount rate for default risk and bankruptcy costs," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 653-666, May.

    More about this item


    Tax Shields; Valuation; Risk;

    JEL classification:

    • G00 - Financial Economics - - General - - - General

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