Is There Money on the Table? Evidence on the Magnitude of Profit Shifting in the Extractive Industries

Author/Editor:

Sebastian Beer ; Dan Devlin

Publication Date:

January 15, 2021

Electronic Access:

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Summary:

Profit shifting remains a key concern in international tax system debate, but discussions are largely based on aggregate estimates, with less attention paid to individual sectors. Drawing on a novel dataset, we quantify tax avoidance risks in the extractive industries, a sector which is revenue critical for many developing economies. We find that a one percentage point increase in the domestic corporate tax rate has historically reduced sectoral profits by slightly over 3 percent; and the response tends to be more pronounced among mining than among hydrocarbon firms. There is only weak evidence transfer pricing rules contain tax minimization efforts of MNEs in our sample, but interest limitation rules (e.g., thin capitalization or earnings based rules) do reduce the observable extent of profit shifting. Our findings highlight the challenge of taxing income in the natural resource sector and suggest how fiscal regime design might be strengthened.

Series:

Working Paper No. 2021/009

Subject:

Frequency:

regular

English

Publication Date:

January 15, 2021

ISBN/ISSN:

9781513566801/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2021009

Format:

Paper

Pages:

30

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