Directors’ International Work Experience and Tax Avoidance

Gonzales, Amanda
Harris,M. Kathleen
Omer, Thomas C.
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We examine the effect of directors’ international work experience on the tax avoidance of U.S. firms. We posit that directors with specialized knowledge about international tax regimes can assist firms in reducing worldwide tax obligations. For a sample of U.S. firms from 2004-2013, we find a positive association between tax avoidance and directors with work experience in tax havens and foreign jurisdictions where the firm has operations. The positive associations are consistent across the tax distribution and robust to controls for endogeneity. Finally, we find that the positive association between international work experience and tax avoidance is concentrated in the group of directors who are domiciled overseas or Americans domiciled in the U.S. The results contribute to both the literature on tax avoidance and the literature on the effects of boards of directors on firms’ tax outcomes.
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Tax avoidance, International Directors, Tax Havens
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