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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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanlon, Michelle & Maydew, Edward L. & Shevlin, Terry, 2008. "An unintended consequence of book-tax conformity: A loss of earnings informativeness," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2-3), pages 294-311, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jaecon:v:46:y:2008:i:2-3:p:294-311
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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 1-5.
    2. Jana Roe, 2014. "Transition from US GAAP to IFRS: Analysis of Impact on Income Tax Administration in USA," European Financial and Accounting Journal, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2014(4).
    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. Macías, Marta & Muiño, Flora, 2011. "Examining dual accounting systems in Europe," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 51-78, March.
    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. repec:ers:ijebaa:v:iv:y:2016:i:2:p:80-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. 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.
    8. Nan-Ting Kuo & Cheng-Few Lee, 2016. "A potential benefit of increasing book–tax conformity: evidence from the reduction in audit fees," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 1287-1326, December.
    9. Libby, Robert & Rennekamp, Kristina M. & Seybert, Nicholas, 2015. "Regulation and the interdependent roles of managers, auditors, and directors in earnings management and accounting choice," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 25-42.
    10. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2296-:d:122487 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Bradley Blaylock & Fabio B. Gaertner & Terry Shevlin, 0. "Book-tax conformity and capital structure," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-30.
    12. 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.
    13. Jerry Sun & Steven F. Cahan & Jing Xu, 2016. "Individual Auditor Conservatism After CSRC Sanctions," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 133-146, June.
    14. 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.
    15. Evers, Maria Theresia & Meier, Ina & Nicolay, Katharina, 2017. "The implications of book-tax differences: A meta-analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-003, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    16. 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.
    17. Joseph P.H. Fan & Feng Guan & Zengquan Li & Yong George Yang, 2014. "Relationship Networks and Earnings Informativeness: Evidence from Corruption Cases," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(7-8), pages 831-866, September.
    18. Evers, Maria Theresia & Meier, Ina & Nicolay, Katharina, 2016. "Book-tax conformity and reporting behavior: A quasi-experiment," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-008, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    19. repec:spr:reaccs:v:22:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11142-017-9386-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. 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.
    21. 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.

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