Corporate Tax Avoidance: Data Truncation and Loss Firms
50 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2013 Last revised: 12 May 2018
Date Written: May 11, 2018
Loss firms are an economically significant and growing segment of the population of publicly traded corporations. Relatively little is known about the tax positions of loss firms because they are typically dropped from tax avoidance studies. We develop a new measure of corporate cash tax avoidance that is meaningful for all observations and reflects the extent to which a firm is tax-favored. We examine the extent to which inferences about corporate tax avoidance over the past twenty-seven years change when we examine the full population of firms, as opposed to a profitable and/or taxable subsample. In contrast to prior research findings, our results suggest that on average firms are tax-disfavored, by which we mean cash taxes paid exceed the product of the firm’s pre-tax book income and the statutory tax rate. In addition, many industries that appear to be tax-favored in profitable subsamples are tax-disfavored when examining the entire population. We also find that the extent to which firms are tax-disfavored is increasing over time and domestic firms are more tax-disfavored than multinationals.
Keywords: Cash effective tax rate, truncation bias, tax avoidance, scaling
JEL Classification: H25, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation