IAS 12 “Income Taxes” is an International Accounting Standard that guides how companies should account for income taxes in their financial statements. This standard is crucial for accounting and finance professionals to understand, as it affects how current and deferred taxes are reported, directly impacting a company’s financial position and performance. Here’s an engaging explanation tailored for professionals in this field:

Key Concepts of IAS 12

  1. Temporary Differences: IAS 12 is built around the concept of temporary differences, which are the differences between the carrying amount of an asset or liability in the balance sheet and its tax base. These differences can be either taxable (resulting in taxable amounts in future periods when the carrying amount of the asset is recovered or the liability is settled) or deductible (resulting in deductible amounts in the future).


  1. Deferred Tax Liabilities and Assets: The standard requires the recognition of deferred tax liabilities and assets. A deferred tax liability is recognized for all taxable temporary differences, whereas a deferred tax asset is recognized for deductible temporary differences, but only to the extent that it’s probable that taxable profit will be available against which the deductible temporary difference can be utilized.


  1. Measurement: Deferred tax liabilities and assets are measured at the tax rates that are expected to apply in the period when the liability is settled or the asset is realized, based on tax rates (and tax laws) that have been enacted or substantively enacted by the end of the reporting period.


  1. Income Statement Impact: Current and deferred tax must be recognized as an expense or income in the income statement, except to the extent that the tax arises from a transaction or event which is recognized, in the same or a different period, outside of the income statement (either in other comprehensive income or directly in equity).


  1. Presentation in Financial Statements: Current tax liabilities (assets) and deferred tax liabilities (assets) are presented separately in the entity’s statement of financial position. The movements in the deferred tax account are usually disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.

Practical Application

For accounting and finance professionals, the application of IAS 12 requires:

  • A thorough understanding of the differences between accounting profits and taxable profits.
  • Keeping up-to-date with changes in tax laws and rates.
  • Judgement in assessing the probability of future taxable profits against which deferred tax assets can be utilized.
  • Detailed disclosures in the financial statements, providing insights into the company’s tax position.

Impact on Financial Analysis

Profitability: The recognition of deferred taxes affects the net profit or loss for the period, which in turn impacts key performance indicators like earnings per share.

Liquidity and Solvency: Current tax liabilities impact an entity’s liquidity position, while deferred tax liabilities and assets influence the solvency position.

Financial Ratios: Ratios like return on assets and equity are affected by the recognition and measurement of tax liabilities and assets.


Understanding IAS 12 is essential for accounting and finance professionals as it not only affects the way companies report their income taxes but also provides valuable insights into future tax implications of the current financial decisions. It’s a fundamental aspect of ensuring that financial statements provide a true and fair view of a company’s financial position.

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