Evaluating International Tax Reform

(w/ J. R. Hines Jr.) National Tax Journal 56, no. 3 (September 2003), 487-502.

This paper introduces “capital ownership neutrality” (CON) and “national ownership neutrality” (NON) as benchmarks for evaluating the desirability of international tax reforms, and applies them to analyze recent U.S. tax reform proposals.

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Review of J. R. Hines, Jr. (ed.), International Taxation and Multinational Activity, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001)

 National Tax Journal 55, no. 4 (December 2002), 845-848.

Within the last three decades, federal and subnational governments around the world have become increasingly appreciative of the benefits of foreign direct investment and increasingly aggressive in their efforts to attract multinational firms. 

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Repatriation Taxes and Dividend Distortions

(w/ C. F. Foley and J. R. Hines Jr.) National Tax Journal 54, no. 4 (December 2001), 829-851.

This paper analyzes the effect of repatriation taxes on dividend payments by the foreign affiliates of American multinational firms. The United States taxes the foreign incomes of American companies, grants credits for any foreign income taxes paid, and defers any taxes due on the unrepatriated earnings for those affiliates that are separately incorporated abroad. This system thereby imposes repatriation taxes that vary inversely with foreign tax rates and that differ across organizational forms. As a consequence, it is possible to measure the effect of repatriation taxes by comparing the behavior of foreign subsidiaries that are subject to different tax rates and by comparing the behavior of foreign incorporated and unincorporated affiliates. Evidence from a large panel of foreign affiliates of U.S. firms from 1982 to 1997 indicates that 1 percent lower repatriation tax rates are associated with 1 percent higher dividends. This implies that repatriation taxes reduce aggregate dividend payouts by 12.8 percent, and, in the process, generate annual efficiency losses equal to 2.5 percent of dividends. These effects would disappear if the United States were to exempt foreign income from taxation.