Income Shifting in U.S. Multinational Corporations
It is often claimed that multinational firms avoid taxes by shifting income from high-tax to low-tax countries. Using a five year panel of data for two hundred large U.S. manufacturing firms, we find that U.S. tax liability, as a fraction either of U.S. sales or U.S. assets, is related to the location of foreign subsidiaries in a way that is consistent with tax-motivated income shifting. Having a subsidiary in a tax haven, Ireland, or one of the "four dragon" Asian countries - all characterized by low tax rates - is associated with lower U.S. tax ratios. Having a subsidiary in a high-tax region is associated with higher U.S. tax ratios. These results suggest that U.S. manufacturing companies shift income out of high-tax countries into the U.S., and from the U.S. to low-tax countries. Such behavior certainly lowers worldwide tax liabilities for larger U.S. manufacturing companies and appears to significantly lower their U.S. tax liabilities as well.
Studies in Internatioanl Taxationedited by Alberto Giovannini, R. Glenn Hubbard, and Joel Slemrod University of Chicago Press: May 1993
Income Shifting in U.S. Multinational Corporations, David Harris, Randall Morck, Joel B. Slemrod. in Studies in International Taxation, Giovannini, Hubbard, and Slemrod. 1993