Public versus private firm responses to the tax rate reduction in China

Kenny Z. Lin, Lillian F. Mills, Fang ZHANG

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study examines how public and private firms in China respond to the 2008 statutory tax rate reduction from 33 percent to 25 percent. Using a proprietary dataset of private firms, we find that private firms report significantly more income-decreasing current accruals than do public firms in 2007, the year prior to the tax rate reduction. These negative accruals were substantial and material, both compared with public firms and compared with 2008 accruals. By shifting their taxable income from a high- to a low-tax year, private firms save about 8.58 percent of their total tax expenses in 2007. Our results suggest that countries contemplating tax rate changes should expect material inter-temporal income shifting by private firms when they predict the short-term effects of changes in the tax rate on revenue.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)137-163
    Number of pages27
    JournalJournal of the American Taxation Association
    Volume36
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Accounting
    • Finance

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Discretionary accruals
    • Financial reporting incentives
    • Firm ownership
    • Tax costs

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