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Provisions for Future Liabilities and Effective Corporate Income Tax Rate


  • Anna Leszczyłowska


The paper quantifies the impact of timing differences that emerge in the case of discrepancies between accounting and tax rules on the corporate tax burden. The objective of the paper is to investigate the effect of the accelerated deductibility of company expenses via provisions for future liabilities on the multi-period effective average corporate tax rate (EATR). In the investigation, pension provisions and so-called “other provisions” are taken into account and a multi-period backward-looking measure of the tax burden based on corporate cash flows is developed. The investigated companies are divided into several subgroups according to their size and multi-period cash flow. Under the current tax law, the highest tax burden among companies with positive cash flows is observed for medium-sized firms, at 33%. For small and large enterprises, the burden takes values of 24% and 25% respectively. A different situation is observed among firms with negative cash flows- in general, the EATRs are noticeably higher in this case. Under the current tax law, the average effective tax rates are 60% for all firms and 38%, 45% and 51% for medium-sized, small and large corporations respectively.If changes are made to the ways provisions for future payments are treated under tax regulations, a slight reduction may be observed in the multi-period average effective tax burden. In general, the timing effects of the deductibility of provisions lead to an average change in the effective tax rate from –1 percentage point (in the case of small companies with positive cash flows) to –4 percentage points (in the case of small entities with negative cash flows and medium-sized entities with positive cash flows). Although the differences in the median tax burden may seem to be slight, they are statistically significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Leszczyłowska, 2016. "Provisions for Future Liabilities and Effective Corporate Income Tax Rate," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 3, pages 57-72.
  • Handle: RePEc:sgh:gosnar:y:2016:i:3:p:57-72

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Katharina Finke & Jost H. Heckemeyer & Timo Reister & Christoph Spengel, 2010. "Impact of Tax Rate Cut Cum Base Broadening Reforms on Heterogeneous Firms – Learning from the German Tax Reform 2008," Working Papers 1005, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    2. Andreas Oestreicher & Reinald Koch, 2011. "The Revenue Consequences of Using a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base to Determine Taxable Income in the EU Member States," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 67(1), pages 64-102, March.
    3. Spengel, Christoph & Ortmann-Babel, Martina & Zinn, Benedikt & Matenaer, Sebastian, 2012. "A common corporate tax base for Europe: An impact assessment of the draft council directive on a CC(C)TB," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-039, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Fuest, Clemens & Hemmelgarn, Thomas & Ramb, Fred, 2006. "How would formula apportionment in the EU affect the distribution and the size of the corporate tax base? An analysis based on German multinationals," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2006,20, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    5. Oestreicher, Andreas & Reister, Timo & Spengel, Christoph, 2009. "Common corporate tax base (CCTB) and effective tax burdens in the EU member states," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-026, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Hans-Georg Petersen & Antje Fischer & Juliane Flach, 2005. "Wirkungen der Einfachsteuer auf die Steuerbelastung von Haushalten und Unternehmen," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(1), pages 71-94, February.
    7. Katharina Finke & Jost H. Heckemeyer & Timo Reister & Christoph Spengel, 2013. "Impact of Tax-Rate Cut cum Base-Broadening Reforms on Heterogeneous Firms: Learning from the German Tax Reform of 2008," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 69(1), pages 72-114, March.
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    More about this item


    corporate income tax; EATR; provisions; tax accounting;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting


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