We study whether the corporate tax system provides incentives for risky firm investment. We first model the effects of corporate tax rates and tax loss offset rules on firm risk-taking. Testing the theoretical predictions, we find that firm risk-taking is positively related to the length of tax loss periods. This result occurs because the loss rules shift a portion of investment risk to the government, inducing firms to increase their overall level of risk-taking. Moreover, the corporate tax rate has a positive effect on risk-taking for firms that can expect to use their tax losses, and a negative effect for those that cannot. Thus, the effect of taxes on risky investment decisions varies among firms, and its sign hinges on firm-specific expectations of future tax loss recovery.
Corporate taxation firm risk-taking net operating losses