The Economic Consequences of Tax Service Provider Sanctions: Evidence from KPMG's Deferred Prosecution Agreement
Posted: 23 Apr 2015 Last revised: 1 Apr 2016
Date Written: March 31, 2016
This study investigates the effect of KPMG's Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) on the accounting firm's ability to sell auditor-provided tax services (APTS) and its clients' tax avoidance. We document that following the DPA, clients were more likely to discontinue or reduce purchasing APTS from KPMG relative to the other Big 4 accounting firms. However, we do not find any evidence of a change in tax avoidance among KPMG clients continuing to purchase APTS following the DPA relative to other Big 4 clients. Broadly, our findings highlight how elevated reporting standards and external monitoring impose significant negative economic consequences on the service providers subject to these sanctions. At the same time, it appears clients do not suffer any observable tax costs by continuing to engage a sanctioned tax service provider.
Keywords: Auditor-Provided Tax Services, Tax Reporting Standards, Deferred Prosecution Agreements, Tax Avoidance
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