Insiders' Perspectives of the Effects of Recent Regulation on Corporate Taxation



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Recent legislation and standard interpretations promulgated by governmental bodies and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) have attempted to address several issues related to corporate taxation. These issues include the lack of transparency regarding specific tax transactions, the difficulty in reconciling the corporate tax return with the corporate income statement, the relative lack of disclosure of tax contingencies in the financial statements, and the impact of internal control on the reliability of the corporate tax return. While the stated objectives of several recent regulations have included improvements in the areas of corporate tax compliance and transparency of financial statements, it is unclear whether these regulations have resulted in the desired effects. This study analyzes the perceptions of 223 corporate tax executives regarding the effects of Internal Revenue Announcement 2002-63, Schedule M-3 of IRS Form 1120, FASB Interpretation Number 48 (FIN 48), and Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The findings indicate that the respondents perceive an overall increase in tax return transparency and corporate tax compliance as a result of Schedule M-3 and FIN 48; yet the ability of corporations to engage in tax planning has decreased as a result of FIN 48. The respondents also perceive that both FIN 48 and Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have increased their reliance on outside sources for tax compliance work.