Tax benefits of debt

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In the context of corporate finance, the tax benefits of debt or tax advantage of debt refers to the fact that from a tax perspective it is cheaper for firms and investors to finance with debt than with equity. Under a majority of taxation systems around the world, and until recently under the United States tax system [ citation needed ], firms are taxed on their profits and individuals are taxed on their personal income.

Corporate finance area of finance dealing with the sources of funding and the capital structure of corporations

Corporate finance is an area of finance that deals with sources of funding, the capital structure of corporations, the actions that managers take to increase the value of the firm to the shareholders, and the tools and analysis used to allocate financial resources. The primary goal of corporate finance is to maximize or increase shareholder value. Although it is in principle different from managerial finance which studies the financial management of all firms, rather than corporations alone, the main concepts in the study of corporate finance are applicable to the financial problems of all kinds of firms.

Debt deferred payment, or series of payments, that is owed in the future

Debt is when something, usually money, is owed by one party, the borrower or debtor, to a second party, the lender or creditor. Debt is a deferred payment, or series of payments, that is owed in the future, which is what differentiates it from an immediate purchase. The debt may be owed by sovereign state or country, local government, company, or an individual. Commercial debt is generally subject to contractual terms regarding the amount and timing of repayments of principal and interest. Loans, bonds, notes, and mortgages are all types of debt. The term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value. For example, in Western cultures, a person who has been helped by a second person is sometimes said to owe a "debt of gratitude" to the second person.

A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed upon a taxpayer by a governmental organization in order to fund various public expenditures. A failure to pay, along with evasion of or resistance to taxation, is punishable by law. Taxes consist of direct or indirect taxes and may be paid in money or as its labour equivalent. The first known taxation took place in Ancient Egypt around 3000–2800 BC.

For example, a firm that earns $100 in profits in the United States would have to pay around $30 in taxes. If it then distributes these profits to its owners as dividends, then the owners in turn pay taxes on this income, say $20 on the $70 of dividends. The $100 of profits turned into $50 of investor income.

If, instead the firm finances with debt, then, assuming the firm owes $100 of interest to investors, its profits are now 0. Investors now pay taxes on their interest income, say $30. This implies for $100 of profits before taxes, investors got $70. [1]

This tax-related encouragement of debt financing has not gone uncriticized. [2] For example, some critics have argued that the cost of equity should also be deductible; which could reduce the Internal Revenue Code's influence on capital-structure decisions, potentially reducing the economic instability attributable to excessive debt financing. [2]

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC), formally the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, is the domestic portion of federal statutory tax law in the United States, published in various volumes of the United States Statutes at Large, and separately as Title 26 of the United States Code (USC). It is organized topically, into subtitles and sections, covering income tax, payroll taxes, estate taxes, gift taxes, and excise taxes; as well as procedure and administration. Its implementing agency is the Internal Revenue Service.

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