Thiess Buettner, Felix Kreidl, 14 May 2020

Investors have increasingly used the instrument of withholding taxes to evade dividend taxation, employing ‘cum-ex’ transactions around ex-dividend dates. Using German stock trading data, this column provides evidence for these types of transactions, showing that there is a substantial increase in the number of stocks traded immediately before the ex-dividend date, with much stronger increases in ‘over-the-counter’ transactions, where trades are particularly easy to arrange.  Given the evidence, withholding-tax non-compliance in the form of cum-ex transactions should not be regarded as some type of financial market arbitrage exploiting a tax loophole but a form of deliberate tax fraud.

Peter Egger, Katharina Erhardt, Christian Keuschnigg, 25 February 2019

The effect of taxes on firm-level investments is very heterogeneous. This column shows that the impact of corporate taxation is up to 70% higher for entrepreneurial firms than for managerial ones, while dividend taxation negatively affects the investment of financially constrained firms but entails no significant impact on cash-rich firms. Policy should provide targeted tax relief to the most constrained firms, where taxes are most harmful, if other policies are unsuccessful in improving access to external funds.

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