Shortly after Bristol Myers Squibb filed to create an offshore subsidiary in Ireland, the IRS took notice. The large drug manufacturer’s actions would now allow them to attribute some of its patent rights and medications to the subsidiary, and therefore subject to a twelve and a half percent Irish corporate tax rate, which is far less than the current twenty one percent rate in the United States. Additionally, while Bristol Myers had maximized the write offs and deductions for their products in the United States, the Irish deductions would now offset the U.S. taxes.
It is commonly accepted that lowering tax rates increases tax compliance and high tax rates encourage tax evasion. The recent U.S. tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, was enacted partly due to assumptions that lowered tax rates would increase tax compliance and recover lost revenue. Here, I examine the theoretical basis for the claim that lowering income taxes increases compliance, as well as the external evidence regarding the extent of increased compliance due to lowering tax rates.