Investor-Level Taxes and Corporate Dividend Policy: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment
30 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2022
Date Written: December 9, 2021
We utilise a change to the treatment of franking credits in the hand of domestic shareholders, namely the introduction of fully refundable franking credits, to provide robust evidence on the causal effect of investor-level taxes on corporate dividend policy. Consistent with investors having a greater preference for the distribution of dividends, we find that the introduction of fully refundable franking credit increases both the likelihood that firms pay dividends and the level of the dividend payments they make. Subsequent analysis reveals that effective tax rate and firm size explain cross-sectional variation in dividend policy responses to the tax reform, with large firms and firms with high effective tax rates more likely to pay dividends and to pay larger dividends than their peers.
Keywords: Corporate dividend policy; Dividend imputation system; Franking credit refundability; Australian tax law reform
JEL Classification: G35; H24; H25
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation