Does mandatory disclosure of firm’s tax avoidance position affect corporate investment efficiency?

Khalid Mehmood, Hongbin Tan, Xuedan Tao, Huabing Wang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of a firm’s tax avoidance position disclosure on corporate investment efficiency by utilising an exogenous shock to corporate tax reporting that mandates firms to disclose uncertain tax positions in their financial statements under Financial Interpretation No. 48 (FIN 48). We find that, after FIN 48, firms claiming uncertain tax benefits (i.e. affected firms) experience a significant decrease in investment efficiency relative to firms that do not have uncertain tax positions (i.e. non-affected firms). Our finding suggests that, despite promoting transparency, FIN 48 imposes an unfavourable information revelation effect that reduces investment efficiency for affected firms. In terms of the mechanism, we provide evidence that affected firms experience a larger increase (drop) in cost of capital (external financing) following FIN 48 and rule out an alternative explanation that the decreased investment efficiency may arise from internal liquidity constraints. In cross-sectional analyses, we find the adverse effect to be more pronounced for firms with higher disclosure quality, higher tax uncertainty, and more severe financial constraints. These findings provide insight into the debate on why firms sometimes forgo tax avoidance opportunities by pointing out a potential cost of tax avoidance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAccounting and Business Research
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • FIN 48
  • investment efficiency
  • tax avoidance
  • tax reporting
  • tax uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance

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