Full Length Research Paper
The inherent financial and reputational risks in companies’ tax avoidance practices should be of great concern to members of the board of directors. However, studies on the relationship between the board’s attributes and corporate tax avoidance have documented mixed findings. Since these studies are predominantly quantitative, the present study uses a qualitative strand in providing explanations to the mixed findings in addition to the quantitative strand. The quantitative data came from the annual reports of the top 100 Malaysian companies based on FTSE tradable index. The panel data were analysed using the system Generalized Methods of Moment (GMM). The findings were used to develop a semi-structured instrument for further qualitative inquiry through personal interview sessions with ten tax auditors of the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRBM). The quantitative analysis shows board effectiveness to be negatively related to corporate tax avoidance. However, board independence and board members’ financial literacy were not. The analysis of the interview responses shows that the members of the board have little influence on the choice of the company’s tax management strategy. These findings should be understood within the limitations of study focusing on large companies; the timeframe of the three-year financial period and use of the views of the tax auditors instead of the views of the directors. Nevertheless, the findings are relevant for the revision of the guidelines on the appointment and oversight roles of directors in the Malaysian Codes of Corporate Governance (MCCG).
Key words: Board attributes, corporate governance, corporate taxation, corporate tax avoidance, generalized methods of moment, Malaysia.
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