A Unifying Model of How the Tax System and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles Affect Corporate Behavior
This paper models the impact of the tax system and GAAP on the real and financial reporting decisions of corporations. It provides a first step toward joint evaluation of taxation and financial reporting in the standard economic analyses of corporate behavior. The key finding is that value arises from real decisions that provide firms with discretion in their tax and financial reporting. This desire for flexibility modifies the optimal decisions of firms, in theory, and we provide examples that illustrate this behavior in the real world.
We are grateful for comments from Alan Auerbach, Dhammika Dharmapala, Jana Smith Raedy, Leslie Robinson, Terry Shevlin, Ryan Wilson and participants at the Conference on the Intersection of Financial Accounting and Tax Policy, held in Washington, D.C. on December 6, 2006 and at the NBER in Cambridge, MA on December 7, 2006 and the NBER pre-conference meeting held in Cambridge MA on July 27, 2006; we thank Joanne Hsu for research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.