Tuesday 11
Taxation
Sebastian Heitzmann
› 9:30 - 10:00 (30min)
› 407
How aggressive are foreign multinational companies in avoiding corporation tax? Evidence from UK confidential corporate tax returns.
Katarzyna Habu  1, 2@  
1 : University of Oxford
2 : Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation  (OUCBT)

In this paper, I use confidential UK corporate tax returns dataset from Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to explore whether there are systematic differences in the amount of taxable profits that multinational and domestic companies report. Multinationals are important global corporate players and, particularly in the UK, they have contributed almost 50 percent of total UK revenues between 2000 and 2011. However, multinationals often have more opportunities to avoid tax than domestic standalones, hence they may pay less than their ‘fair share' of corporation tax. I estimate, using propensity score matching, that taxable profits relative to total assets reported by foreign multinational subsidiaries are 12.8 percentage points lower than those of comparable domestic standalones, which report their taxable profits to total assets ratio to be 25.2 percent. If we assume that all of the difference can be attributed to tax avoidance, foreign multinational subsidiaries avoid over half of their taxable profits in the UK. The difference is almost entirely attributable to the fact that higher proportion of foreign multinational subsidiaries report zero taxable profits (61.1 percent) than domestic standalones (28.6 percent), suggesting a very aggressive form of tax avoidance.


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