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Taxation and Leverage in International Banking

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  • Grace Weishi Gu
  • Ruud A. de Mooij
  • Tigran Poghosyan

Abstract

This paper explores how corporate taxes affect the financial structure of multinational banks. Guided by a simple theory of optimal capital structure it tests (i) whether corporate taxes induce subsidiary banks to raise their debt-asset ratio in light of the traditional debt bias; and (ii) whether international corporate tax differentials vis-a-vis foreign subsidiary banks affect the intra-bank capital structure through international debt shifting. Using a novel subsidiary-level dataset for 558 commercial bank subsidiaries of the 86 largest multinational banks in the world, we find that taxes matter significantly, through both the traditional debt bias channel and the international debt shifting that is due to the international tax differentials. The latter channel is more robust and tends to be quantitatively more important. Our results imply that taxation causes significant international debt spillovers through multinational banks, which has potentially important implications for tax policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Grace Weishi Gu & Ruud A. de Mooij & Tigran Poghosyan, 2012. "Taxation and Leverage in International Banking," IMF Working Papers 12/281, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/281
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    Cited by:

    1. Gropp, Reint, 2013. "Taxes, banks and financial stability," SAFE White Paper Series 6, Goethe University Frankfurt, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe.
    2. Langedijk, Sven & Nicodème, Gaëtan & Pagano, Andrea & Rossi, Alessandro, 2015. "Debt Bias in Corporate Income Taxation and the Costs of Banking Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 10616, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Gunther Capelle-Blancard & Olena Havrylchyk, 2017. "Incidence of Bank Levy and Bank Market Power," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 21(3), pages 1023-1046.
    4. Steve Bond & Kyung Yeon Ham & Giorgia Maffini & Andrea Nobili & Giacomo Ricotti, 2016. "Regulation, tax and capital structure: evidence from administrative data on Italian banks," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 361, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. repec:eee:jfinin:v:30:y:2017:i:c:p:86-106 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Haque, Faizul & Brown, Kym, 2017. "Bank ownership, regulation and efficiency: Perspectives from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 273-293.
    7. Dominika Langenmayr & Franz Reiter, 2017. "Trading Offshore: Evidence on Banks' Tax Avoidance," CESifo Working Paper Series 6664, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corporate taxes; Commercial banks; Capital; Economic models; International banking; Taxation; Bank taxation; corporate tax; debt bias; leverage; international tax; subsidiaries; capital requirement; capital structure; tax differences;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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