Ownership Structure and Tax Avoidance in Asia: a Systematic Literature Review and a Research Agenda

Muhammad Syukur, Marziana Madah Marzuki, Maheran Zakaria


The paper aims to understand the impact of corporate ownership structure on tax avoidance in Asian contexts. The ownership structure in Asia is concentrated in one group of shareholders, which enables this shareholder to have a significant influence on tax avoidance. This research mainly reviews published research articles. Search terms, such as ownership, tax avoidance, and tax aggressiveness were used in the search function in all fields of the papers from Scopus and Web of Science databases. This study captured nine pieces of empirical research after applying several filtrations (inclusion and exclusion) in the article search. Most of selected researches were conducted in China, while some in Southeast Asia. There are four review questions in this research, namely: (1) How do shareholders influence tax avoidance levels in Asia; (2) What is the best way to measure the level of ownership and tax avoidance; (3) What type of corporate owners do scholars study the most and the least; (4) What are the methodological gaps in the research topic (corporate ownership and tax avoidance) that future scholars should be aware of. The paper finds that different shareholders behave differently towards tax, and the behaviour is according to the host country’s attributes, such as country settings, national tax policy, and investor protection levels. The study primarily helps governments and regulators understand the motives and techniques shareholders apply to avoid tax. Furthermore, it also provides repeatable methodological guidance in detail for future researchers to conduct a systematic literature review and for research students to formulate their hypothesis on the relationship between ownership structure and tax avoidance. 

For citation

Syukur M., Madah Marzuki M., Zakaria M. Ownership Structure and Tax Avoidance in Asia: a Systematic Literature Review and a Research Agenda. Journal of Tax Reform. 2022;8(2):170–185. https://doi.org/10.15826/jtr.2022.8.2.115

Article info

Received June 15, 2022; Revised July 18, 2022; Accepted August 4, 2022


systematic literature review; tax avoidance; ownership structure; Asia


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