Avoiding Double Taxation: The Case of Commercial Banks
38 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2005
Date Written: July 2005
Recently, there has been a marked increase in the number of banks choosing to operate as Subchapter-S Corporations. The apparent motivation is tax savings as Subchapter-S firms do not pay federal income taxes on income at the firm level, but transfer income to stockholders where it is taxed as individual income at personal tax rates. Given the apparent advantages of Sub-S status, there must be mitigating reasons for not choosing this organizational form. We empirically investigate factors affecting the choice of Subchapter-S status and key performance differences between Sub-S banks and those taxed as C-corporations. Empirical findings indicate that Sub-S banks are significantly smaller, pay higher dividends, have lower taxable income before Sub-S formation, higher profitability, lower capital and loan loss reserves, rely more on core deposits, and have higher agricultural but lower commercial and total loans. Sub-S banks are more likely to be rural and less likely to be de novo, or have publicly-traded stock.
Keywords: Commercial banks, S-corporations, income taxes, loan loss reserve, bank capital
JEL Classification: G20, G21, H20, H24, H25
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