Accounting and finance sample questions.

Tasks

Question 1. The overarching objective of GPFR is decision usefulness, supported by relevance, reliability and comparability. The desire to achieve comparability and (by implication) consistency over time is the reason to have reporting standards (Schipper 2003). There has however, been widespread and longstanding criticism that accounting rules fail to disclose information, or present it in ways that users are unable to incorporate in their decision-making processes (Mackintosh, 2006; Pozen, 2007). The IASB met in May 2016 to discuss a number of issues, including IAS 12 Income Taxes. In an Education session to discuss the analysis of IAS12 prepared by IAS Staff https://www.iasplus.com/en/meeting-notes/iasb/2016/may/income-taxes it was noted that:
“income taxes were very complex and existing disclosure might be insufficient to explain what drives the amount of income taxes reported. The staff identified the following specific issues: tax disclosures; discounting current tax and deferred tax; and other issues including intra-period tax allocation and interim financial statements.” (Deloitte IASPlus, May 2016, p1)
Some IASB Board members noted that investors usually “do not analyse income tax information” and that users would “have to have a deep knowledge of tax laws to understand the information.” IASB Staff also noted that:
“investors in general ignored tax disclosures because: (i) disclosures are perceived as being too aggregated; (ii) tax reconciliations do not provide sufficient information about tax incentives and/or arrangement/negotiations with governments; (iii) they do not provide information about the key drivers that affect the effective tax rate; and (iv) do not provide information about the sustainability of current tax law situation and about the total picture of tax loss carry-forwards.” (Deloitte IASPlus, May 2016, p1)

Focusing on decision usefulness, critically evaluate AASB 112 (the Australian equivalent of IAS 12). You need to determine whether the recording of DTAs and DTLs misleads users and whether the disclosures relating to income taxes mitigates or adds to the confusion. Your response should include a review of the current literature relating to accounting for income taxes. You should also refer to Statements of Accounting Concepts, the Framework, other relevant accounting standard(s) and IFRIC.

Question 2. In addition to your literature review, you are required to evaluate whether the current accounting treatment and disclosures relating to income taxes assists or hinders users. You need to analyse the financial statements of two companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange for the financial years ended 2015 and 2016 (i.e. 2 years). You need to:

  • Consider the impact DTA and DTLs may have on users’ ability to gain an understanding of the companies’ performances and financial position; and
  • Provide relevant ratio analyses that compares the financial statements with and without deferred taxes.