One of the issues arising out of the introduction of an imputation tax for companies in Australia is the effect it is likely to have on the definition and measurement of a company's cost of capital. Insofar as there is a difference between the value of a dollar of franked relative to unfranked dividends, conventional definitions for the cost of capital are inappropriate and new definitions are required. This has implications for the measurement of a company's cost of capital and for the definition of net cash flows that are used in conjunction with the cost of capital. This paper sets out these definitions and an approach for measuring the cost of capital.
The new definition of the cost of capital replaces the effective company tax rate T with T(l - γ) where γ is the value of personal tax credits. Further, the definition of the risk premium in the capital asset pricing model requires an adjustment for the capitalized value of personal tax credits to maintain consistency between the cost of capital and cash flows which are defined on an after-company tax but before-personal tax basis.