NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Kjetil Telle

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Working Papers

November 2013Are Closely-Held Firms Tax Shelters?
with Annette Alstadsæter, Wojciech Kopczuk: w19609
In 2004 Norwegian authorities announced a reform introducing dividend taxation for personal (but not corporate) owners to take effect starting in 2006. This change provided incentives to maximize dividends in 2004 and 2005, and to retain earnings in the following years. Using Norwegian registry data that cover the universe of non-publicly traded firms, we find that dividend payments responded very strongly to the anticipated reform, but also that much of the response was compensated by re-injecting shareholder equity in the same firms. On the other hand, following the reform firms began to retain earnings. While all categories of assets grow, the increase in durable assets categories that include equipment, machinery, company cars, planes and boats, is particularly striking. We find that p...

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