Tax haven networks and the role of the Big 4 accountancy firms

Elsevier, Journal of World Business, Volume 53, Issue 2, 2018, Pages 177-193.
Chris Jones, Yama Temouri and Alex Cobham

This paper investigates the association between the Big 4 accountancy firms and the extent to which multinational enterprises build, manage and maintain their networks of tax haven subsidiaries. We extend internalisation theory and derive a number of hypotheses that are tested using count models on firm-level data. Our key findings demonstrate that there is a strong correlation and causal link between the size of an MNE’s tax haven network and their use of the Big 4. We therefore argue that public policy related to the role of auditors can have a significant impact on the tax avoidance behaviour of MNEs.