Over the last five years Australia has adopted numerous measures to address aggressive corporate tax practices. A recent addition to these measures (on the 1st of January 2019) is AASB Interpretation 23 - Uncertainty over Income Tax Treatments, which was developed to clarify the treatment of uncertain tax positions. This interpretation requires entities who produce general purpose financial reports (GPFRs) to disclose uncertain tax benefits (UTB) in the notes to their financial statements. Extant literature suggests that UTB disclosures are a means of curtailing tax aggressive behaviour (Lisowsky, 2010) by providing stakeholders with a “roadmap” to identify potentially aggressive tax positions (Mills et al, 2010), and to analyse and disclose income tax risks. It is therefore expected that this new interpretation will cause corporates to rethink their approach on uncertain tax positions, particularly those with more aggressive tax treatments and those operating in more complex and multinational tax jurisdictions (CPA, 2018). This project will explore these possibilities by allowing the successful applicant to investigate corporate tax practices and their disclosures around tax uncertainty. It will be done in the context of the requirements of Australia’s accounting standards, corporate responses in the annual reports and subsequent reports in the media.
CPA Australia podcast, Uncertainty over income tax treatments
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