Prior studies document increased share repurchase activity after the temporary tax holiday under the American Jobs Creation Act (AJCA) of 2004. Our study examines the moderating effect of financial statement readability on share repurchases in response to a temporary reduction in repatriation tax. Building on prior literature, we argue that firms with excess cash overseas, despite the lack of investment opportunities, produce less readable financial statements to hide bad news. We find that firms with less readable financial statements initiated higher levels of share repurchases after the AJCA. Our results contribute to the existing literature showing (1) firms hold excess cash overseas mainly for tax reasons rather than for nontax reasons such as precautionary motives or empire-building concerns and (2) firms return excess funds to investors rather than squander the funds once the tax cost of repatriation is reduced. Firms that suffer from the overinvestment problem using hard-to-read financial statements to hide the bad news of a lack of investment opportunities are more likely to benefit from the tax cut. Our study provides timely evidence of potential firm response to the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which permanently removes the repatriation tax.
Zhao, X., Filbeck, G. and Deshmukh, A. (2020), "Annual Report Readability and Share Repurchases Under a Temporary Tax Holiday", Hasseldine, J. (Ed.) Advances in Taxation (Advances in Taxation, Vol. 27), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 73-102. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1058-749720200000027003Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited