The Relation Between Firm Dividend Policy and the Predictability of Cash Effective Tax Rates
AuthorErickson, Matthew James
AdvisorDrake, Katharine D.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 31-May-2018
AbstractI examine the relation between a firm's dividend policy and its strategic tax decisions. I posit that the capital market pressure associated with paying a dividend leads dividend-paying firms to seek predictable cash flows. I specifically focus on the volatility of a firm's cash effective tax rate (ETR) due to the observability, large size, variability, and periodicity of cash tax payments. Consistent with dividend payments altering a firm's strategic tax preferences, I find that firms that pay a higher dividend exhibit more predictable cash ETRs. Further, I find that the predictability of a dividend-initiating (eliminating) firm's cash ETR subsequently increases (decreases). Additionally, I find that, consistent with prior research suggesting that financially constrained firms "borrow" cash from their tax account, financial constraint moderates the positive relation between the predictability of a firm's cash ETR and its dividend payments. Importantly, my results hold for firms initiating a dividend in response to the exogenous shock of the Bush tax cuts. Finally, I also examine specific tax strategies dividend-paying firms use to help increase the predictability of their cash tax payments. My results contribute to the academic literature by examining whether, and how, dividend-paying firms alter their strategic tax decisions. Additionally, I contribute to ongoing public policy debates over the value of dividend payments by demonstrating a positive relation between dividend payments and the predictability of a firm's cash tax payments.
Degree ProgramGraduate College