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Backdating, tax evasion, and the unintended consequences of Canadian tax reform


  • Compton, Ryan
  • Sandler, Daniel
  • Tedds, Lindsay M.


In 1984 and 2000, significant changes were made to the tax treatment of employee stock options in Canada. Although designed to increase the use of stock options as a compensation vehicle (1984) and decease the loss of knowledge workers (2000), we argue that these tax changes were largely ineffective and perhaps unneeded. Further we demonstrate the negative unintended consequences of these actions, specifically that they reward the backdating of employee stock options and promote tax evasion, and discuss the policy implications of these unintended consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Compton, Ryan & Sandler, Daniel & Tedds, Lindsay M., 2010. "Backdating, tax evasion, and the unintended consequences of Canadian tax reform," MPRA Paper 39788, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:39788

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Compton, Ryan & Sandler, Daniel & Tedds, Lindsay M., 2010. "Options backdating: a Canadian perspective," MPRA Paper 39787, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Ittner, Christopher D. & Lambert, Richard A. & Larcker, David F., 2003. "The structure and performance consequences of equity grants to employees of new economy firms," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-3), pages 89-127, January.
    3. Chip Heath & Steven Huddart & Mark Lang, 1999. "Psychological Factors and Stock Option Exercise," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 601-627.
    4. Brian J. Hall & Kevin J. Murphy, 2003. "The Trouble with Stock Options," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 49-70, Summer.
    5. Randall A. Heron & Erik Lie, 2009. "What Fraction of Stock Option Grants to Top Executives Have Been Backdated or Manipulated?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(4), pages 513-525, April.
    6. John J. Donohue III & Steven D. Levitt, 2001. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 379-420.
    7. Eli Ofek & David Yermack, 2000. "Taking Stock: Equity-Based Compensation and the Evolution of Managerial Ownership," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1367-1384, June.
    8. M. P. Narayanan & H. Nejat Seyhun, 2008. "The Dating Game: Do Managers Designate Option Grant Dates to Increase their Compensation?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(5), pages 1907-1945, September.
    9. Erik Lie, 2005. "On the Timing of CEO Stock Option Awards," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(5), pages 802-812, May.
    10. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2000. "The Taxation of Executive Compensation," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 14, pages 1-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. David Joulfaian, 2000. "Corporate Income Tax Evasion and Managerial Preferences," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 698-701, November.
    12. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
    13. Brian J. Hall & Kevin J. Murphy, 2003. "The Trouble with Stock Options," NBER Working Papers 9784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Carpenter, Jennifer N & Remmers, Barbara, 2001. "Executive Stock Option Exercises and Inside Information," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(4), pages 513-534, October.
    15. David Zarifa & David Walters, 2008. "Revisiting Canada's Brain Drain: Evidence from the 2000 Cohort of Canadian University Graduates," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 34(3), pages 305-320, September.
    16. Heron, Randall A. & Lie, Erik, 2007. "Does backdating explain the stock price pattern around executive stock option grants?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 271-295, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tedds, Lindsay M. & Compton, Ryan & Morrison, Caitlin & Nicholls, Christopher & Sandler, Daniel, 2012. "Learning to play by the disclosure rules: accuracy of insider reports in Canada, 1996-2010," MPRA Paper 39793, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Employee compensation; stock options; personal income tax;

    JEL classification:

    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance


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