Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2020

Subjects

tax incentives, investment, take-up, tax administration

Abstract

We investigate whether tax incentives are effective in stimulating private investment in less developed countries, by exploiting the introduction of accelerated depreciation for fixed assets investment in China as a natural experiment. In contrast to the large positive impact of similar tax incentives in the U.S. and U.K. found in recent studies, accelerated depreciation appeared ineffective in stimulating Chinese firms’ investment. Using confidential corporate tax returns from a large province, we find that firms fail to claim the tax benefits on over 80 percent of eligible investments. Firms’ take-up of the tax incentive is significantly influenced by their taxable positions and tax sophistication. Information transmission and resources of local tax authorities also play a significant role. Our study contributes to the understanding of conditions under which tax-based investment incentives can be effective.

Included in

Tax Law Commons

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