Ken Klassen

KPMG Professor of Taxation; Director, Waterloo Centre for Taxation in a Global Economy

Headshot of Professor Klassen

Office: Hagey Hall 3103

Phone: 519-888-4567 x38550


Education and certifications

  • BA (University of Waterloo)
  • MAcc (University of Waterloo)
  • MS - Statistics (Stanford University)
  • PhD - Accounting (Stanford University)
  • Chartered Professional Accountant; Chartered Accountant (CPA; CA)

Brief biography

My research develops a fuller understanding of the extent to which taxes affect corporate decision making. Through analysis of corporate data, I examine settings in which behaviour may have been predictably altered in response to tax environments. My current area of particular interest is the role of taxes in international operations.

Selected publications

  • Baloria, Vishal, and Kenneth Klassen, 2017. "Supporting tax policy change through accounting discretion: Evidence from the 2012 elections," Management Science, forthcoming
  • De Simone, Lisa, Kenneth Klassen, and Jeri Seidman, 2017. "Unprofitable affiliates and income shifting behavior," The Accounting Review, 92(3): 113-136
  • Klassen, Kenneth, Petro Lisowsky, and Devan Mescall, 2017. “Transfer pricing: Strategies, practices and tax minimization,” Contemporary Accounting Research, 34(1): 455-493
  • Chow, Travis, Kenneth Klassen, and Yanju Liu, 2016. “Targets’ tax shelter participation and takeover premiums,” Contemporary Accounting Research, 33(4): 1440-1472
  • Klassen, Kenneth, Petro Lisowsky, and Devan Mescall, 2016. "The role of auditors, non-auditors, and internal tax departments in corporate tax aggressiveness." The Accounting Review, v91(1): 179-205.
  • Klassen, Kenneth, 2016. "Auditing the Auditors: Tax Auditors' Assessments and Incentives.C.D. Howe Institute E-Brief. April 5.
  • Klassen, Kenneth, Stacie Laplante, and Carla Carnaghan, 2014. "A model of multinational income shifting and an application to tax planning with e-commerce." Journal of the American Taxation Association, v 36(2): 27-53.
  • Berger, Leslie, Kenneth Klassen, Theresa Libby, and Alan Webb, 2013. "Complacency and giving up across repeated tournaments: Evidence from the field." Journal of Management Accounting Research, v 25: 143-168.
  • Klassen, Kenneth and Stacie Laplante, 2012. "Are U.S. multinational corporations becoming more aggressive income shifters?" Journal of Accounting Research, v 50(5): 1245-1285.
  • Klassen, Kenneth and Stacie Laplante, 2012. "The effect of foreign reinvestment and financial reporting incentives on cross-jurisdictional income shifting," Contemporary Accounting Research, v. 29(3): 928-955.
  • Klassen, Kenneth and Devan Mescall, 2012. “Investor taxes and equity pricing: Using income trusts in a cross-sectional analysis,” Canadian Tax Journal, v. 60(3): 1-34.

Working papers

Editor/Associate Editor etc.

  • Editor, Contemporary Accounting Research, 2017-2020
  • Editor, Journal of the American Taxation Association, 2014-2017 
  • Associate Editor, Contemporary Accounting Research, 2002 - 2010
  • Associate Editor, The Accounting Review 2001 -2002

Editorial boards

  • Contemporary Accounting Research, 2010 - 2017
  • The Accounting Review, 2011 - 2014, 1999 - 2001
  • Accounting Horizons, 2012-2015, 2003 - 2006
  • The International Journal of Accounting, 2011 - 2014
  • Journal of the American Taxation Association2008-2011, 1998 - 2003


  • L.S. Rosen Outstanding Educator Award, 2017

  • Best Manuscript Award, 2015. American Taxation Association, for "Are U.S. Multinational Corporations Becoming More Aggressive Income Shifters?"
  • Best Discussant Award, 2009 Journal of the American Taxation Association Conference


  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), "International tax planning and the link between Canadian corporate tax rates and business investment", with K. Markle, 2014 - 2018, $201,265
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), "Effect of E-Commerce on Canadian Tax Revenues", with C. Carnaghan, 2005 - 2008, $123,836
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), "E-Commerce and International Tax", with C. Carnaghan and J. Pittman, 2002 - 2005, $128,770
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), "Stock Market Implications of Exercise of Executive Stock Options", with R. Sivakumar, 1999 - 2002, $45,750

Professional service

  • American Taxation Association: various
  • Member, CPA Canada Tax Policy Committee (formerly the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants Tax Policy Committee), from 2011
  • Member, Governing Council, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, 2000-2002

Courses taught

  • Taxation (TAX) 614 - Accounting for Income Taxes
  • Accounting (ACC) 760 - Seminar in Tax Research
  • Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) 362 - Taxation 1

Contact information: Ken Klassen

University of Waterloo
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