Does Tax Deferral Enhance Firm Value?
51 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2011
Date Written: December 20, 2011
Recent research provides evidence that corporate tax departments and tax directors have incentives to reduce financial statement effective tax rates, but little or no incentive to reduce cash taxes paid. The lack of managerial incentives to reduce cash taxes paid provides a stark contrast to the benefits of tax deferral espoused by tax professionals and academics, raising the question: Does tax deferral actually enhance firm value? We examine whether the difference between financial statement tax expense and current taxes paid (i.e., current year tax deferral) is associated with a firm’s change in future profitability and market returns. We find positive associations between current year tax deferral and both the change in next period profitability and stock returns in months around the Form 10-K release date. We also find that these associations increase for firms with greater investment opportunities, financial constraints, and, to a lesser extent, strong corporate governance. These results suggest both profitability and market return benefits associated with tax deferral, consistent with tax deferral enhancing firm value.
Keywords: Tax deferral, tax planning, firm value, future profitability, returns
JEL Classification: G38, H25, H32, M41
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