Debt Policy and Corporate Choice of Organizational Form

Public Finance Review, Forthcoming

19 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2010 Last revised: 30 Mar 2017

See all articles by David Joulfaian

David Joulfaian

U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Analysis (OTA); Georgetown University - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 17, 2011

Abstract

Corporate income is taxed twice, once at the entity level and then taxed once again at the shareholder level. In addition, the corporate tax system favors debt over equity financing of capital expenditures; corporations are able to deduct interest on borrowed funds, unlike the return to equity. By excessive borrowing corporations are able to reduce the burden of double taxation. In contrast, non-corporate entities such as S corporations and partnerships are only taxed once at the shareholder level. Switching their organizational form, say from C to S corporate status, allows firms to engage in a form of self-help integration and avoid double taxation. But do C corporations that switch their organizational form to the S status become less leveraged? The evidence suggests that they do, albeit modestly, and may provide further support to the incentive effects of taxes on debt policy.

Keywords: Taxes, Corporate Organizational Form, Debt

JEL Classification: H25, H32, G32

Suggested Citation

Joulfaian, David, Debt Policy and Corporate Choice of Organizational Form (June 17, 2011). Public Finance Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1678769

David Joulfaian (Contact Author)

U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Analysis (OTA) ( email )

1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20220
United States

Georgetown University - Department of Economics ( email )

37th St NW & O St NW
Washington, DC 20007
United States

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