Does Private Country-by-Country Reporting Deter Tax Avoidance and Income Shifting? Evidence from BEPS Action Item 13

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Published: 15Jun2021

Author: Preetika Joshi

Publication: Journal of Accounting Research, Volume 58, Issue 2, May 2020, Pages 333-381.

Abstract:

To combat tax avoidance by multinational corporations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development introduced country-by-country reporting (CbCr), requiring firms to provide tax authorities with a geographic breakdown of their profitability and activities. Treating the introduction of CbCr in the European Union as a shock to private disclosure requirements, this study examines the effect on corporate tax outcomes. Exploiting the €750 million revenue threshold for disclosure and employing regression-discontinuity and difference-in-differences designs, I document a 1–2 percentage point increase in consolidated GAAP effective tax rates among affected firms. I also find evidence consistent with a decline in tax-motivated income shifting, starting in 2018. These results suggest that, although private geographic disclosures can deter corporate tax avoidance, so far, the regulations have had a limited effect on tax-motivated income shifting. My findings have policy implications for the global implementation of private CbCr and extend the debate on public versus private disclosure of tax information.


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