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In view of the recent enhanced concerns of the SEC and PCAOB that Accounting Principles Board Opinion No. 23 (APB 23)–asserting firms do not comply with the “sufficient…
In view of the recent enhanced concerns of the SEC and PCAOB that Accounting Principles Board Opinion No. 23 (APB 23)–asserting firms do not comply with the “sufficient evidence” criteria of APB 23, we examine whether APB 23–asserting firms that declared their foreign earnings as permanently reinvested abroad are less likely to repatriate those foreign earnings under the American Jobs Creation Act (AJCA) of 2004, compared with similar non-asserting firms. The asserting firms are required to disclose sufficient evidence that validates an ability to meet their domestic cash needs with only earnings generated in the United States and their plans to indefinitely reinvest foreign earnings outside the United States. Estimates show that asserting firms are more likely to repatriate their foreign earnings than non-asserting firms. In addition, we find that the probability of making an election to repatriate permanently invested foreign earnings under the AJCA of 2004 is higher for firms with nonbinding foreign tax credit (FTC) limitations that have made an APB 23 declaration to permanently invest foreign earnings abroad. These findings suggest that asserting firms’ declarations to indefinitely reinvest foreign earnings abroad are not well grounded, thereby indirectly validating the SEC’s and PCAOB’s increased scrutiny for supporting evidence for APB 23 assertion. The estimates also show that the likelihood of making an election to repatriate foreign earnings under the AJCA of 2004 increases with asserting firms’ liquidity constraints and financial distress: the financial characteristics listed as part of APB 23 criteria of sufficient evidence and highlighted by the SEC and PCAOB comment letters, indicating that asserting firms raid permanently reinvested foreign earnings to satisfy their financial needs and constraints.
Krull (2004) finds that US multinational corporations (MNCs) increase amounts designated as permanently reinvested earnings (PRE) to maximize reported after-tax earnings…
Krull (2004) finds that US multinational corporations (MNCs) increase amounts designated as permanently reinvested earnings (PRE) to maximize reported after-tax earnings and meet earnings targets. We extend this research by examining the relationship between executive equity compensation and the opportunistic use of PRE by US MNCs, and the market reaction to earnings management using PRE designations. Firms use equity compensation to incentivize executives to strive for maximum shareholder wealth. One unintended consequence is that executives may engage in earnings management activities to increase their equity compensation. In this study, we examine whether the equity incentives of management are associated with an increased use of PRE. We predict and find strong evidence that the changes in PRE are positively associated with the portion of top managers' compensation that is tied to stock performance. In addition, we find this relationship to be strongest for firms that meet or beat forecasts, but only with the use of PRE to inflate income, suggesting that equity compensation incentivizes managers to opportunistically use PRE, especially to meet analyst forecasts.
Further, we provide evidence that investors react negatively to beating analysts' forecasts with the use of PRE, suggesting that investors find this behavior opportunistic and not fully convincing. This chapter makes an important contribution to what we know about the joint effects of tax policy, generally accepted accounting principles, and incentive compensation on the earnings reporting process.
The extent to which firms repatriate indefinitely reinvested foreign earnings (IRFE) has been a major issue in the US tax system. Congress enacted provisions in the 2017…
The extent to which firms repatriate indefinitely reinvested foreign earnings (IRFE) has been a major issue in the US tax system. Congress enacted provisions in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) specifically to remove tax barriers to repatriation. However, little is known regarding the repatriation of IRFE outside of the temporary tax incentive provided by the 2004 American Jobs Creation Act (AJCA). In this chapter, I provide evidence on such repatriations by identifying a sample of 67 firms from 2009 to 2015 that reverse the indefinite reinvestment designation of foreign earnings and announce a repatriation of foreign cash. In contrast to repatriations following the 2004 AJCA, I do not find evidence that a single economic factor, such as share repurchases, motivates the repatriation. Although, in general, I do not find evidence of a significant market response to the announcements, I find evidence of a negative market reaction to announcements by low foreign effective tax rate (ETR) firms without tax offsets, suggesting that the tax may not be fully priced. Overall, I provide insight into the reasons and implications of the announced repatriation of IRFE.
The effect of tax policy on the repatriation of foreign earnings is a topic of ongoing discussion among policymakers, academics, and the popular press. It has become more…
The effect of tax policy on the repatriation of foreign earnings is a topic of ongoing discussion among policymakers, academics, and the popular press. It has become more salient due to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which permanently removed repatriation tax. This paper synthesizes the academic literature examining US multinational firms’ responses to the repatriation tax holiday initiated by the 2004 American Jobs Creation Act (AJCA), which temporarily reduced the tax on the repatriation of foreign earnings. By synthesizing firm responses to the temporary tax reduction, we identify similarities and differences in: (1) theories about why and when repatriation tax affects firms’ repatriation decisions; (2) empirical evidence of whether repatriation tax affects firms’ repatriation decisions; and (3) empirical evidence of whether repatriation tax affects firms’ investment decisions. The analyses provide insights into the effect of the permanent removal of repatriation tax under the TCJA and explore avenues for future research. This synthesis of the AJCA literature informs tax research and practice as well as policymaking.
