The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) reduces U.S. multinational companies’ (MNC) internal capital market frictions related to repatriation costs by decreasing costs to access internal capital (i.e., foreign cash). This study examines MNCs’ responses to the TCJA and finds spending and investment behavior are dependent upon liquidity, investment opportunities, and borrowing costs. Domestic capital expenditures increased for MNCs with low domestic liquidity and high domestic investment opportunities. These firms also increased share repurchases. In contrast, MNCs with low domestic liquidity and low domestic investment opportunities increased dividends. MNCs with low domestic investment opportunities and high cost of debt reduced their outstanding debt. We also investigate responses to global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI) incentives and find that MNCs with more foreign cash and a greater likelihood of being affected by the GILTI regime increase their foreign but not domestic capital expenditures – a potential unintended consequence of TCJA.
Beyer, Brooke and Downes, Jimmy F. and Mathis, Mollie E. and Rapley, Eric T., The Effect of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on Multinational Firms’ Capital Investment: Internal Capital Market Frictions and Tax Incentives (May 2021).