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An unintended consequence of book-tax conformity: A loss of earnings informativeness

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  • Hanlon, Michelle
  • Maydew, Edward L.
  • Shevlin, Terry
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    Abstract

    Increasing the conformity between accounting earnings and taxable income has been proposed to improve financial reporting and curtail aggressive tax planning. We find, however, that increasing conformity results in earnings that are less informative. Our inquiry exploits a unique sample of firms forced to change from the cash method to the accrual method for tax purposes, thereby increasing their book-tax conformity. We find that these firms experienced a decrease in earnings informativeness compared to control firms unaffected by the change. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of tax law changes affecting the informativeness of accounting earnings.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V87-4TK476R-1/2/78fd7c123c4e6988de43cd0f95eebb25
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Accounting and Economics.

    Volume (Year): 46 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2-3 (December)
    Pages: 294-311

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jaecon:v:46:y:2008:i:2-3:p:294-311

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jae

    Related research

    Keywords: Book-tax conformity Earnings informativeness Earnings management Tax aggressiveness;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Warfield, Terry D. & Wild, John J. & Wild, Kenneth L., 1995. "Managerial ownership, accounting choices, and informativeness of earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 61-91, July.
    2. Dechow, Patricia M., 1994. "Accounting earnings and cash flows as measures of firm performance : The role of accounting accruals," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 3-42, July.
    3. Hanlon, Michelle & Laplante, Stacie Kelley & Shevlin, Terry, 2005. "Evidence for the Possible Information Loss of Conforming Book Income and Taxable Income," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 407-42, October.
    4. Ball, Ray & Robin, Ashok & Wu, Joanna Shuang, 2003. "Incentives versus standards: properties of accounting income in four East Asian countries," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 235-270, December.
    5. Guenther, David A. & Maydew, Edward L. & Nutter, Sarah E., 1997. "Financial reporting, tax costs, and book-tax conformity," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 225-248, November.
    6. Kothari, S. P., 2001. "Capital markets research in accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 105-231, September.
    7. Collins, Daniel W. & Kothari, S. P., 1989. "An analysis of intertemporal and cross-sectional determinants of earnings response coefficients," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2-3), pages 143-181, July.
    8. Fan, Joseph P. H. & Wong, T. J., 2002. "Corporate ownership structure and the informativeness of accounting earnings in East Asia," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 401-425, August.
    9. Ball, Ray & Kothari, S. P. & Robin, Ashok, 2000. "The effect of international institutional factors on properties of accounting earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-51, February.
    10. Guenther, David A. & Young, Danqing, 2000. "The association between financial accounting measures and real economic activity: a multinational study," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 53-72, February.
    11. Francis, Jennifer & Schipper, Katherine & Vincent, Linda, 2005. "Earnings and dividend informativeness when cash flow rights are separated from voting rights," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 329-360, June.
    12. Basu, Sudipta, 1997. "The conservatism principle and the asymmetric timeliness of earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 3-37, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Atwood, T.J. & Drake, Michael S. & Myers, Linda A., 2010. "Book-tax conformity, earnings persistence and the association between earnings and future cash flows," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 111-125, May.
    2. Chan, K. Hung & Lin, Kenny Z. & Mo, Phyllis L.L., 2010. "Will a departure from tax-based accounting encourage tax noncompliance? Archival evidence from a transition economy," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 58-73, May.
    3. Graham, John R. & Raedy, Jana S. & Shackelford, Douglas A., 2012. "Research in accounting for income taxes," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 412-434.
    4. Badertscher, Brad & Shroff, Nemit & White, Hal D., 2013. "Externalities of public firm presence: Evidence from private firms' investment decisions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(3), pages 682-706.
    5. Tang, Tanya Y.H. & Firth, Michael, 2012. "Earnings Persistence and Stock Market Reactions to the Different Information in Book-Tax Differences: Evidence from China," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 369-397.
    6. Dan Dacian Cuzdriorean, 2013. "Most Recent Findings In Earnings Management Area: Interesting Insights From Traditionally Top 5 Leading Accounting Journals," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 2(15), pages 5.
    7. Macías, Marta & Muiño, Flora, 2011. "Examining dual accounting systems in Europe," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 51-78, March.
    8. DeFond, Mark L., 2010. "Earnings quality research: Advances, challenges and future research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 402-409, December.
    9. Dechow, Patricia & Ge, Weili & Schrand, Catherine, 2010. "Understanding earnings quality: A review of the proxies, their determinants and their consequences," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 344-401, December.
    10. Karampinis, Nikolaos I. & Hevas, Dimosthenis L., 2013. "Effects of IFRS Adoption on Tax-induced Incentives for Financial Earnings Management: Evidence from Greece," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 218-247.

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