Anticipating Tax Change: Evidence from the Finnish Corporate Income Tax Reform of 2005
38 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2008
Date Written: January 2008
Using register-based panel data covering all Finnish firms in 1999-2004, we examine how corporations anticipated the 2005 dividend tax increase via changes in their dividend and investment policies. The Finnish capital and corporate income tax reform of 2005 creates a useful opportunity to measure this behaviour, since it involves exogenous variation in the tax treatment of different types of firms. The estimation results reveal that those firms that anticipated a dividend tax hike increased their dividend payouts by 10-50 per cent. This increase was not accompanied by a reduction in investment activities, but rather was associated with increased indebtedness in non-listed firms. The results also suggest that the timing of dividend distributions probably offsets much of the potential for increased dividend tax revenue following the reform.
Keywords: corporate income taxation, dividends, tax reform, anticipation effects
JEL Classification: H25, H32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation