Date of Award

Spring 1992

Document Type



Business, Accounting & Economics

First Advisor

David Gilbertson

Second Advisor

Ann Bertagnolli

Third Advisor

Michael Robinson


Deferred taxes began with the idea that each accounting period should be allocated an amount of income tax expense that relates to the income shown on the income statement (Rosenfield and Dent, 1983, p. 44). The difference between income taxes displayed on an enterprise’s books and taxes paid to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) due to timing differences is a basic explanation of deferred taxes. However, the simplified definition neither accurately describes deferred taxes nor explains how deferred taxes originate. The purpose of this thesis is to inform the reader about the controversy in accounting for deferred taxes from the inception of accounting for deferred taxes under the Accounting Principles Board (ABP) 1967 Opinion No. 11, Accounting for Income Taxes, to the adoption of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 96 by the same name. SFAS No. 96 was conceived due to the introduction of the conceptual framework. I will begin with a broad overview of financial accounting policies and practices and then, through the use of a particular example, explain the different methods of measuring deferred taxes and the methods of allocating deferred taxes to the balance sheet. I will show how the use of the liability method, required by SFAS No. 96, more accurately depicts the economic reality of deferred taxes, but due to the complexities behind accounting for deferred taxes and the controversy in applying SFAS No. 96. The statement has been delayed several times creating a period of non-comparability of financial statements for use to investors and creditors and a wide diversity in practice of accounting for deferred taxes.