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Taxation and Leverage in International Banking

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

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.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/281.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: 30 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/281
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  1. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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  3. Mintz, Jack M. & Weichenrieder, Alfons J., 2010. "The Indirect Side of Direct Investment: Multinational Company Finance and Taxation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262014491, June.
  4. Huizinga, Harry & Laeven, Luc & Nicodème, Gaëtan, 2006. "Capital Structure and International Debt Shifting," CEPR Discussion Papers 5882, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Egger, Peter & Eggert, Wolfgang & Keuschnigg, Christian & Winner, Hannes, 2010. "Corporate taxation, debt financing and foreign-plant ownership," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 96-107, January.
  6. Albertazzi, Ugo & Gambacorta, Leonardo, 2010. "Bank profitability and taxation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 2801-2810, November.
  7. Auerbach, Alan J., 2002. "Taxation and corporate financial policy," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 19, pages 1251-1292 Elsevier.
  8. Jacob de Haan & Tigran Poghosyan, 2011. "Bank Size, Market Concentration, and Bank Earnings Volatility in the US," DNB Working Papers 282, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  9. Mills, Lillian F. & Newberry, Kaye J., 2004. "Do Foreign Multinationals’ Tax Incentives Influence Their U.S. Income Reporting and Debt Policy?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(1), pages 89-107, March.
  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. Murray Z. Frank & Vidhan K. Goyal, 2009. "Capital Structure Decisions: Which Factors Are Reliably Important?," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 38(1), pages 1-37, 03.
  12. John R. Graham, 2003. "Taxes and Corporate Finance: A Review," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(4), pages 1075-1129.
  13. Gropp, R. & Vesala, J., 2001. "Deposit Insurance and Moral Hazard: Does the Counterfactual Matter?," Papers 47, Quebec a Montreal - Recherche en gestion.
  14. John C. Driscoll & Aart C. Kraay, 1998. "Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation With Spatially Dependent Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 549-560, November.
  15. Cerutti, Eugenio & Dell'Ariccia, Giovanni & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, 2007. "How banks go abroad: Branches or subsidiaries?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1669-1692, June.
  16. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1995. " What Do We Know about Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1421-60, December.
  17. Ruud A. De Mooij, 2012. "Tax Biases to Debt Finance: Assessing the Problem, Finding Solutions," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 33(4), pages 489-512, December.
  18. Lars P. Feld & Jost Henrich Heckemeyer & Michael Overesch, 2011. "Capital Structure Choice and Company Taxation: A Meta-Study," CESifo Working Paper Series 3400, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Reint Gropp & Florian Heider, 2010. "The Determinants of Bank Capital Structure," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(4), pages 587-622.
  21. Grubert, Harry, 1998. "Taxes and the division of foreign operating income among royalties, interest, dividends and retained earnings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 269-290, May.
  22. DeAngelo, Harry & Masulis, Ronald W., 1980. "Optimal capital structure under corporate and personal taxation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 3-29, March.
  23. Buettner, Thiess & Wamser, Georg, 2013. "Internal Debt And Multinational Profit Shifting: Empirical Evidence From Firm-Level Panel Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 66(1), pages 63-95, March.
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