nep-acc New Economics Papers
on Accounting and Auditing
Issue of 2013‒07‒20
four papers chosen by
Alexander Harin
Modern University for the Humanities

  1. IAS/IFRS and Financial Reporting Quality: Lessons from the European Experience. By Palea, Vera
  2. Fair Value Accounting and Its Usefulness to Financial Statement Users. By Palea, Vera
  3. Fixing the System: An Analysis of Alternative Proposals for the Reform of International Tax By Harry Grubert; Rosanne Altshuler
  4. Taxpayers' Behavioural Responses and Measures of Tax Compliance 'Gaps': A Critique By Gemmell, Norman; Hasseldine, John

  1. By: Palea, Vera (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper discusses empirical research on the effects of the adoption of IAS/IFRS on the quality of financial reporting. In doing so, it focuses on the European Union. The adoption of IAS/IFRS in Europe is an example of accounting standardization among countries with different institutional frameworks and enforcement rules. This allows investigating whether, and to what extent, accounting regulation per se may affect the quality of financial reporting and lead to convergence in financial reporting. This is a key issue for standard setting purposes as IAS/IFRS have been adopted in very diverse countries all over the world and many others are likely to adopt them in the near future.
    Date: 2013–05
  2. By: Palea, Vera (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper aims to discuss fair value accounting and its usefulness to financial statement users. The European Commission has recently endorsed IFRS 13 on fair value measurement and is considering the endorsement of IFRS 9, which extends the use of fair value for financial instruments. Furthermore, fair value accounting has been under deep scrutiny because of its alleged role in the financial crisis. Therefore, the usefulness of fair value accounting is a key issue for standard setting purposes. This paper delineates the theoretical background for fair value accounting, it provides empirical evidence on its usefulness, it highlights some controversial issues and makes some proposals for standard setting discussion.
    Date: 2013–05
  3. By: Harry Grubert (U.S. Treasury Department); Rosanne Altshuler (Rutgers University)
    Abstract: We evaluate proposals for the reform of the U.S. system of taxing cross-border income including dividend exemption, full current inclusion, a Japanese type version of dividend exemption with an effective tax rate test subject to an exception for an active business, dividend exemption combined with a minimum tax, and repeal of check-the-box. We consider two versions of dividend exemption with a minimum tax: one in which the minimum tax is imposed on a country by country basis and another in which the minimum tax is based on overall foreign income. In addition we evaluate versions of minimum taxes that allow current deductions for tangible investment against the minimum tax base. To compare these schemes with current law, we reevaluate the efficiency cost of the dividend repatriation tax using evidence from the response to the 2005 repatriation tax holiday. We find that the burden of avoiding repatriations is higher than found in previous estimates, particularly for high tech profitable foreign businesses, and rises as deferrals accumulate. We simulate the effect of the various alternatives on effective tax rates for investment in high and low tax countries with inclusion of the importance of parent developed intangibles and their role in shifting income from the United States. Our analysis demonstrates that it is possible to make improvements to the system across many dimensions including the lockout effect, income shifting, the choice of location and complexity. The goals are not necessarily in conflict. Compared to the other schemes, we find the per country minimum tax with expensing for real investment has many advantages with respect to these margins. The per country minimum tax offsets (at least in part) the increased incentives for income shifting under pure dividend exemption and is better than full inclusion in tailoring companies’ effective tax rates to their competitive position abroad. No U.S. tax burden will fall on companies that earn just a normal return abroad. The minimum tax is basically a tax on large excess returns in low tax locations, cases in which the company probably has less intense foreign competition. The investment will still be made. Unlike the Japanese type dividend exemption alternative considered, there is no cliff in which the income is subject to the full home country rate if it fails the minimum effective tax rate and active business test. Under the minimum tax with no cliff the company has more of an incentive to lower foreign taxes and will often prefer paying the U.S. minimum tax to paying a higher foreign tax. Finally, the minimum tax with expensing is more effective in discouraging income shifting than repeal of check-the-box. In summary, the per country minimum tax with expensing combines the advantages of the extreme alternatives, dividend exemption and full inclusion, and reduces their shortcomings. Our comparison of the overall and per country minimum tax suggests that the overall version deserves serious consideration. While it is not as thorough as the per country minimum tax in targeting tax haven income, it is a substantial move in that direction and is much simpler.
    Keywords: International taxation, , Multinational corporations, Territorial taxation, Corporate taxation
    JEL: H20 H25 H87
    Date: 2013–04–04
  4. By: Gemmell, Norman; Hasseldine, John
    Abstract: The work of Feldstein (1995, 1999) has stimulated substantial conceptual and empirical advances in economists’ approaches to analysing taxpayers’ behavioural responses to changes in tax rates. Meanwhile, a largely independent literature proposing and applying alternative measures of tax compliance has also developed in recent years, which has sought to provide tax agencies with tools to identify the extent of tax non-compliance as a first step to designing policies to improve compliance. In this context, measures of ‘tax gaps’ – the difference between actual tax collected and the potential tax collection under full compliance with the tax code – have become the primary measures of tax non-compliance via (legal) avoidance and/or (illegal) evasion. In this paper we argue that the tax gap as conventionally defined is conceptually flawed because it fails to capture behavioural responses by taxpayers. We show that, in the presence of such behavioural responses, tax gap measures both for indirect taxes (such as the ‘VAT-gap’) and direct (income) taxes exaggerate the degree of noncompliance. Further, where these conventional tax gap measures motivate reforms designed to increase the tax compliance rate, they will likely have a tax base reducing effect and hence generate a smaller increase in realised tax revenues than would be anticipated from the tax gap estimate.
    Keywords: Behavioural responses, Taxpayers, Tax rate changes, Tax policy, Compliance,
    Date: 2013

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