NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Cross-Country Comparisons of Corporate Income Taxes

Kevin S. Markle, Douglas A. Shackelford

NBER Working Paper No. 16839
Issued in February 2011
NBER Program(s):   PE

To our knowledge, this paper provides the most comprehensive analysis of firm-level corporate income taxes to date. We use publicly available financial statement information for 11,602 public corporations from 82 countries from 1988 to 2009 to estimate country-level effective tax rates (ETRs). We find that the location of a multinational and its subsidiaries substantially affects its worldwide ETR. Japanese firms always faced the highest ETRs. U.S. multinationals are among the highest taxed. Multinationals based in tax havens face the lowest taxes. We find that ETRs have been falling over the last two decades; however, the ordinal rank from high-tax countries to low-tax countries has changed little. We also find little difference between the ETRs of multinationals and domestic-only firms. Besides enhancing our knowledge about international taxes, these findings should provide some empirical underpinning for ongoing policy debates about the taxation of multinationals.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16839

Published: Markle, Kevin S. and Douglas A. Shackelford, “Cross-Country Comparisons of Corporate Income Taxes,” National Tax Journal 65:3, September 2012, 493-527.

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