Aggressive Tax Planning and Labor Investments
Traini, S., Goldman, N. C., & Lewellen, C. M. (2022, April 5). JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND FINANCE.
We examine the association between aggressive tax planning and labor investment efficiency among U.S. firms. Labor is an important input to production that is material to many firms, and prior research suggests that inefficient labor investments can negatively affect future profitability and growth. We provide evidence that firms engaging in aggressive tax planning are associated with deviations from expected labor investments, which is indicative of labor investment inefficiency. We find that our results are concentrated in labor underinvestment, consistent with risks and uncertainties from aggressive tax planning making firms more cautious when investing. Our findings are strongest among firms with greater tax risk, higher labor costs, and weaker corporate governance. Our study contributes to the literature examining tax planning consequences by providing evidence that a tradeoff exists between aggressive tax planning and investments in labor. Therefore, our results suggest that managers should carefully consider the cash flow benefits of tax planning in conjunction with the potential effects of lower labor investments to ensure that the overall long-term effect of the tax strategy is value-increasing.