Investment Opportunity Sets, Operating Uncertainty, and Capital Market Pressure: Determinants of Investments in Tax Shelter Activities?
Sean T. McGuire
Texas A&M University - Department of Accounting
Thomas C. Omer
University of Nebraska at Lincoln - School of Accountancy
Jaron H. Wilde
University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business
Journal of American Taxation Association, Forthcoming
Prior research documents substantial variation in firms’ tax avoidance activities and questions why some firms choose not to take advantage of the apparent benefits of tax planning (i.e., the "undersheltering puzzle"). We provide additional insight into the undersheltering puzzle by investigating the decision to invest in a tax shelter from the perspective of a firm’s overall investment strategy. We examine whether three factors associated with traditional investment behavior (firms’ investment opportunity sets, operating uncertainty, and capital market pressure) are also associated with investments in tax shelter activities. Our results suggest that firms with large investment opportunity sets and higher operating uncertainty are less likely to invest in tax shelters. We also find that firms with greater capital market pressure are more likely to invest in tax shelter activities. Overall, we find that factors that influence firms’ investment behavior help to explain why more firms do not invest in tax shelters.
Keywords: tax shelter, investment opportunity set, operating uncertainty, capital market pressure
JEL Classification: H25, H26, M41
Date posted: August 15, 2013