This paper tests theoretical predictions of a relation between taxes and corporate debt maturity decisions using bond offerings (public and private) during 1988–1995. Consistent with predictions of a tax clientele effect, a positive relation between firms' marginal tax rates and the maturity term of their corporate bond offerings is found. Also consistent with tax predictions of a term structure effect, the results indicate that firms issue corporate bonds with longer maturities in periods characterized by large term premiums (for long‐ vs. short‐term interest rates). In periods with large term premiums, long‐term bonds accelerate interest deductions into the early years of the bond obligation (with the present value of pre‐tax interest payments being no more for the long‐term bond than for successive short‐term bond issues). These findings extend prior research on determinants of financing choices by providing some of the first empirical evidence that taxes are related to corporate debt maturity decisions.

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