The Structure and Incentive Effects of Corporate Tax Liabilities

  • Published: Apr 30, 2012
  • Pages: 1095-1114
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1985.tb02365.x


This paper describes situations in which tax liabilities assume the form of a negative position in a call option. This structure motivates an examination of the investment decisions of taxed corporations in the presence of risk. It is shown that the structure of the tax liability creates an incentive to underinvest in more risky projects and an incentive for conglomerate merger. These effects are then evaluated in the presence of conflicts of interest between stockholders and bondholders, and under alternative assumptions about the tax code, and about the timing of investment and financing decisions.

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