Security Analyst and Stock Market Efficiency in Anticipating Tax-Motivated Income Shifting
Posted: 13 Nov 2005 Last revised: 26 Feb 2008
In the context of the statutory tax rate reductions enacted in the Tax Reform Act of 1986, this paper investigates the degree to which capital market participants anticipate and correctly interpret temporary income effects of tax-motivated income shifting. We find evidence consistent with financial analysts' earnings forecasts failing to anticipate earnings management that shifts income from fourth quarters in higher tax rate years to immediately following first quarters of lower tax rate years. The evidence suggests that this failure is not the result of a decision to ignore the income shifting, but rather an inability to recognize temporary components of reported earnings. We also find evidence that market prices do not fully reflect the temporary income effects of tax-motivated income shifting, and that analyst inefficiency explains about half of the market inefficiency. We interpret these inefficiencies as potentially important costs of tax planning that could limit the ability of public firm managers to implement otherwise optimal tax strategies.
Keywords: Analysts' forecasts, analyst and market efficiency, taxes, earnings management
JEL Classification: M41, M43, H25, G14, G29, D82
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