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Tax incentives for research and development and their use in tax planning

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  • Pfeiffer, Olena
  • Spengel, Christoph

Abstract

This study provides a comprehensive analysis of various aspects of R&D tax incentives. It explains the economic justification behind the state support of research and development and summarizes its main types. In addition, it gives an overview of the existing R&D tax incentives in Europe and provides a thorough review of the empirical literature on the outcomes of fiscal incentives. Furthermore, the Devereux and Griffith model is used to determine the effective tax burden of multinational firms that reside in countries which implement R&D tax support and countries which do not. The model is developed further following Spengel and Elschner (2010) and Evers et al. (2015) to reflect a potential use of R&D tax incentives by multinational firms for tax planning. The hypothesis developed in the model is tested in an empirical estimation, where we employ the OECD data on international co-operation in patents. According to our main findings, there are at least two reasons why input-oriented R&D tax incentives, such as tax credits and tax super-deductions, constitute a more suitable instrument for fostering research and development than the output-oriented incentives, such as IP Boxes. First, there is robust evidence found in the empirical literature which shows the positive effect introducing input-oriented tax incentives has on a firm's innovative activity, whereas studies on output-oriented tax incentives are not able to support this argument. Secondly, according to our theoretical and empirical analyses, output-oriented R&D tax incentives may be used by multinationals for tax planning as opposed to their intended use of fostering research and development.

Suggested Citation

  • Pfeiffer, Olena & Spengel, Christoph, 2017. "Tax incentives for research and development and their use in tax planning," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-046, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:17046
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rufin Baghana & Pierre Mohnen, 2009. "Effectiveness of R&D tax incentives in small and large enterprises in Québec," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 91-107, June.
    2. Devereux, Michael P & Griffith, Rachel, 2003. "Evaluating Tax Policy for Location Decisions," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 10(2), pages 107-126, March.
    3. Bloom, Nick & Griffith, Rachel & Van Reenen, John, 2002. "Do R&D tax credits work? Evidence from a panel of countries 1979-1997," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 1-31, July.
    4. Annette Alstadsæter & Salvador Barrios & Gaetan Nicodeme & Agnieszka Maria Skonieczna & Antonio Vezzani, 2018. "Patent boxes design, patents location, and local R&D," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 33(93), pages 131-177.
    5. Karkinsky, Tom & Riedel, Nadine, 2012. "Corporate taxation and the choice of patent location within multinational firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 176-185.
    6. Daniel J. Wilson, 2009. "Beggar Thy Neighbor? The In-State, Out-of-State, and Aggregate Effects of R&D Tax Credits," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 431-436, May.
    7. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    8. Sebastien Bradley & Estelle Dauchy & Leslie Robinson, 2015. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Preliminary Effects of Patent Box Regimes on Patent Activity and Ownership," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 68(4), pages 1047-1072, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pöschel, Carla, 2019. "Incentive Effects of R&D Tax Incentives – A Meta-Regression Analysis Focusing on R&D Tax Policy Designs," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 243, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    research and development; R&D; tax planning; corporate taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents

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