Income shifting, digitalization, and tax policy

Klein, Daniel

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-631906
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2022
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: Universität Mannheim
Evaluator: Spengel, Christoph
Date of oral examination: 6 October 2022
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > ABWL u. Betriebswirtschaftliche Steuerlehre II (Spengel 2006-)
Subject: 330 Economics
Keywords (English): income shifting , tax policy , taxation of the digital economy
Abstract: Over the past decade, the international corporate tax system has been considerably criticized for not being equipped to deal with the challenges of a globalized and digitalized world. Many critics argue that the current system enables multinational firms to reduce large parts of their tax liability by engaging in base erosion and tax-motivated income shifting, leading to the loss of governments’ tax revenues. This development has led to a number of reform proposals aimed at fundamentally changing the current corporate tax framework. At the same time, however, governments use the domestic corporate tax system to attract businesses and corporate investment by providing tax incentives or competitive tax rates, leading to an intentional reduction of multinational firms’ tax liability. Given these different motivations and developments in corporate taxation, it is important to understand and distinguish between the current challenges for the corporate tax system, the potential impact of corporate tax reforms, and the effect of domestic corporate tax policy. This dissertation contributes to each of these topics by revolving around four independent research questions: 1) What is the extent of base erosion and tax-motivated income shifting and how has it evolved over time? 2) Is the digital transformation a key enabler of tax-motivated income shifting of multinational firms? 3) What is the shareholder reaction to corporate tax reforms specifically targeted at digital firms? 4) What is the effect of corporate tax policy in developed countries on the economic activity in developing countries?

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