Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

The Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance was founded as of 1st January 2011. It carries on legal and economic research in the area of taxation and adjacent fields in public economics and business law. Exemplary is the work on international tax competition, fiscal crises or taxation of multinational enterprises. It consists of the department for business and tax law and the department of public economics which have originally been part of the former Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law.


Marstallplatz 1
80539 München
Phone: +49 89 24246-0
Fax: +49 89 24246-501

PhD opportunities

This institute has no International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS).

There is always the possibility to do a PhD. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

Me first or us first?

A study examines how individuals decide in the conflict between self-interest and commitment to a group

The Rich, the Poor and Social Cooperation

Rich people are believed to be more cooperative than poor people, an economist from the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance found.

Eve's Achilles Heel

For women, stress and competition is a bad combination

Hostility towards minorities can be contagious

If people act hostile towards other ethnic groups, they easily find imitators


International corporations such as Apple, Starbucks and Amazon have for years successfully avoided paying tax on their corporate profits. Aided by tax competition between nations, they shift their money to countries that have low tax rates and that guarantee that only domestic profits will be taxed. Our author explains why it is far from easy for the international community to counter these tricks.

Greece, Ireland and Portugal avoided bankruptcy only due to a bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The stability of the European Monetary Union hangs in the balance.

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Enhanced cooperation in tax law

2018 Heber, Caroline


At the level of European tax law, there is a genuine deadlock in the decision-making process because of the unanimity requirement. In areas where the success of the legislative project does not depend on the participation of all member states, such an enhanced cooperation mechanism can help to prevent failure. This mechanism allows a group of at least nine member states to adopt common legislation. However, any enhanced cooperation must not harm the internal market and must therefore be subject to strict scrutiny.


Quantitative Legal Studies

2017 Coupette, Corinna; Fleckner, Andreas M.


Quantitative methods rank among the standard techniques of many researchers – not only in the natural sciences but also in the social sciences and the humanities. Little is known, however, about the value of quantitative methods for legal scholarship. Therefore, one of the research projects of the Otto Hahn Group on Financial Regulation at the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance is devoted to quantitative legal studies: the statistical analysis of discrete data to answer legal questions.


Tax havens attract investors by promising to not reveal information about accrued capital income, and thereby facilitating tax evasion. Convincing tax havens to participate in an exchange of information by exerting political pressure is difficult as they derive substantial benefits from the wealth management business. A study at the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance shows how the tax havens’ business model relies on trust between a tax haven and its investors as well as among the many individual investors, and how a disruption of trust can create additional transparency.


When failure motivates

2015 Tan, Fangfang

Social and Behavioural Sciences

A recently published paper by Qiang Fu, Changxia Ke and Fangfang Tan offers a first empirical evidence of the impact of progress feedback between team and individual tournaments, and provides new insights on team incentives. The economists show: The leader in a competition performs worse when he realizes his advantageous position, whereas the laggard will benefit from knowing that he lies behind. This applies to individual contestants, but not to contestants competing in a team.


A project at the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance intends to clarify the phenomenon of double non-taxation and to advocate for its neutrality as an objective outcome. Using hybrid entities as an example of analysis, this work aims to demonstrate that the sole result of non-taxation should not be a matter of concern in any cross-border transaction. Instead, the real target should be in determining whether the natural disparities between tax legislations can be subject to abuse, and if so, how to counteract it.

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