The Effect of Hedge Fund Activism on Corporate Tax Avoidance
The Accounting Review 87, 1493-1526
50 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2011 Last revised: 12 Oct 2012
Date Written: April 20, 2012
This paper examines the impact of hedge fund activism on corporate tax avoidance. We find that, relative to matched control firms, businesses targeted by hedge fund activists exhibit lower tax avoidance levels prior to hedge fund intervention, but experience increases in tax avoidance after the intervention. Moreover, findings suggest that the increase in tax avoidance is greater when activists have a successful track record of implementing tax changes and possess tax interest or knowledge as indicated by their SEC 13D filings. We also find that these greater tax savings do not appear to result from an increased use of high-risk and potentially illegal tax strategies, such as sheltering. Taken together, the results suggest that shareholder monitoring of firms, in the form of hedge fund activism, improves tax efficiency.
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