Do tax evaders manage earnings more? : A quantitative study on the relationship between tax evasion and earnings management

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen; Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract:

The relationship between earnings management and tax manipulation has been discussed in academia recently. We contribute to this discussion by using a list of tax evader companies, to test the relationship. The list was supplied by the Swedish Tax Agency and consists of public companies from the Swedish stock exchanges. Our findings show that tax evader companies are more prone to manage their earnings and that they do it by reporting small earnings. The effect of labelling the companies as tax manipulators does also not change the extent that they manipulate their earnings in the future. There is therefore no disciplinary effect from the tax evader fine on a manipulating company to behave more credible in the future. Out of our results the most unexpected was however that when we compare the NASDAQ companies with the ones listed on less liquid stock exchanges the NASDAQ ones were more pervasive in managing their earnings. This goes against our own hypothesis as well as previous literature and shows that investors have to be careful also when investing in premium markets. 

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