ABSTRACT

I examine the role of heterogeneous shareholder-level taxes in organizational form decisions and in subsequent changes in investor stock ownership. Specifically, I investigate the decision to form a master limited partnership (MLP), which is a tax-advantaged entity for tax-sensitive shareholders, but a tax-disadvantaged entity for tax-exempt shareholders. Consistent with shareholder-level taxes influencing organizational form decisions, I find that firms owned by more tax-exempt shareholders are less likely to carve-out MLPs. Consistent with shareholder-level taxes influencing stock ownership, I find that tax-sensitive investors, on average, decrease their ownership in the parent and hold a relatively larger ownership share in the MLP than in the parent after the carve-out. In contrast, tax-exempt investors own less of the MLP than of the parent. These results provide evidence that firms cater to investors' shareholder-level taxes in making organizational form decisions and that investors sort on tax characteristics inherent to organizational form.

JEL Classifications: G32; H24; H25.

Data Availability: Data used in this study are available from public sources identified in the paper.

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