The Long Way to Tax Transparency: Lessons from the Early Publishers of Country-by-Country Reports

Authors: Giulia Aliprandi, Tommaso Faccio, Sarah Godar, Petr Jansky, and Katia Toledo Ruiz

In this paper, we analyse a hand-collected sample of voluntarily published country-by-country reports (CbCRs) of ten multinational enterprises (MNEs). We assess the value added and the limitations of qualitative and quantitative information provided in the reports based on a comparison to individual MNEs’ annual financial reports and aggregate CbCR data provided by the OECD. We find that early publishers of CbCRs do not double-count profits by including intra-company dividends but that the inclusion of equity-accounted participation results may bias tax risk indicators as they account for up to 30% of profits or 10% on average. Our sample MNEs seem to pay higher effective tax rates than the global average and many of them report relatively little profit in tax havens. We only find a very weak correlation of the location of profits and effective tax rates. This might indicate that more tax transparent MNEs avoid taxes less aggressively. However, our assessment of different tax risk indicators reveals important variations between companies.