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IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements—Presentation of liabilities or assets related to uncertain tax treatments (Agenda Paper 10)

Date recorded:

Background

In its June 2019 meeting, the Committee discussed a submission on whether an entity, in its statement of financial position, presents a liability related to uncertain tax treatments as a current (or deferred) tax liability or as a provision.  The Committee published a tentative agenda decision.

Some respondents disagreed with the technical analysis of the Committee and expressed their concerns over the relevance of the financial information presented.

Staff analysis

In response to the concerns from respondents, the staff reiterate that uncertain tax liabilities/assets are liabilities/assets for income tax as defined in IAS 12 and so an entity should adhere to the presentation requirements in IAS 1 in respect of income tax-related items and disaggregation criteria. The entity could disclose uncertain tax liabilities or assets separately if it provided relevant financial information.

Staff recommendation

The staff recommend finalising the agenda decision with no changes.

Discussion

While some Committee members were supportive of the agenda decision, there were some (mainly representatives from preparers) who did not agree with the technical analysis and the agenda decision because they did not believe that the Standard is clear and explicit enough to derive this conclusion. This would result in diversity in practice. They did not disagree that the recognition and measurement of uncertain tax positions should follow IAS 12 but they struggled with the presentation. Those Committee members who were supportive of the agenda decision reminded the Committee of the core principle of IFRIC 23—it puts uncertain tax positions within the scope of IAS 12 rather than IAS 37 and consequently, the presentation should follow the requirements of IAS 12 and IAS 1. They further considered that aggregating the uncertain income tax and other tax together in the line 'provisions' may reduce transparency of financial information presented because they are measured using different accounting methods. The Chair acknowledged that a possibility of standard-setting would be explored.

The Committee decided, by a majority of votes, to finalise the agenda decision.

 

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