Keeping track of tax law changes around the world has increasingly become a challenge for businesses. Companies are rapidly expanding their geographic footprint at a time when the evolution and developments in jurisdictional tax laws are undergoing nearly constant change. Naturally, changes in tax law have an impact on tax planning, tax return preparation and, ultimately, tax cash flows. Those consequences, however, are often preceded by the impact of such changes on company financial reporting.
Companies reporting under US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) need to understand when a change in tax law impacts the measurement of current and deferred income taxes — that is, they must understand in which reporting period the effects of a change in the law are to be recorded. Reporting groups should have procedures in place to ensure that the relevant financial accounting standard is properly applied. Failure to properly apply the relevant standard may result in current and deferred income taxes being misstated and reveal a weakness in controls.