Tax-Motivated Profit Shifting and Anti-Avoidance Stringency: Firm-Level Evidence from Developing Countries
This paper uses firm-level data from developing countries to examine the significance of tax-motivated profit shifting from high-tax to low-tax countries by multinational enterprises and to analyze the extent to which anti-avoidance measures mitigate the profit shifting. Focusing on firms in ASEAN5, this study shows that (1) tax-motivated profit shifting is statistically and economically significant, especially for manufacturing firms, (2) auditing and transfer-pricing scrutiny is more effective in reducing profit shifting than documentation requirement alone, and (3) tax-motivated profit shifting is prominent for large firms, while anti-tax avoidance measures result in the absence of profit shifting detected from small manufacturing firms. The findings have important policy implications regarding tax revenues in developing countries, especially those depending on multinational enterprises but having weak governance.
Thailand’s Car Tax Rebate Scheme and Consumption Responses: the Role of Durable Goods with Adjustment Costs
In 2011, Thailand faced the largest ood in seventy years. In response to the unexpected crisis the Thai government rolled out Thailand’s car tax rebate scheme in an attempt to prevent the economy from slipping into a deep recession. This study investigates consumption responses to changes in vehicle prices induced by the car tax rebate scheme presented in the framework of a life-cycle model. The model features durable goods with adjustment costs and non-homothetic preference. The key features match the fact that car purchases are lumpy and infrequent and that cars are luxury goods in Thailand. Additionally, liquidity constraints and adjustment costs are also important features for the evaluation of shorter-run consumption responses. Key parameters are estimated to match household-level data. Then partial equilibrium responses, which are key inputs to inform the aggregate outcome of the policy, are simulated given a distribution of the population wealth, income,and age in the economy. Findings show that Thai households have large elasticity of intertemporal substitution (EIS), hence large responses to the scal stimulus. Furthermore, non-homotheticity in the preference generates heterogeneous policy responses varied by household income and wealth. The model predicts that the temporary price shock will lead to a large cutback in future consumption and saving, consistent with the evidence shown by aggregate data. A number of alternative policy experiments are also conducted.
Location choice and tax responsiveness of foreign multinationals: Evidence from ASEAN countries
This study uses a firm-level dataset to examine the impacts of taxation on multinationals’ decisions to set up new foreign subsidiaries in developing ASEAN countries. It finds that taxes play a critical role in MNEs’ location choice decision, with tax incentives being instrumental for maintaining location choice probabilities associated with each host country. The findings also indicate important heterogeneity in the tax responsiveness. First, the tax sensitivity for high-tech firms is significantly lower than that for low-tech firms. Second, having a prior presence in the respective host country is associated with substantially lower tax responsiveness. Finally, in accordance with international tax-avoidance considerations, the tax responsiveness is significantly diminished for affiliates with a connection to tax-haven countries. These provide important policy implications for developing-country governments that consider employing tax incentives to attract MNEs.
Uncovering Productivity Puzzles in Thailand: Lessons from Microdata
The Asian financial crisis in 1997 has an impact on Thailand’s productivity both in the short run and in the long run. The post-crisis productivity growth rate dropped to merely 1% per year in comparison to the pre-crisis level at 2% per year. Thus, a better understanding about the factors determining Thailand’s aggregate productivity is a key to raising Thailand’s output in the long run. Recent literature has identified resource misallocation as an important factor to explain the difference in the productivity levels between developed and developing economies. This paper uses the plant-level data to estimate the allocative efficiency and to identify the source of resource misallocation in the Thai manufacturing sector. The results suggest that the size-dependent policies could contribute to the factor misallocation and that market concentration, foreign investment, and financial deepening could help alleviate the misallocation problem at the sector level. However, R&D activities intensifies resource misallocation that calls for well-defined policies to promote knowledge spillover within industry and to reduce the frontier-laggard gap. Dynamic resource reallocation helps shore up TFP growth over the business cycle that emphasizing a set of policy to reinforce the mechanism of creative destruction.
Assessing the Importance of Taxation on FDI: Evidence from South-East Asian Developing Countries
This study examines the influence of taxation on FDI using data from South-East Asia. It employs the quantile regression approach with fixed effects that provides a comprehensive view of the tax sensitivity across the FDI distribution. Estimates confirm the significantly negative impact of the bilateral effective average tax rate but its effect is heterogeneous across the distribution. This stresses the importance of understanding the effect of taxation across the distribution rather than only at the mean. Also, the economic significance of the tax is relatively smaller than that of other fundamental factors such as labor quality and governance.
Fiscal Stimulus and Household Debt: Evidence from Thailand’s First-Car Buyer Tax Rebate
This paper studies the impacts of Thailand’s 2011-2012 first-car tax rebate scheme on household debt using the account-level loan data from National Credit Bureau. While the literature mostly concentrates on the macroeconomic effects of such stimulus, this study focuses on the effects on individuals who borrow to finance their durable-goods purchases. We show that the program led to higher delinquency on loans and crowded out other loan originations. Our findings are consistent with the demand-shifting mechanism—the rebates encouraged participants to purchase their cars very prematurely. The results were more adverse for passenger car buyers than for truck buyers. We also find local spillover effects of the program on non-auto loans and on individuals not participating in the program.
Assessing Tax Incentives for Investment: Case Study of Thailand
Tax incentives for investment are very popular among developing countries but they are costly and unlikely to compensate for other shortcomings. One of the reasons many governments often uses when expanding the tax incentives is that their tax incentives are inferior relative to those of competitors. This study examines the impacts of those tax incentives on the tax competitiveness using the case study of Thailand. It takes into account important tax provisions under both standard and preferential tax treatments, and computes effective average tax rates (EATRs) applied to the country’s focused industries. It then compares Thailand’s EATRs with those of ASEAN peers. Such industry-specific lens is crucial since the tax benefits offered as well as the composition of investment assets can vary substantially between industries. It finds that, Thailand’s investment incentives are broadly comparable to those offered by its ASEAN peers. Under the maximum incentives, the EATRs range from 6-9% depending on the investment intensity in each industry. This suggests that, with the exception of targeted incentives for the biotec industry, the government should refrain from throwing any more tax or monetary incentives and focus on fixing structural shortcomings. The results also indicate that accelerated depreciation and investment tax allowance are two options that may perform better than the tax holiday in term of minimizing the incentive redundancy.