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Optimal Capital Structure under Corporate and Personal Taxation Harry DeANGELO University of Washington Ronald W. MASULIS University of California Securities and Exchange Commission Received September 1978, final version received December 1979

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Outline of Presentation Introduction Introduction Elements of the model Elements of the model Miller’s leverage irrelevancy theorem Miller’s leverage irrelevancy theorem Tax shield substitutes for debt and interior optimum leverage Tax shield substitutes for debt and interior optimum leverage Bankruptcy costs and horse- and-rabbit stew Bankruptcy costs and horse- and-rabbit stew [continued] [continued]

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Testable hypotheses Testable hypotheses Empirical evidence Empirical evidence Summary Summary

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Introduction

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In this paper, a model of corporate leverage choice is formulated in which corporate and differential personal taxes exist and supply side adjustments by firms enter into the determination of equilibrium relative prices of debt and equity. In this paper, a model of corporate leverage choice is formulated in which corporate and differential personal taxes exist and supply side adjustments by firms enter into the determination of equilibrium relative prices of debt and equity. The presence of corporate tax shield substitutes for debt such as accounting depreciation, depletion allowances, and investment tax credits is shown to imply a market equilibrium in which each firm has a unique interior optimum leverage decision (with or without leverage-related costs). The presence of corporate tax shield substitutes for debt such as accounting depreciation, depletion allowances, and investment tax credits is shown to imply a market equilibrium in which each firm has a unique interior optimum leverage decision (with or without leverage-related costs). The optimal leverage model yields a number of interesting predictions regarding cross-sectional and time-series properties of firms’ capital structures. The optimal leverage model yields a number of interesting predictions regarding cross-sectional and time-series properties of firms’ capital structures. Extant evidence bearing on these predictions is examined. Extant evidence bearing on these predictions is examined.

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Merton Miller (1977) argues that in a world of differential personal taxes, (1) the marginal personal tax disadvantage of debt combined with (2) supply side adjustments by firms will override the corporate tax advantage of debt and drive market prices to an equilibrium implying leverage irrelevancy to any given firm. Merton Miller (1977) argues that in a world of differential personal taxes, (1) the marginal personal tax disadvantage of debt combined with (2) supply side adjustments by firms will override the corporate tax advantage of debt and drive market prices to an equilibrium implying leverage irrelevancy to any given firm.

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Importantly, the existence of a unique interior optimum does not require the introduction of bankruptcy, agency, or other leverage-related costs. On the other hand, with any of these leverage costs present each firm will also have a unique interior optimum capital structure regardless of whether non-debt shields are available. Importantly, the existence of a unique interior optimum does not require the introduction of bankruptcy, agency, or other leverage-related costs. On the other hand, with any of these leverage costs present each firm will also have a unique interior optimum capital structure regardless of whether non-debt shields are available. Most interestingly, our model predicts that firms will select a level of debt which is negatively related to the (relatively easily measured) level of available tax shield substitutes for debt such as depreciation deductions or investment tax credits. Most interestingly, our model predicts that firms will select a level of debt which is negatively related to the (relatively easily measured) level of available tax shield substitutes for debt such as depreciation deductions or investment tax credits.

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Element of model

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Use a two-date state-preference model Use a two-date state-preference model For firm For firm - maximize its value - maximize its value - treat debt charge as deductible in - treat debt charge as deductible in calculating the corporate tax bill calculating the corporate tax bill - have deductible non-cash flow charge as - have deductible non-cash flow charge as well as tax credits well as tax credits For investors For investors - select optimal portfolio according to their - select optimal portfolio according to their risk-preference and personal tax status risk-preference and personal tax status - personal tax code treats equity income - personal tax code treats equity income more favorably than debt income more favorably than debt income ( i.e. ) ( i.e. )

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Aggregate demand for debt and equity under differential personal taxation Define and as individual i’s after-personal tax yields on state s debt and equity Define and as individual i’s after-personal tax yields on state s debt and equity - If > holds state s debt over equity holds state s debt over equity - If = indifferent to holds either state s debt or equity indifferent to holds either state s debt or equity - If < holds state s equity over debt holds state s equity over debt

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Each of the following mutually exclusive and exhaustive personal tax brackets Each of the following mutually exclusive and exhaustive personal tax brackets Bracket B.1: Bracket B.1: Bracket B.2: Bracket B.2: Bracket B.3: Bracket B.3: After-personal tax expected yield on debt and equity After-personal tax expected yield on debt and equity

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Firm valuation under differential personal taxation Define the following variables Define the following variables X(s)≡ state s earning before interest and taxes X(s)≡ state s earning before interest and taxes (be monotone increasing in s over the set of (be monotone increasing in s over the set of possible states [ 0, ]) possible states [ 0, ]) B ≡ face value of debt which is assumed fully B ≡ face value of debt which is assumed fully deductible in calculating the corporate tax bill deductible in calculating the corporate tax bill (capital structure decision variable) (capital structure decision variable) △ ≡ corporate tax deduction resulting from non- △ ≡ corporate tax deduction resulting from non- cash charges such as accounting cash charges such as accounting depreciation depreciation Γ ≡ dollar value of tax credits Γ ≡ dollar value of tax credits ≡ statutory marginal corporate tax rate ≡ statutory marginal corporate tax rate θ ≡ statutory maximum fraction of gross tax liability θ ≡ statutory maximum fraction of gross tax liability which can be shield by tax credits which can be shield by tax credits

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State outcome 0 B B B -B

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The current market value of firm is V=D+E where D and E are the current market valuations ( at prices { }) The current market value of firm is V=D+E where D and E are the current market valuations ( at prices { })

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See how alternative leverage decision affect firm value, calculate the marginal value of debt financing See how alternative leverage decision affect firm value, calculate the marginal value of debt financing

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Consider all investors are risk- neutral with homogeneous belief Consider all investors are risk- neutral with homogeneous belief

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Miller’s leverage irrelevancy theorem

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Given no corporate tax shield substitutes for debt, partial or total loss of the marginal corporate tax shield benefit of debt never occur. Given no corporate tax shield substitutes for debt, partial or total loss of the marginal corporate tax shield benefit of debt never occur.

