Simplification of Accounting for Income Taxes – ASU 2019-12

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued ASU 2019-12 on December 18, 2019 based on recommended changes by stakeholders as part of the FASB’s initiative to reduce complexity in accounting standards (the Simplification initiative). The objective behind the initiative is to enhance the usefulness of information provided to the end user of financial statements while also reducing costs and complexity to prepare.   

This element of the Simplification initiative is focused on reducing complexity and enhancing clarity within ASU 740, accounting for income tax, by identifying the proper recording under U.S. GAAP and subsequent treatment for selected tax-related matters. The new guidance issued addresses several areas including the following:

  • Step-up in tax basis of goodwill when there is not a business combination
  • Policy election to not allocate consolidated taxes on a separate entity basis to entities not subject to tax
  • Requires during interim reporting that an entity reflect enacted tax law changes or rates in the annual effective rate in the interim period when enacted
  • Treatment of hybrid tax calculations that include both franchise taxes (or similar based taxes) as well as income-based taxes
  • Ownership changes from equity method investment to subsidiary or vice versa
  • Removes exception to intraperiod allocation when there is income in discontinued operations and a loss from continued operations

These new standards are effective for public entities for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020 and for non-public entities for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2021. Early adoption is permitted for years in which financial statements have not yet been issued or made available.

Accounting for income tax has continued to be a leading cause for financial restatement. While the FASB has continued to work to simplify the requirements and guidance that govern accounting for income tax under ASU 740, the fact of the matter is that it continues to be a complex area of accounting. To inquire further and to receive Our Thoughts On accounting for income taxes, please contact Jim Sayre at or by calling 412-697-5356.

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Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

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