In this chapter we analyze how the designation of foreign earnings as “permanently reinvested” outside the US (PRE) is related to subsequent firm growth and market…
In this chapter we analyze how the designation of foreign earnings as “permanently reinvested” outside the US (PRE) is related to subsequent firm growth and market returns. Prior research suggests that firms that hold excess cash in foreign markets to avoid the US corporate income tax experience lower growth, since such “trapped” cash is inefficiently invested. However, foreign earnings can be inefficiently invested in forms other than cash. We hypothesize and find that as the ratio of PRE to total assets increases, firms' growth rates decline. Our results suggest that trapped earnings, and not just trapped cash, are associated with lower growth. Because PRE have also been associated with earnings management in the literature, we further analyze the association between the use of PRE to meet or beat earnings targets and subsequent growth, observing a significant and persistent negative association. Finally, we note that the market discount for PRE, and especially for the use of PRE to manage earnings, appears to be relatively small. Our results provide support for FASB's stated plans to increase disclosure requirements surrounding the tax accrual.
Using a meta-regression analysis, we quantitatively review the empirical literature on the relation between effective tax rate (ETR) and firm size. Accounting literature…
Using a meta-regression analysis, we quantitatively review the empirical literature on the relation between effective tax rate (ETR) and firm size. Accounting literature offers two competing theories on this relation: The political cost theory, suggesting a positive size-ETR relation, and the political power theory, suggesting a negative size-ETR relation. Using a unique data set of 56 studies that do not show a clear tendency towards either of the two theories, we contribute to the discussion on the size-ETR relation in three ways: First, applying meta-regression analysis on a US meta-data set, we provide evidence supporting the political cost theory. Second, our analysis reveals factors that are possible sources of variation and bias in previous empirical studies; these findings can improve future empirical and analytical models. Third, we extend our analysis to a cross-country meta-data set; this extension enables us to investigate explanations for the two competing theories in more detail. We find that Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, a transparency index and a corruption index explain variation in the size-ETR relation. Independent of the two theories, we also find that tax planning aspects potentially affect the size-ETR relation. To our knowledge, these explanations have not yet been investigated in our research context.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the association between aggressive tax planning and stock price synchronicity.
Employing the special institutional background of China, this study constructs tax aggressiveness and stock price synchronicity measures for a large sample of Chinese stocks spanning the period 2003–2015. The authors employ OLS regression as the baseline methodology, and a fixed effect model, the Fama–Macbeth method and GMM as sensitivity checks. Matched samples and difference-in-difference analyses are used to control for endogeneity.
The authors find a significant and positive association between aggressive tax planning and stock price synchronicity. Because material information about risky tax transactions tends to be hidden in various tax accruals accounts, aggressive tax strategies make financial statements less transparent, thereby, increasing information asymmetry and decreasing stock price informativeness. The authors also find that the firms engaging in aggressive tax planning exhibit relatively high corporate opacity. In addition, the authors find that improvements in the tax enforcement regime, ownership status and high-quality auditors all constrain the adverse effects of tax aggressiveness.
This study has important practical implications for China’s regulators, who are striving to reduce the tax burden of enterprises. It also helps investors to consider investment decisions more appropriately from a taxation perspective.
First, this paper contributes to the stock price efficiency literature by identifying the effect of a hitherto unexamined factor, namely, firm-level aggressive tax planning, on the efficiency of stock prices. Second, this study provides further empirical evidence to support the agency view of tax aggressiveness, and the informational interpretation of stock price synchronicity. Third, this study helps us better understand the effects of firm-level tax policy on firm-specific information capitalization in an environment where overall country-level investor protection is relatively weak.
This study examines short selling as one external determinant of corporate tax avoidance. Prior research suggests that short sellers have information advantages over…
This study examines short selling as one external determinant of corporate tax avoidance. Prior research suggests that short sellers have information advantages over retail investors, and high short-interest levels are a bearish signal of targeted stock prices. As a result, when short-interest levels are high, managers have been shown to take actions to minimize the negative effect of high short interest on firms’ stock prices. Tax-avoidance activities may convey a signal of bad news (i.e., high stock price crash risk). We predict that, when short-interest levels are high, managers possess incentives to reduce firm tax avoidance in order to reduce the associated stock price crash risk. Consistent with this prediction, we find that short interest is negatively associated with subsequent tax-avoidance levels. This effect is incremental to other factors identified by prior research. We conclude that short selling significantly constrains corporate tax avoidance.