The Effect of U.S. Tax Reform on Foreign Acquisitions

Amberger, Harald J. and Robinson, Leslie (2021) The Effect of U.S. Tax Reform on Foreign Acquisitions. WU International Taxation Research Paper Series, 2020-06. WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Universität Wien, Vienna.


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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 marked a significant change in U.S. international tax policy, altering the tax costsassociated with U.S. ownership of foreign assets. We examine the pattern of foreign acquisitions by U.S. firms, both before and after the TCJA, emphasizing the key tax reform provisions that alter incentives for outbound investment. We find considerable cross-sectional variation across target and acquirer characteristics in changesto the probability of foreign acquisition. Notably, we find adecrease in the likelihood that a highly profitable foreign target in a low-tax jurisdiction will be acquired by a U.S. firm, as the TCJA’s Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI) regime imposes an immediate U.S. tax on these foreign earnings. Our findings are important in light of the current U.S. administration’s intention to make GILTI more burdensome. A stated intention of the TCJA was to improve the competitiveness of U.S. firms. Our study cautions that, through GILTI, the reform reduces U.S. firms’ ability to compete in global M&A markets and that this situation would worsen if current proposals were adopted.

Item Type: Paper
Additional Information: Editors: Eva Eberhartinger, Michael Lang, Rupert Sausgruber and Martin Zagler (Vienna University of Economics and Business), and Erich Kirchler (University of Vienna)
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2021 13:46
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2021 13:46
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