Tax Strategies and Dividend Imputation: The Effect of Foreign and Domestic Ownership on Average Effective Tax Rates
Brett R. Wilkinson
Baylor University - Department of Accounting & Business Law
Steven F. Cahan
University of Auckland Business School
Massey University - School of Accountancy
This study examines how dividend imputation affects the incentive of New Zealand firms to minimise tax. By effectively eliminating double taxation on company income, imputation reduces firms' incentives to engage in costly tax minimisation strategies. Before September 1993, resident and non-resident shareholders were treated differently under New Zealand's imputation system. Because imputation credits cannot be passed to shareholders unless dividends are paid, we expect firms to pursue different tax paying strategies depending on their level of foreign ownership and their dividend payout ratios. After September 1993 when imputation credits were extended to non-resident portfolio shareholders, we expect that firms with high foreign ownership and high dividend payouts would have less incentive to minimise tax. Our results provide some support for these expectations.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
JEL Classification: G35, H25working papers series
Date posted: October 30, 2000
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