Country-by-country reporting (CbCR) aims at improving tax transparency by mandating multinational firms to disclose certain tax-related information on a per-country basis. The data is supposed to help tax authorities in detecting abusive tax sheltering and – in case it is made public – to exert public pressure on the firms inducing them to pay their “fair share of taxes” in the countries where they operate. One of the first CbCR initiatives applies to EU financial institutions for financial years 2014 onwards. We create a novel database by collecting data from the published CbCRs of the global ultimate owners of more than 100 multinational bank groups headquartered in the EU and conduct various analyses in order to assess the information content of CbCR data. In particular, we compare the CbCR data with information from commercial databases to investigate in how far the new disclosure obligation increased transparency on banks’ tax avoidance behavior. Our insights are of high relevance in light of the ongoing political discussions on CbCR and tax transparency.
01.05.2018 - 31.12.2019