Accounting Papers

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Journal Article

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Foundations and Trends® in Accounting





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Multinational taxation is an area of research that encompasses academics in accounting, finance and economics. In particular, researchers are interested in determining whether taxation alters where multinational corporations (MNCs) operate their businesses. A review of the literature on foreign direct investment provides clear support for taxes influencing MNCs' location decisions. In addition, MNCs appear to organize themselves in a manner to increase the amount of their profitsinvested in relatively lightly taxed jurisdictions. By altering the location and the character of income across jurisdictions, MNCs are able to reduce their tax burdens. The natural extension of these lines of research, then, is determining the welfare consequences of MNCs' sensitivity to taxation.

This review aggregates the large body of international tax literature succinctly in one location. Very little of what is incorporated in this piece is novel. Rather, it borrows heavily from those researchers who have focused their careers on understanding taxation in the multinational context. Unfortunately, because the research in this area is dominated by work involving U.S. data, the review is also quite U.S.-centric. However, many countries' multinational tax rules are quite similar. This is primarily attributable to the conformity generated in tax treaties based on the model treaty outlined by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). So, although there is variation in specific tax rules across jurisdictions, the basic tax rules are very homogeneous.


multinational taxation, foreign direct investment, financial accounting, transfer pricing, finance, international economics, international finance



Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.