Advances in Taxation: Volume 22

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Table of contents

(13 chapters)

List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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We conduct an experiment asking participants to choose to purchase either a traditional or hybrid car to examine how federal-state conformity of tax incentives impacts the decisions of taxpayers. We also examine perceptions of taxpayers surrounding federal-state conformity. Consistent with theory related to the effects of information environment and using an experiment in which taxpayers are asked to evaluate tax incentives related to a purchase decision between a traditional and hybrid car, we find that conformity is a significant factor in increasing the propensity to take advantage of the tax incentive. Specifically, we find that participants with simple and conforming federal-state incentives are more likely to take advantage of the tax incentive than with complex and conforming federal-state incentives. In addition, the effects of conformity between federal and state incentives suggest that participant perceptions of the federal system were heavily influenced by the actions of the state.


Section 529 college savings plans are tax-favored investment vehicles, which saw tremendous growth after the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 expanded 529 plan benefits to include tax-free distributions for qualified higher education expenses. However, regulators, the press, and fund advisors criticized the Section 529 college savings plan industry for inadequate and nonuniform disclosures of investor information, such as historical returns, fees, taxes, and underlying investments. We investigate consumers’ investment choices after a disclosure regime change in 2003 and find that after enhanced disclosures became widely available, investors selected fewer plans offered exclusively through brokers, increasingly chose portfolios based on past investment performance, but remained unresponsive to state tax benefit disclosures. We also analyze the plans’ performance and find evidence that 529 investors are constrained to invest in portfolios with high, return-eroding fees. Nearly 20 percent of the portfolios have a statistically significant negative alpha, the measure of risk-adjusted excess return, while less than 1 percent have a statistically significant positive alpha.


Prior research finds evidence that audit quality is positively associated with the joint purchase of tax nonaudit services (NAS) and concludes that jointly provided tax services result in audit-related knowledge spillovers that lead to improved audit quality. We extend this line of research. We examine the relation between auditor-provided tax services and restatements and determine whether this relation differs when the auditor is a small or large accounting firm. We also examine whether the Securities Exchange Commission’s restrictions on certain tax consulting practices (SEC, 2006) altered this relation. Specifically, we measure whether the probability of financial statement restatements varies with (1) variation in accounting firm size (measured as PCAOB annually inspected firms versus PCAOB triennially inspected firms), and (2) the joint provision of audit and tax services. We find a negative relation between auditor-provided tax services and restatements which is consistent with prior research. We also find that this relation is significantly more negative when the auditor is a small accounting firm. Finally, we find that the lower probability of a restatement associated with the joint provision of audit and tax services persists regardless of auditor size after the SEC-imposed restrictions on certain tax consulting services in 2006. Our study provides evidence that accounting firms, and particularly small accounting firms, benefit from knowledge spillovers when jointly providing audit and tax services and these benefits lead to improved audit quality. Prior research concludes that large auditors provide higher audit quality and that the provision of tax services improves audit quality. Our results provide evidence that audit quality improvements are greater for small auditors and their clients. This improvement narrows that audit quality gap between large and small auditors. We do not find evidence that the SEC’s restrictions on certain tax consulting services altered the relation between audit quality and tax services.


This study documents that an outcome-favorable bias is greater when the quantity of information describing a balanced tax-decision context is substantially increased. Second, the study demonstrates that an outcome-favorable bias can be offset by the use of principles-based ethical standards. Specifically, we examine the effect of AICPA Code of Conduct Section 54 for integrity and Rule 102-6 for advocacy. Students volunteered to participate in this study examining the manner in which accounting novices initially process principles-based standards. Prior studies using student subjects in an audit setting have found that principles-based standards were effective only when students had high levels of moral reasoning (Herron & Gilbertson, 2004), and rules-based technical standards had no impact on student subjects when making financial adjustments (Pflugrath, Martinov-Bennie, & Chen, 2007). If professional standards increasingly rely on principles-based standards, then understanding the impact of such standards on future entrants into the profession would provide guidance in the creation and implementation of future standards, as well as assist educators in the development of accounting curricula. We extend the pattern of past research to a tax setting and show that tax-saving recommendations are a function of the presence of a professional standard and the level of contextual detail.


To better detect potential audit issues, since 2010, the Internal Revenue Service has required firms to file a separate schedule individually disclosing each of their uncertain tax positions (UTPs). This study uses an experiment to examine how this increase in detection risk from the newly created IRS schedule influences both a firm’s tax reporting and financial reporting concurrently. We find that corporate tax professionals were more likely to recommend an UTP when their firm had a strong UTP reporting quality, regardless of the detection risk level of the reporting environment. However, we find an interaction effect for the recording of the tax reserve. In a low detection risk environment, corporate tax professionals recorded a higher (lower) tax reserve when their firm had a weak (strong) UTP reporting quality. However, in a high detection risk environment, corporate tax professionals recorded a lower (higher) tax reserve when their firm had a weak (strong) UTP reporting quality. Overall, the results provide insight into the dual nature of UTP reporting and the determinants that influence each reporting behavior.

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Advances in Taxation
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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