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Wilson Receives Top Dissertation Award from Tax Accounting Group

The American Tax Association has named a doctoral dissertation written by Ryan Wilson, University of Iowa assistant professor of accounting, as the year's best. Wilson's dissertation, "An Examination of Corporate Tax Shelter Participants," suggests that well-governed firms can use tax shelters to create wealth.

Wilson wrote the dissertation while earning his Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Washington. He will receive the Outstanding Tax Dissertation award at the American Accounting Association's annual meeting in August.

Using data from companies known to use tax sheltering to reduce their tax burden, Wilson developed a profile of the type of firm likely to use a tax shelter. He found in his research that firms actively engaged in tax sheltering exhibit larger book-tax differences and more aggressive financial reporting practices.

Using those characteristics, he tries to predict which firms are likely to use tax shelters, then examines whether tax sheltering is associated with wealth creation for shareholders. His conclusion is that in well-governed companies, it does.

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