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Does accounting for taxes on income provide information about tax planning performance? Evidence from German multinationals


  • Overesch, Michael
  • Schreiber, Ulrich


This paper investigates the quality of information on tax planning performance which is provided by financial accounting based on IAS 12 (Income taxes). A simple theoretical investment model is used to show that reported tax expenses can be misleading as an indicator of tax planning performance, since timing effects of tax depreciations are suppressed. However, it is shown that IAS 12 provides meaningful information if tax planning strategies are driven by statutory tax rate differences, e.g. in the case of profit shifting. Our empirical analysis of actual tax planning behaviour, based on a panel of German balance sheet data, suggests that in practice international tax planning is significantly driven by statutory tax rates. However, we find that tax depreciation impacts on the size of investment as well and thus, IAS 12 does not fully disclose tax planning performance.

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  • Overesch, Michael & Schreiber, Ulrich, 2006. "Does accounting for taxes on income provide information about tax planning performance? Evidence from German multinationals," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-072, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5500

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey K, 1990. " Do Taxes Affect Corporate Financing Decisions?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(5), pages 1471-1493, December.
    2. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, 2004. "A Multinational Perspective on Capital Structure Choice and Internal Capital Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(6), pages 2451-2487, December.
    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. Becker, Johannes & Fuest, Clemens & Spengel, Christoph, 2005. "Konzernsteuerquote und Invesitionsverhalten," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-33, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. Barth, Mary E. & Beaver, William H. & Landsman, Wayne R., 2001. "The relevance of the value relevance literature for financial accounting standard setting: another view," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 77-104, September.
    6. Thiess Buettner & Georg Wamser, 2009. "The impact of nonprofit taxes on foreign direct investment: evidence from German multinationals," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(3), pages 298-320, June.
    7. 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.
    8. European Commission, 2001. "Company Taxation in the Internal Market," Taxation Studies 0005, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    9. Thiess Büttner & Michael Overesch & Ulrich Schreiber & Georg Wamser, 2006. "Taxation and Capital Structure Choice – Evidence from a Panel of German Multinationals," CESifo Working Paper Series 1841, CESifo Group Munich.
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    International Taxation; Financial Accounting; Income Taxes; Firm-level Data;

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