This study investigates whether foreign investment enterprises (FIEs) in China alter their corporate reporting behavior in response to a known schedule of tax-rate increases. The context of this investigation is a tax-incentive scheme that allows firms to pay taxes at a reduced rate for a limited period of time, and then at a higher rate when this period expires. If managers attempt to maximize firm value by minimizing tax costs, then the spread of tax rates in the periods surrounding the rate change may provide a substantial incentive for them to accelerate revenue and defer expenses. Consistent with this hypothesis, the empirical results indicate that firms report significantly higher discretionary current accruals for the years before tax-rate increases. The evidence, which indicates that firms manage earnings upward to take advantage of lower tax rates that are available in certain years, has important implications for tax policymakers.
- Discretionary accruals; Earnings management; Foreign investment enterprises (FIEs); Income shifting; Tax holidays