This study empirically investigates the differential impact of firm characteristics on book‐tax‐conforming and book‐tax‐difference noncompliance. Tax noncompliance is measured in terms of tax audit adjustments made by tax authorities in response to the violation of tax laws. We decompose the tax audit adjustments into book‐tax‐conforming adjustments (adjustments that affect both book and tax incomes) and book‐tax‐difference adjustments (adjustments that affect only tax income) using archival tax audit data. Based on the decomposed noncompliance, we explicitly examine the tax and nontax cost trade‐off for exporters and high‐tech companies when they underreport both book and tax incomes. Our results indicate that export‐oriented and high‐tech companies, respectively, have larger book‐tax‐conforming adjustments but smaller book‐tax‐difference adjustments than domestic‐market‐oriented and non‐high‐tech companies. Our study contributes to the literature by further explaining the determinants of corporate‐tax noncompliance, and is the first to provide archival evidence of tax noncompliance on such a decomposed basis. These archival evidences on noncompliance help us understand more about the incentives or disincentives for corporations to comply with tax laws. Our results also offer guidance for public policy makers, especially those in developing economies, to design their tax policies to attract foreign investment, and for tax authorities to plan more effective and efficient tax audits.

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