Consumption taxes and corporate tax planning - evidence from European service firms


Werner, Ann-Catherin ; Olbert, Marcel



Document Type: Conference presentation
Year of publication: 2018
Conference title: 5th Annual MaTax Conference
Location of the conference venue: Mannheim, Germany
Date of the conference: 04.-05.10.2018
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > ABWL u. Betriebswirtschaftliche Steuerlehre II (Spengel)
Subject: 330 Economics
Keywords (English): Digital Economy , Profit Shifting , Consumption Taxes , Tax Planning
Abstract: There is an increasing political concern that firms in the globalized, digital economy avoid income and consumption taxes. We examine income and consumption tax planning of service firms in Europe through managing the respective tax bases and hypothesize that both tax planning channels are interrelated. We exploit corporate affiliate-level panel data and a unique setting in Europe over the period 2007-2015 with 71 staggered and plausibly exogenous corporate income and consumption tax rate changes (and differences). We find that firms significantly respond to incentives from value-added taxes evidenced by a tax-rate semi-elasticity of reported sales of around 0.5. Consistent with greater discretion over the jurisdiction of value-added tax liability, we find a significantly larger effect for firms in the digital service sector. We then show that income tax-motivated profit shifting behavior depends on the extent to which firms report sales in order to minimize consumption taxes. In particular, we document that income tax-motivated profit shifting behavior is completely attenuated for firms that, on average, respond to higher (lower) value-added taxes via reporting lower (higher) sales. Our study offers a new explanation why some firms avoid more income taxes than others. The results suggest that minimizing the consumption tax burden can be a dominating tax consideration that imposes a constraint on income-tax motivated transfer pricing.




+ Citation Example and Export

Werner, Ann-Catherin ; Olbert, Marcel ORCID: 0000-0001-8689-9843 Consumption taxes and corporate tax planning - evidence from European service firms. (2018) 5th Annual MaTax Conference (Mannheim, Germany) [Conference presentation]


+ Search Authors in

BASE: Werner, Ann-Catherin ; Olbert, Marcel

Google Scholar: Werner, Ann-Catherin ; Olbert, Marcel

ORCID: Werner, Ann-Catherin ; Olbert, Marcel ORCID: 0000-0001-8689-9843

+ Page Views

Hits per month over past year

Detailed information



You have found an error? Please let us know about your desired correction here: E-Mail


Actions (login required)

Show item Show item