Dividend Decision under Distributed Profit Taxation: Investor’s Perspective
Distributed profit taxation is the corporate taxation regime of Estonia. A theoretical model on dividend policy under this tax system, compared to traditional gross profit taxation, is presented in this paper. The paper seeks to model a company operating under uncertainty in a binomial framework, including company and investor level taxes and investor’s different consumption levels. Overall, the tax effects on different forms of payout (e.g. dividends or share repurchases) are equal under this tax regime and the main question is deciding upon the timing of dividends. There appear to be different optimums for the timing, depending on the investor’s consumption as well as the probability of losses, tax rates and interest rates. Though one of the aims of the Estonian corporate tax system is to motivate companies to reinvest the profits earned instead of paying them out, the theoretical analysis in this paper shows that from the investor’s perspective retaining of all profits in the company may not be the optimal payout policy in many cases. The study helps to understand the characteristics of this unusual tax regime and may potentially lead to discussions on introducing a similar system in other jurisdictions or on modifying the corporate taxation principles in Estonia
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