Based on a natural experiment that took place in Ecuador in the context of a capital outflow tax, this paper presents suggestive evidence of the emergence of an abnormal transfer pricing behavior. We exploit the fact that some imports were eligible to a tax-credit measure aiming to offset the capital outflow tax. The identification strategy relies on the fact that a foreign multinational enterprise has only an incentive to increase the unit value -transfer price- for profit shifting motivations of products eligible to the tax-credit. Then, comparing the evolution of the unit value of eligible products (the treatment group) with that of non eligible products (the comparison group) before and after the tax-credit measure, we estimate the over-reporting incentive's impact on the reported value. Results show that the declared unit value of eligible imports increased following the introduction of the tax-credit measure. Various tests suggest that this abnormal increase is attributable to a profit-shifting behavior.
profit-shifting tax evasion transfer pricing tax loophole capital outflow tax customs reform