September 2021

IPOs and Corporate Taxes

Christine Dobridge, Rebecca Lester, and Andrew Whitten

Abstract:

How does going public affect firms’ tax obligations and tax planning? Using a panel of U.S. corporate tax return data from 1994 to 2018, we compare tax payments for firms that completed an IPO with those that filed for an IPO but later withdrew and remained private. We find that in the years immediately following IPO completion, firms have a higher probability of paying taxes and pay more U.S. tax. The effects occur regardless of tax status in the pre-IPO period and are not explained by statutory limitations imposed on the use of pre-IPO losses. Higher income reported for financial reporting purposes, as well as lower interest deductions attributable to debt repayment, contribute to the increased tax payments. These increases are partially offset by higher tax deductions for post-IPO investment and employment spending. Furthermore, the IPO is associated with increased tax planning through foreign tax haven use. The evidence adds to the nascent literature examining corporate tax implications of the IPO decision.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2021.058

PDF: Full Paper

Disclaimer: The economic research that is linked from this page represents the views of the authors and does not indicate concurrence either by other members of the Board's staff or by the Board of Governors. The economic research and their conclusions are often preliminary and are circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment.

The Board values having a staff that conducts research on a wide range of economic topics and that explores a diverse array of perspectives on those topics. The resulting conversations in academia, the economic policy community, and the broader public are important to sharpening our collective thinking.

Back to Top
Last Update: September 07, 2021