Cross-Country Comparisons of Corporate Income Taxes

48 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2011

See all articles by Kevin Markle

Kevin Markle

University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business

Douglas A. Shackelford

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2011

Abstract

To our knowledge, this paper provides the most comprehensive analysis of firm-level corporate income taxes to date. We use publicly available financial statement information for 11,602 public corporations from 82 countries from 1988 to 2009 to estimate country-level effective tax rates (ETRs). We find that the location of a multinational and its subsidiaries substantially affects its worldwide ETR. Japanese firms always faced the highest ETRs. U.S. multinationals are among the highest taxed. Multinationals based in tax havens face the lowest taxes. We find that ETRs have been falling over the last two decades; however, the ordinal rank from high-tax countries to low-tax countries has changed little. We also find little difference between the ETRs of multinationals and domestic-only firms. Besides enhancing our knowledge about international taxes, these findings should provide some empirical underpinning for ongoing policy debates about the taxation of multinationals.

Suggested Citation

Markle, Kevin and Shackelford, Douglas A., Cross-Country Comparisons of Corporate Income Taxes (February 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w16839. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1770391

Kevin Markle (Contact Author)

University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business ( email )

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Douglas A. Shackelford

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

Kenan-Flagler Business School
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United States
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