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The impact of thin-capitalization rules on multinationals' financing and investment decisions

  • Büttner, Thiess
  • Overesch, Michael
  • Schreiber, Ulrich
  • Wamser, Georg

This paper analyzes the effectiveness of thin-capitalization rules in preventing debt finance by intercompany loans and explores their consequences for corporate decisions. A theoretical discussion emphasizes that limitations of the deduction of interest owed to foreign affiliates would not only affect multinationals' capital structure choice but also investment. An empirical investigation exploits a large firm-level panel dataset of multinationals in order to analyze the impact of thin-capitalization rules on capital structure choice and investment in the OECD and some further European countries in the time period between 1996 and 2004. The results indicate that thin-capitalization rules are effective in curbing tax planning via intercompany loans. However, investment is found to be adversely affected.

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Paper provided by Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre in its series Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies with number 2008,03.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp1:7114
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  1. Büttner, Thiess & Overesch, Michael & Schreiber, Ulrich & Wamser, Georg, 2006. "Taxation and capital structure choice: evidence from a panel of German multinationals," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-67, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Peralta, Susana & Wauthy, Xavier & van Ypersele, Tanguy, 2006. "Should countries control international profit shifting?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 24-37, January.
  3. Paolo Panteghini, 2006. "The Capital Structure of Multinational Companies Under Tax Competition," Working Papers ubs0606, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
  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. Eckhard Janeba & Michael Smart, 2001. "Is Targeted Tax Competition Less Harmful than its Remedies?," CESifo Working Paper Series 590, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Roger H. Gordon & Young Lee, 1999. "Do Taxes Affect Corporate Debt Policy? Evidence from US Corporate Tax Return Data," NBER Working Papers 7433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bucovetsky, Sam & Haufler, Andreas, 2008. "Tax competition when firms choose their organizational form: Should tax loopholes for multinationals be closed," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 188-201, January.
  8. Mintz, Jack & Smart, Michael, 2004. "Income shifting, investment, and tax competition: theory and evidence from provincial taxation in Canada," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1149-1168, June.
  9. Keen, Michael, 2001. "Preferential Regimes Can Make Tax Competition Less Harmful," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 4), pages 757-62, December.
  10. Thomas A. Gresik, 2001. "The Taxing Task of Taxing Transnationals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 800-838, September.
  11. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, Jr., 2003. "A Multinational Perspective on Capital Structure Choice and Internal Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 9715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, 1988. "Do Taxes Affect Corporate Financing Decisions?," NBER Working Papers 2632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Alan J. Auerbach, 2001. "Taxation and Corporate Financial Policy," NBER Working Papers 8203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gravelle, Jane G., 2004. "The Corporate Tax: Where Has It Been and Where Is It Going?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(4), pages 903-23, December.
  15. Jack Mintz & Alfons Weichenrieder, 2005. "Taxation and the Financial Structure of German Outbound FDI," CESifo Working Paper Series 1612, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Mihir A. Desai, 2005. "The Degradation of Reported Corporate Profits," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 171-192, Fall.
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