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Tax Foundation Forum: Making Sense of Profit Shifting

3 min readBy: Erik Cederwall

Making Sense of Profit ShiftingProfit shifting is when multinational companies reduce their tax burden by moving the location of their profits from high-tax countries to low-tax jurisdictions and tax havens. is an interview series that aims to advance and cultivate a more informed discussion of a taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. policy topic. Tax Foundation Forum aggregates the latest research and thinking through a set of interviews with leading scholars, policy experts, and practitioners.

With its focus on the profit shifting phenomenon, this year’s edition of Tax Foundation Forum seeks to make sense of an issue that has significantly influenced the international tax debate as well as the U.S. corporate tax reform debate.

A policy-relevant topic that has received unprecedented attention in the public discourse, profit shifting is directly related to issues concerning taxation and tax planning of multinational firms. As this debate unfolds – in the U.S. as well as internationally – Making Sense of Profit Shifting aims to provide context on the topic of profit shifting by surveying leading tax scholars, practitioners, and policy experts. We hope the interview series provides a current and holistic examination of the phenomenon from an academic, practical, and policy perspective.

The series discusses a number of underlying themes: (1) What is actually known about profit shifting and which areas remain ambiguous; (2) the drivers and mechanics of profit shifting; (3) the magnitude and directional trend of profit shifting; (4) missing pieces for a better understanding of profit shifting; (5) solutions to profit shifting, with a focus on the feasibility or desirability of multilateral cooperation; and (6) the status quo and future of the corporate income taxA corporate income tax (CIT) is levied by federal and state governments on business profits. Many companies are not subject to the CIT because they are taxed as pass-through businesses, with income reportable under the individual income tax. and international taxation.

Making Sense of Profit Shifting features 18 participants that each have a unique viewpoint and understanding of profit shifting. The interviews will be published daily over the next couple weeks, starting on May 13th.

Making Sense of Profit Shifting
Participants Interview

Kimberly Clausing

Thormund A. Miller and Walter Mintz Professor of Economics

Reed College

May 13

Mihir Desai

Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance at Harvard Business School and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

Harvard University

May 13

Dhammika Dharmapala

Professor of Law

University of Chicago Law School

May 14

Edward Kleinbard

Theodore Johnson Professor of Law and Business

University of Southern California, Gould School of Law

May 15

Lars Feld

Chair, Economic Policy and Constitutional Economics

Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg

May 18

Jack Mintz

Director and Palmer Chair in Public Policy

University of Calgary, School of Public Policy

May 19

Kevin Markle

Assistant Professor of Accounting

The University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business

May 20

Scott Dyreng

Associate Professor of Accounting

Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business

May 21

Pascal Saint-Amans

Director, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

May 22

Douglas Shackelford

Dean and Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School

May 28

Manal Corwin

National Service Line Leader for International Tax and Principle-in Charge of Washington National Tax-International Policy


May 29

Harry Grubert

Senior Research Economist

U.S. Treasury, Office of Tax Analysis

June 1

Nadine Riedel

Professor of Public Finance and Economic Policy

Ruhr University Bochum

June 15

Pam Olson

Deputy Tax Leader and Washington National Tax Services Practice Leader


June 18

Thomas Neubig

Deputy Head of Tax Policy and Statistics Division

OECD, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration

June 19

Victoria Perry

Assistant Director and Division Chief, Tax Policy

International Monetary Fund

June 22

Kenneth Klassen

Deloitte Professor and Director of Waterloo Centre for Taxation in a Global Economy

University of Waterloo

June 24

Gary Hufbauer

Reginald Jones Senior Fellow

Peterson Institute for International Economics

August 3

All interviews were conducted by Tax Foundation Taxes and Growth Fellow, Erik Cederwall. The interviews are edited for length and clarity.