Essays on Chinese corporate tax avoidance

Lin, Jue (2018) Essays on Chinese corporate tax avoidance. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis consists of three self-contained studies on corporate tax avoidance of Chinese firms around the 2008 Corporate Tax Reform.

In Chapter 1, we describe the background of this thesis, provide a general introduction of the Tax Reform and outline the motivation of this research.

Chapter 2 studies how multinationals’ decisions of foreign direct investment (FDI) into China responded to the tax reform where exemption from the dividend withholding tax was repealed and investors from various jurisdictions faced different withholding tax rates due to their existing double tax agreements (DTA) with China, providing incentives to adopt an indirect strategy for foreign affiliates and thus to reduce host country taxation of foreign income. We find a significant rise in FDI flows sourced from low tax conduit jurisdictions with favorable DTA subsequent to the tax reform, while there is no similar increase in FDI flows sourced from other jurisdictions. In addition, our results suggest that the pattern of FDI changes is similar for jurisdictions adopting divergent double tax relief mechanisms. Overall, our findings are supportive of the existence of indirect investment structures in which investors use conduit strategies via chains of ownership in order to minimize their corporate tax burden.

Chapter 3 investigates whether and how firms shift income across consecutive years in response to a known schedule of tax rate changes. Both accruals-based and real earnings management models are tested for firms with tax rate increase or decrease. We find that firms expecting tax rate increase are more likely to manage their earnings upward via accruals instead of real activities, while firms facing tax rate reduction do not exhibit significant downward earnings management behavior via accruals or real activities. Our tests also show that state or institutional ownership do not have significant impact on the extent of accruals-based or real earnings management in response to tax rate changes.

Chapter 4 studies the changes in effective tax rates (ETR) and book-tax differences (BTDs) of firms in response to a rise or cut in statutory tax rate during a major tax reform in an emerging market, and offers insights into the interaction of financial accounting considerations with corporate tax avoidance. We find that firms located in special economic zones (SEZ) with a rising statutory tax rate after tax reform exhibit a rise in ETRs and permanent BTDs, but the temporary BTDs of SEZ firms dropped after CTR-08, suggesting a trade-off of time value benefits of deferring tax payment for the advantage of accelerating tax payment during a period of rising tax rate. DR firms, on the other hand, show a decrease in ETRs and permanent BTDs when they face a decrease in statutory tax rate.

In Chapter 5, the main findings and implications of the thesis are summarized and future research directions are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Gunessee, Saileshsingh
Wright, Brian
Keywords: Corporate tax avoidance, FDI, tax treaty, earnings management, book-tax differences, effective tax rate
Subjects: H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculties/Schools: UNNC Ningbo, China Campus > Faculty of Business > Nottingham University Business School China
Item ID: 49088
Depositing User: LIN, Jue
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2018 06:34
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2018 18:45
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/49088

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