Tax Loss Carryforward Disclosure and Uncertainty

arqus Discussion Paper No. 208

48 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2017 Last revised: 13 Sep 2022

Date Written: 2022


This study examines firms’ voluntary disclosure of tax loss carryforward (TLCF) information. We identify a setting (conservative German accounting environment) under which the demand for TLCF disclosure is particularly pronounced and analyze firms’ TLCF disclosure behavior while controlling for overall reporting quality. We argue and find that uncertainty about the usability of TLCF is the main driver of voluntary TLCF disclosure. Value relevance tests suggest that the incremental effect of disclosure under uncertainty is positive, indicating the usefulness of firms’ voluntary disclosure. We also find that the content and type of disclosure vary systematically with the signal of uncertainty. While firms provide different kinds of complex TLCF information, investors only value very basic and less complex information. Our study provides detailed and unique insights into TLCF disclosure, documenting that managers enrich the information environment with voluntary disclosure that caters to expected investors’ needs, but the perception of the content’s usefulness is limited to simple information.

Keywords: tax loss carryforwards, disclosure, uncertainty, tax footnote, deferred taxes

JEL Classification: M40, M41, M49

Suggested Citation

Flagmeier, Vanessa and Mueller, Jens, Tax Loss Carryforward Disclosure and Uncertainty (2022). arqus Discussion Paper No. 208 , Available at SSRN: or

Vanessa Flagmeier (Contact Author)

University of Passau ( email )

Innstrasse 27
Passau, 94032

Jens Mueller

Paderborn University ( email )

Warburger Str. 100
Paderborn, 33098

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