Tax Avoidance and Future Profitability
54 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 1, 2013
Do firm managers invest the savings from tax avoidance in positive net present value projects that enhance future profitability or divert them towards perquisite consumption, rent extraction, and value destroying projects? We indirectly investigate this question by testing whether tax avoidance moderates the association between current and future profitability. Consistent with the negative implications of tax avoidance (e.g. rent extraction) we document that, on average, the main components of current profitability: margins, utilization of assets and operating liability leverage, result in lower future profitability for tax aggressive firms as compared to firms that are not tax aggressive. Further, the negative effect of lower margins is more robust and persistent than the impact of inefficient asset utilization and operating liability leverage. These results persist in various contexts that mitigate or exacerbate rent extraction, such as the existence of foreign operations, better governance structure, more transparency, industry leadership position, and across corporate life cycle stages.
Keywords: Tax Avoidance, Profitability, DuPont Analysis
JEL Classification: H25, H26, M41, G31, G34
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