Gresik, Thomas A. Schindler, Dirk Schjelderup, Guttorm
Year of Publication:
CESifo Working Paper 5609
Many subsidiaries can deduct interest payments on internal debt from their taxable income. By issuing internal debt from a tax haven, multinationals can shift income out of host countries through the interest rates they charge and the amount of internal debt they issue. We show that, from a welfare perspective, thin-capitalization rules that restrict the amount of debt for which interest is tax deductible (safe harbor rules) are inferior to rules that limit the ratio of debt interest to pre-tax earnings (earnings stripping rules), even if a safe harbor rule is used in conjunction with an earnings stripping rule.