Are family firms more tax aggressive than non-family firms, especially if they have a male CEO?
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- Master of Science 
Taxes has received much attention the past years, with scandals like Enron and the Panama- and Paradise papers setting it on the agenda in many countries. Although there exists extensive research on individual tax avoidance, research on corporate tax avoidance- and aggressiveness is more recent. Further, research of family firms, especially private, is underrepresented in current literature compared to the share such firms constitute in the world. The complexity of firm behaviour complicates the discussion and theory is not unambiguous in its expectations of firms’ tax behaviour. The dominating theories on differences in tax aggressiveness between family- and non-family firms are agency theory and the socioemotional wealth perspective. While many of the previous studies on family firms and tax aggressiveness base the main analysis on one of the two theories, we seek to combine them in order to enhance the understanding of firms’ tax aggressiveness and differences between family- and non-family firms. Using data of Norwegian public- and private firms, we compare family- and non-family firms, as well as the effect of listing status within the group of family firms. In our main analysis, we do not find a systematic difference between either private- nor public family- and non-family firms but discover that public family firms may be less tax aggressive than their counterparts when investigating larger firms, substantiating the findings of Chen et al. (2010). Moreover, we find that family dominated private firms are indeed less tax aggressive but are not able to identify a clear non-linear relationship between family ownership and tax aggressiveness. Further, we analyse whether family firms’ tax behaviour differ when the CEO is male compared to female. The results indicate that both private- and public family firms are more tax aggressive when the CEO is male, in line with previous research on gender differences.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Business law, tax and accounting - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2018