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Trade Credit and Taxes

Author

Listed:
  • Mihir A. Desai

    (Harvard University and NBER)

  • C. Fritz Foley

    (Harvard University and NBER)

  • James R. Hines Jr.

    (University of Michigan and NBER)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the extent to which firms use trade credit to reallocate capital in response to tax incentives. Tax-induced differences in pretax returns encourage the use of trade credit to reallocate capital from firms facing low tax rates to those facing high tax rates. Evidence from the worldwide operations of U.S. multinational firms indicates that affiliates in low-tax jurisdictions use trade credit to lend, whereas those in high-tax jurisdictions use trade credit to borrow: ten percent lower local tax rates are associated with net trade credit positions that are 1.4 percent higher as a fraction of sales. The use of trade credit to get capital out of lowtax, low-return environments is also illustrated by reactions of U.S. firms to the temporary repatriation tax holiday in 2005, when affiliates with positive net trade credit positions were significantly more likely than others to repatriate dividends to parent companies in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2012. "Trade Credit and Taxes," Working Papers 631, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:631
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    File URL: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/workingpapers/Papers626-650/r631.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:bec:imsber:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:287-314 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. El Ghoul, Sadok & Zheng, Xiaolan, 2016. "Trade credit provision and national culture," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 475-501.
    3. Gary Tobin & Keith Walsh, 2013. "What Makes a Country a Tax Haven? An Assessment of International Standards Shows Why Ireland Is Not a Tax Haven," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 44(3), pages 401-424.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade credit; taxes; multinational firms;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • 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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