Under present accounting standards, deferred tax assets are to be given recognition only if realization is deemed to be probable. Since realization of a deferred tax asset from tax loss carryforwards is dependent on the future profitability of the reporting entity, the likelihood that the entity will be profitable within a foreseeable future must be ascertained. One of the criteria to be considered in the assessment is the entity's earnings history. Entities with a history of recent losses should recognize a deferred tax asset from carryforwards only if other strong evidence suggests that the entity will be profitable within 3-5 years. This is also the case if uncertainty exists regarding the entity's ability to continue as a going concern. It is thus interesting to study how the tax loss carryforwards are accounted for in companies that have been declared bankrupt, typically because of financial distress. The research in this thesis is conducted as a theoretically founded empirical study based on the latest financial statements from Danish companies declared bankrupt in 2008. The study investigates how and to what extent tax loss carryforwards have been recognized in the bankrupt companies. The results of the study show that more than one third of the investigated companies have recognized a deferred tax asset. It is concluded that a greater proportion of larger companies have accounted for a deferred tax asset, and that larger companies to a greater extent meet the disclosure requirements of IAS 12. It was also found that in general, companies audited by a state authorized accountant are more likely to have recognized a deferred tax asset than other companies. The results of the study indicate that the recognition of a deferred tax asset is not necessarily a result of an assessment of the probability of realization in accordance with IAS 12. On one hand, a lack of prudence will lead to deferred tax assets being recognized even though it is not likely that the entity will generate future taxable income. On the other hand, a lack of knowledge about the requirement to recognize deferred tax assets will lead to financial statements that do not meet standards. The study suggests that the recognition can have a material impact on the entity's result, equity, and solvency ratio. The way in which a deferred tax asset is accounted for may thus affect the true and fair view of the financial statement and the economic decisions of its users, in particular when the uncertainty related to the deferred tax asset is not disclosed in the management report, the audit opinion or the related notes. A more consistent and complete accounting for deferred tax asset would create a stronger basis for comparability from one entity to another and lead to greater transparency in financial reporting.
|Uddannelser||Cand.merc.aud Regnskab og Revision, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling|