Undistributed foreign earnings that are indefinitely reinvested outside the United States result in a significant unrecorded tax liability for many U.S.-based multinationals. The amount of undistributed foreign earnings has grown substantially in recent years. As a result, expectations for transparency have increased along with concerns about a lack of comparability or consistency in disclosures. This Practical tip focuses on the U.S. GAAP disclosure requirements and considerations relating to undistributed foreign earnings.
Ordinarily, a company preparing an SEC filing must apply all accounting standards (including transition provisions) as if it had always been a public company. The JOBS Act of 2012, however, provides an exception to this general rule. Under Section 102(b) of the JOBS Act, an emerging growth company (EGC) may apply any new or revised financial accounting standard on the same date a company that is not an issuer (as defined in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act) is required to apply the new or revised accounting standard, if the standard applies to a non-issuer. This Practical tip highlights that an EGC should evaluate whether it needs to make disclosures relating to transition to new or revised accounting standards in its next SEC filing.