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Taxation and the Financial Structure of Foreign Direct Investment

  • Frances Ruane
  • Padraig Moore

The vast increase in foreign assets globally has raised interest in how the home country should tax profits flowing from these investments. Broadly speaking, countries have chosen either to exempt foreign income from taxation or to subject foreign income to taxation with credits/deductions given for foreign taxes paid. Recent research has focused on the effect of these foreign income tax rules on the relationship between aggregate FDI flows and corporate tax rates. In this paper we examine how foreign income tax rules can affect the financial structure of subsidiary-level FDI in Europe. The tax-deductibility of interest payments suggests that higher (host-country) corporate tax rates should be associated with a greater proportion of debt-financed FDI, as foreign income tax credit systems should, in theory, limit the benefits of shielding foreign income from host country taxation. Our results indicate that whilst multinationals from tax exemption countries adjust the financial structure of foreign investments in response to corporate tax rates, the effect of corporate tax rates is insignificant for FDI originating from tax credit countries. These results reveal an additional channel through which foreign income tax credit systems attenuate the forces of tax competition.

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Paper provided by IIIS in its series The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series with number iiisdp88.

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Date of creation: 15 Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp88
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  1. 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.
  2. Gómez-Salvador, Ramón & Messina, Julián & Vallanti, Giovanna, 2004. "Gross job flows and institutions in Europe," Working Paper Series 0318, European Central Bank.
  3. Ruud de Mooij & S. Ederveen, 2001. "Taxation and foreign direct investment; a synthesis of empirical research," CPB Discussion Paper 3, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  4. Huizinga, Harry & Nicodème, Gaëtan, 2003. "Foreign Ownership and Corporate Income Taxation: An Empirical Evaluation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Rosanne Altshuler & Harry Grubert, 2001. "Repatriation Taxes, Repatriation Strategies and Multinational Financial Policy," NBER Working Papers 8144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nicodeme, Gaetan, 2001. "Computing effective corporate tax rates: comparisons and results," MPRA Paper 3808, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Desai, Mihir A. & Foley, C. Fritz & Hines, James R. Jr., 2001. "Repatriation Taxes and Dividend Distortions," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 4), pages 829-51, December.
  8. Gropp, Reint & Kostial, Kristina, 2000. "The disappearing tax base: is foreign direct investment eroding corporate income taxes?," Working Paper Series 0031, European Central Bank.
  9. 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.
  10. James R. Hines, Jr., 1996. "Tax Policy and the Activities of Multinational Corporations," NBER Working Papers 5589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Mihir Desai & Paul Gompers & Josh Lerner, 2003. "Institutions, Capital Constraints and Entrepreneurial Firm Dynamics: Evidence from Europe," NBER Working Papers 10165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Chowdhry, Bhagwan & Coval, Joshua D., 1998. "Internal financing of multinational subsidiaries: Debt vs. equity1," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 87-106, March.
  13. Mervyn A. King & Don Fullerton, 1983. "The Taxation of Income from Capital: A Comparative Study of the U.S., U.K., Sweden, and West Germany--The Theoretical Framework--," NBER Working Papers 1058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Desai, Mihir A. & Hines, James R. Jr., 2005. "Reply to Grubert," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(2), pages 275-78, June.
  15. Desai, Mihir A. & Hines, James R. Jr., 2004. "Old Rules and New Realities: Corporate Tax Policy in a Global Setting," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(4), pages 937-60, December.
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