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Income Shifting, Investment, and Tax Competition: Theory and Evidence from Provincial Taxation in Canada

  • Jack M. Mintz

    (University of Toronto)

  • Michael Smart

    ()

    (University of Toronto)

We study corporate income taxation when firms operating in multiple jurisdictions can shift income using tax planning strategies. Because income of corporate groups is not consolidated for tax purposes in Canada, firms may use financial techniques, such as lending among affiliates, to reduce subnational corporate taxes. A simple theoretical model shows how income shifting affects real investment, government revenues, and tax base elasticities, depending on whether firms must allocate income to provinces or not. We then analyze data from administrative tax records to compare the behaviour of corporate subsidiaries that may engage in income shifting to comparable firms that must use the statutory allocation formula to determine their taxable in each province. The evidence suggests that income shifting has pronounced effects on provincial tax bases. According to our preferred estimate, the elasticity of taxable income with respect to tax rates for “income shifting” firms is 4.9, compared to 2.3 for other, comparable firms.

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File URL: http://www-2.rotman.utoronto.ca/iib/ITP0402.pdf
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Paper provided by International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto in its series International Tax Program Papers with number 0402.

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Length: 20 Pages
Date of creation: May 2001
Date of revision: Apr 2003
Handle: RePEc:ttp:itpwps:0402
Contact details of provider: Postal: 105 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3E6
Phone: 416 978 2451
Web page: http://www-2.rotman.utoronto.ca/iib
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  1. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: US Economic Growth in the Information Age," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 261, OECD Publishing.
  2. Janeba, Eckhard & Peters, Wolfgang, 1999. "Tax Evasion, Tax Competition and the Gains from Nondiscrimination: The Case of Interest Taxation in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 93-101, January.
  3. Altshuler, Rosanne & Grubert, Harry, 2003. "Repatriation taxes, repatriation strategies and multinational financial policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 73-107, January.
  4. Sam Bucovetsky & Michael Smart, 2002. "The Efficiency Consequences of Local Revenue Equalization: Tax Competition and Tax Distortions," CESifo Working Paper Series 767, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Thiess Buettner, 1999. "Determinants of Tax Rates in Local Capital Income Taxation: A Theoretical Model and Evidence from Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 194, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Jack M. Mintz, 2000. "Taxation of Investment and Finance in an International Setting: Implications for Tax Competition," CoFE Discussion Paper 00-33, Center of Finance and Econometrics, University of Konstanz.
  7. Michael Smart, 1998. "Taxation and Deadweight Loss in a System of Intergovernmental Transfers," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 189-206, February.
  8. Haufler, A. & Schjelderup, G., 1999. "Corporate Tax Systems and Cross Country Profit Shifting," Papers 1/99, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  9. Vijay Jog & Jianmin Tang, 2001. "Tax Reforms, Debt Shifting and Tax Revenues: Multinational Corporations in Canada," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 5-25, January.
  10. Hines, James Jr., 1994. "Credit and deferral as international investment incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 323-347, October.
  11. Harry Grubert & Joel Slemrod, 1998. "The Effect Of Taxes On Investment And Income Shifting To Puerto Rico," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 365-373, August.
  12. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  13. David Harris & Randall Morck & Joel Slemrod & Bernard Yeung, 1991. "Income Shifting in U.S. Multinational Corporations," NBER Working Papers 3924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Thomas A. Gresik, 2001. "The Taxing Task of Taxing Transnationals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 800-838, September.
  15. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel, 1998. "Taxes and the location of production: evidence from a panel of US multinationals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 335-367, June.
  16. Gordon, Roger H & Wilson, John Douglas, 1986. "An Examination of Multijurisdictional Corporate Income Taxation under Formula Apportionment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1357-73, November.
  17. Roger H. Gordon & Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1995. "The Importance of Income Shifting to the Design and Analysis of Tax Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Taxing Multinational Corporations, pages 29-38 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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