We analyze the repatriation behavior of U.S. multinational corporations under the tax holiday implemented as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. Our results suggest that tax incentives, as reflected in differences between firms' effective foreign tax rates, do not appear to be significant predictors of either participation in the tax holiday or the amounts repatriated by firms that chose to participate. In contrast, differences in financial reporting incentives were significant predictors of both participation in the holiday and the amounts repatriated. Not surprisingly, we find that firms appear to have chosen between repatriation of permanently versus temporarily deferred foreign earnings based on how the source of repatriation impacted their GAAP financial statements. Moreover, our results suggest that many firms chose to participate in the holiday only to the extent necessary to achieve financial reporting goals. Overall, our results suggest that financial reporting incentives appear to have been much more important to firms than tax savings in choosing whether and to what extent to participate in the holiday. Indeed, many firms appear to have viewed the act principally as an opportunity to manage reported GAAP income, rather than as an opportunity to reduce their U.S. tax costs.

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