International Taxation and the Organizational Form of Foreign Direct Investment
63 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2017 Last revised: 30 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 1, 2018
We examine the effect of tax burden differences between organizational forms on multinationals choosing an organizational form for a newly established foreign affiliate. Analyzing micro-level data on inbound foreign direct investment relations in Germany, we find that a higher tax burden on foreign income earned in a corporate subsidiary significantly increases the tendency of a multinational to choose a non-corporate flow-through. Income-shifting opportunities, industry-specific risk, country-level differences in regulatory quality, and host-country experience moderate this effect and thus shape the cost-benefit relation of organizational forms in cross-border settings. In addition, we document that multinationals establishing a new affiliate as a flow-through on the basis of a tax benefit invest less in that affiliate and exhibit a more complex group structure. Taken together, our results provide evidence on how tax rules shape group structures of multinationals and suggest that an asymmetric taxation of organizational forms has economic consequences.
Keywords: Organizational Form Choice, Group Structures, International Taxation, Multinationals, Economic Consequences
JEL Classification: M41, H25, H73, K34
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