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Cross-Country Comparisons of Corporate Income Taxes

Markle, Kevin S. and Shackelford, Douglas A.


We use publicly available financial statement information for 11,602 public corporations from 82 countries from 1988–2009 in an attempt to isolate the impact of domicile on corporate taxes. We find that the country in which the parent of a multinational is located and to a lesser extent its subsidiaries are located substantially affects its worldwide effective tax rate (ETR). Japanese firms always face the highest ETRs. U.S. multinationals are among the highest taxed. Multinationals based in tax havens face the lowest taxes. We find that ETRs have been falling over the last two decades; however, the ordinal rank from high-tax countries to low-tax countries has changed little. We also find little difference between the ETRs of multinationals and domestic-only firms. Besides enhancing our knowledge about international taxes, these findings should provide some empirical underpinning for ongoing policy debates about the taxation of multinationals.


Markle, Kevin S. and Shackelford, Douglas A. (2012), Cross-Country Comparisons of Corporate Income Taxes, National Tax Journal, 65:3, pp. 493-527

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2012.3.01