Corporate Income Tax, IP Boxes and the Location of R&D
37 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2021 Last revised: 3 Nov 2021
Date Written: October 23, 2021
The paper discusses the effects of the corporate tax on local R&D expenditures by multinational enterprises (MNEs) when income from intellectual property (IP) may or may not benefit from a special IP regime. Our model shows that an increase of the standard corporate tax may have positive effects on the R&D expenditures in the country that carries out the corporate tax increase. The possible positive R&D effect results from a tax asymmetry: not all R&D returns are subject to the higher tax. First, since R&D creates a public good within the MNE, some of the R&D benefit is taxed at other countries’ tax rates that are not subject to the tax increase. Second, some of the R&D benefits are taxed at a lower IP regime tax rate. Therefore, a higher corporate tax, which increases value of the cost deductibility of R&D, may actually foster R&D. This expectation is empirically supported by country-by-country R&D data of U.S.-owned subsidiaries for countries that have an IP regime.
Keywords: corporate income tax, R&D, intellectual property regimes, patent box, international profit shifting
JEL Classification: H25, H26, O3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation