South African companies have, in the past, not recognised an asset for unused Secondary Tax on Companies ("STC") credits. AC 501, Accounting for "Secondary Tax on Companies (STC)", which is effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2004, now requires South African companies to recognise a deferred tax asset for unused STC credits, to the extent that it is probable that an entity will declare dividends of its own, against which the unused STC credits can be utilised. In terms of AC 501 and IAS 12 (AC 102), Income Taxes (the local and international accounting standard on income taxes), the recognition of a liability to pay STC has to be postponed until the declaration of a dividend. Some accounting commentators have indicated that they find it anomalous to recognise a deferred tax asset in respect of unused STC credits, while no liability is recognised for the STC that would be payable on the future distribution of retained earnings.
The objective of the study is to consider whether it is conceptually anomalous to recognise a deferred tax asset for unused STC credits while no liability is raised for the STC that would become payable on future dividend declarations on profits already recognised in the financial statements.
The study concludes that it is conceptually anomalous to recognise a deferred tax asset for unused STC credits when no corresponding liability is raised.