The appropriate means of accounting for income taxes on financial statements has been among the most hotly debated and frequently recycled issues of the past 50 years. This retrospective account begins with the issuance of the first professional standards during the 1930s and 1940s, and illustrates how theoretical arguments, developed in professional and academic journals during the 1950s, were subsequently recycled and revised during later decades. The problems that led to reconsideration of the deferred tax issue by both the APB during the 1960s and the FASB during the 1980s and 1990s are discussed, as are the solutions offered by these standard setters.

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