Taxing Investments in the Asia-Pacific Region: The Importance of Cross-Border Taxation and Fiscal Incentives

This article investigates the taxation of investments in the Asia-Pacific region. The authors’ analysis is based on the methodology of Devereux and Griffith (1999 and 2003) for determining effective average tax rates. This approach allows us to account for important domestic and international tax regulations. The results presented in this article show that for the tax law of 2014, the overall dispersion of effective tax burdens in the Asia-Pacific region ranges from 10.6% in Hong Kong to 40.4% in India for domestic investments (an overall average of 23.4%). In 8 out of 19 jurisdictions covered, investments are, however, effectively taxed at a rate between 20% and 25%. For foreign direct investment, international tax law regulations have a significant impact on the overall tax burden. In any of the Asia-Pacific jurisdictions, foreign direct investments by a Singaporean or a German parent company are on average taxed at 29.2% and at 32.8% in the case of profit repatriation to the United States. Meanwhile, tax incentives for the stimulation of private investment reduce the effective average tax rate by 8.6 percentage points on average. Fiscal incentives targeted at investments in the high-technology sector or the development of specific geographic areas result in the lowest effective tax burdens.