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Financial reporting and book-tax conformity: A review of the issues

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  • Luca Menicacci

Abstract

This work reviews accounting research on book-tax conformity (BTC) with specific reference to financial reporting issues. There is an ongoing debate in the accounting literature about the impact of BTC levels (weak/strong) on accounting quality and on tax avoidance. Policymakers have discussed at length the opportunity to reform BTC as well. Proponents of a strong BTC argue that it can deter both financial reporting ma-nipulation and aggressive tax planning by creating contrasting incentives between book earnings maximisation and taxable income minimisation. Further controls on book earnings assured by taxing authorities will reinforce such beneficial ef-fects. Opponents of a strong BTC suggest that financial accounting decisions should not interfere with tax accounting and vice versa, as financial reporting and tax reporting have different purposes. Furthermore, under a strong BTC, managers will tend to smooth earnings to minimise income taxes, thus reducing earnings in-formativeness. Even if a strand of research based on the Tax Reform Act (TRA 86) in the US corroborates the position of opponents, a large body of literature formed in international settings has not yet reached a consensus over the conse-quences of BTC. This circumstance makes BTC a relevant topic to the current de-bate on financial reporting quality.

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  • Luca Menicacci, 2022. "Financial reporting and book-tax conformity: A review of the issues," FINANCIAL REPORTING, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2022(1), pages 41-77.
  • Handle: RePEc:fan:frfrfr:v:html10.3280/fr2022-001002
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    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • M40 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - General
    • M48 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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