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Public Tax-Return Disclosure

55 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2016 Last revised: 23 Apr 2017

Jeffrey L. Hoopes

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Leslie A. Robinson

Dartmouth College - Accounting

Joel B. Slemrod

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 20, 2017


We investigate the effect of public disclosure of information from corporate tax returns filed in Australia on consumers, investors, and the corporations themselves that were subject to disclosure. Supporters of more disclosure argue that increased transparency will improve tax compliance, while opponents argue that it will divulge sensitive information that is, in many cases, misunderstood. Our results show that large private companies are likely to experience consumer backlash and are also, perhaps as a consequence, more likely to act to avoid disclosure. We also fail to detect any material increase in tax payments, one objective of legislating the disclosure regime. Finally, we find that investors react negatively to anticipated and actual disclosure of tax information, most likely due to anticipated policy backlash than the revelation of negative tax information. These findings are important for both managers and policymakers as the trend towards increased tax disclosure continues to rise globally.

Keywords: disclosure, tax disclosure, tax avoidance, corporate governance, privacy, public shaming, surveys

JEL Classification: G38, H25, H26, K34, M41, M48

Suggested Citation

Hoopes, Jeffrey L. and Robinson, Leslie A. and Slemrod, Joel B., Public Tax-Return Disclosure (April 20, 2017). Tuck School of Business Working Paper No. 2888385. Available at SSRN: or

Jeffrey L. Hoopes (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

Leslie Robinson

Dartmouth College - Accounting ( email )

100 Tuck Hall
Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-4018 (Phone)

Joel B. Slemrod

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Room R5396
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234
United States
734-936-3914 (Phone)
734-763-4032 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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