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Given the heterogeneous personal tax code, the downward-sloping aggregate debt demand curve must intersect the aggregate supply curve in the perfectly elastic range at relative prices. Given the heterogeneous personal tax code, the downward-sloping aggregate debt demand curve must intersect the aggregate supply curve in the perfectly elastic range at relative prices.

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Tax shield substitutes for debt and interior optimum leverage

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Deriving the supply curve (1) No firms will supply any debt No firms will supply any debt

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Deriving the supply curve (2) Perfect elastic section Perfect elastic section

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Deriving the supply curve (3) No debt will be supplied at the relative prices. No debt will be supplied at the relative prices. A higher price must be paid A higher price must be paid To induce a greater supply of debt, a higher unit price must be paid. To induce a greater supply of debt, a higher unit price must be paid.

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Deriving the supply curve (4) This higher price is required to compensate for the loss of corporate tax shield which will occur on marginal units of debt in states of the world. This higher price is required to compensate for the loss of corporate tax shield which will occur on marginal units of debt in states of the world.

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Optimum leverage At the term in square brackets equals zero which says that the expected marginal corporate tax benefit is equated to the expected marginal personal tax disadvantage of debt at the optimum At the term in square brackets equals zero which says that the expected marginal corporate tax benefit is equated to the expected marginal personal tax disadvantage of debt at the optimum

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CB-CF effect CB provisions reduce the probability that a corporate tax shield will be lost by allowing current tax losses to be applied immediately against several previous years’ unsheltered taxable income. CB provisions reduce the probability that a corporate tax shield will be lost by allowing current tax losses to be applied immediately against several previous years’ unsheltered taxable income. CF provisions reduce the probability that corporate tax shield will be lost by allowing excess shields to be applied against future taxable income for several years. CF provisions reduce the probability that corporate tax shield will be lost by allowing excess shields to be applied against future taxable income for several years. The supply curve will be more elastic since firms will require smaller price compensation to increase their debt supply because CB-CF provisions reduce the expected loss of corporate tax shield. The supply curve will be more elastic since firms will require smaller price compensation to increase their debt supply because CB-CF provisions reduce the expected loss of corporate tax shield.

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Bankruptcy costs and horse-and-rabbit stew

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With positive default costs, each firm will still have a unique interior optimum leverage decision in market equilibrium With positive default costs, each firm will still have a unique interior optimum leverage decision in market equilibrium Whether default costs are large or small, the market’s relative prices of debt and equity will adjust so that the net tax advantage of debt is of the same order of magnitude as expected marginal default costs. Whether default costs are large or small, the market’s relative prices of debt and equity will adjust so that the net tax advantage of debt is of the same order of magnitude as expected marginal default costs.

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The higher debt price is required in market equilibrium as compensation for the expected marginal costs of default. The higher debt price is required in market equilibrium as compensation for the expected marginal costs of default. In market equilibrium, each firm will have a unique interior optimum leverage decision which equates the present value of expect marginal net tax advantage of debt to the present value of expected marginal default costs. In market equilibrium, each firm will have a unique interior optimum leverage decision which equates the present value of expect marginal net tax advantage of debt to the present value of expected marginal default costs.

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Testable hypotheses & Empirical evidence

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H.1: The leverage decision is relevant to the individual firm in the sense that a pure change in debt (holding investment constant) will have a valuation impact. H.1: The leverage decision is relevant to the individual firm in the sense that a pure change in debt (holding investment constant) will have a valuation impact. H.2: In equilibrium, relative market prices will imply a net (corporate and personal) tax advantage to corporate debt financing – i.e., the implied marginal personal tax rates will satisfy or equivalently, H.2: In equilibrium, relative market prices will imply a net (corporate and personal) tax advantage to corporate debt financing – i.e., the implied marginal personal tax rates will satisfy or equivalently, H.3: Ceteris paribus, decreases in allow able investment related tax shields (e.g., depreciation deductions or investment tax credits) due to changes in the corporate tax code or due to changes in inflation which reduce the real value of tax shields ill increase the amount of debt that firms employ. In cross-sectional analysis, firms with lower investment related tax shields (holding before-tax earnings constant) will employ greater debt in their capital structures. H.3: Ceteris paribus, decreases in allow able investment related tax shields (e.g., depreciation deductions or investment tax credits) due to changes in the corporate tax code or due to changes in inflation which reduce the real value of tax shields ill increase the amount of debt that firms employ. In cross-sectional analysis, firms with lower investment related tax shields (holding before-tax earnings constant) will employ greater debt in their capital structures.

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H.4: Ceteris paribus, decreases in firms’ marginal bankruptcy costs will increase the use of debt financing. Cross-sectionally, firms subject to greater marginal bankruptcy costs will employ less debt. H.4: Ceteris paribus, decreases in firms’ marginal bankruptcy costs will increase the use of debt financing. Cross-sectionally, firms subject to greater marginal bankruptcy costs will employ less debt. H.5: Ceteris paribus, as the corporate tax rate is raised, firms will substitute debt for equity financing. Cross- sectionally, firms subject to lower corporate tax rates will employ less debt in their capital structures (holding earnings constant). H.5: Ceteris paribus, as the corporate tax rate is raised, firms will substitute debt for equity financing. Cross- sectionally, firms subject to lower corporate tax rates will employ less debt in their capital structures (holding earnings constant).

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Summary

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