Comparing UK tax returns of foreign multinationals to matched domestic firms


In this paper, I use confidential UK corporate tax returns data to explore whether there are systematic differences in the amount of taxable profits that multinational and domestic companies report. I find that the ratio of taxable profits to total assets reported by foreign multinational subsidiaries is one-half that of comparable domestic standalones. The majority of the difference is attributable to the fact that a higher proportion of foreign multinational subsidiaries report zero taxable profits. I document how the estimated difference is related to profit shifting and show that using accounting data leads to much smaller estimates of the difference.