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What if IAS/IFRS were a Tax Base? New Empirical Evidence from an Austrian Perspective.

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In particular in Germany and Austria, but also in other countries, extensive theoretical and analytical research has been published on the potential tax effects in case IAS/IFRS were used as the basis for corporate taxation. Very few quantitative papers exist. This motivated us to conduct a study that quantifies the actual effects of a potential decisiveness of IAS/IFRS for the national tax base - without further questioning the usefulness of an IAS/IFRS relevance. Our paper extends existing research substantially. The research question of our paper deals with the measurement of differences in discounted tax burden in different scenarios, by simulation. Our sample comprises original data of 61 Austrian companies. The median of the difference between book values of IAS/IFRS single accounts and tax accounts for specific balance sheet items is determined. We then apply the result on the items of a typical corporate account derived from an Austrian database. As a result, depending on the term of items, we can calculate the discounted tax effects for different scenarios. It must be underlined that such highly confidential and detailed tax data is usually not available to researchers. The main preliminary finding of our empirical survey is that only in few cases we find essential differences between IAS/IFRS and tax accounts. Our evidence suggests that no dramatic change in the tax base has to be expected. Our study provides not only new empirical evidence but also a basis for further research on a possible common consolidated corporate tax base from an academic perspective. (author's abstract) ; Series: Working Papers / Institut für Revisions-, Treuhand- und Rechnungswesen

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Eva Eberhartinger, Margret Klostermann

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