Disclosure of Tax-Related Critical Audit Matters and Tax-Related Outcomes
52 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2020 Last revised: 26 Oct 2023
Date Written: October 24, 2023
Given that tax-related critical audit matters (tax CAMs) were prevalent among accelerated filers (18.5 percent of observations) during the initial year of CAM disclosures, we examine whether an auditor’s disclosure of tax CAMs is associated with variation in tax-related financial reporting quality, tax avoidance, and tax-related earnings management. Finding an association between tax CAMs and one of these tax outcomes would indicate that the new auditor reporting standard has indirectly affected investors. Examining the first year of CAM disclosures, we do not find that tax CAMs are associated with broad proxies of tax-related audit or financial reporting quality (e.g., restatements, internal control weaknesses, comment letters) or tax avoidance (e.g., effective tax rates or book-to-tax differences). We do find that tax CAMs are associated with a modest increase in tax accrual quality, an increase in the reserve for uncertain tax benefits, and a reduction in the likelihood of tax-related earnings management. However, we do not find these tax CAM effects persist into the second year of CAM reporting. Our evidence is consistent with tax CAM disclosures having a modest but short-lived effect on companies’ reporting of tax accounts. Our findings should inform the PCAOB as they conduct their post-implementation review of the new audit reporting standard.w audit reporting standard.
Keywords: critical audit matters, tax reporting, tax avoidance, tax-related earnings management, expanded audit reports, financial reporting quality
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation