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Deferred Tax Asset


A deferred tax asset is a tax reduction that a company anticipates to receive in the future, typically resulting from overpayment or advance payment of taxes. It is reflected on the company’s balance sheet and can be used to offset future tax liabilities. Essentially, it is the income taxes a company has paid or carried forward, but has not yet recognized in the financial statements.


The phonetics of the keyword: “Deferred Tax Asset” is:Deferred: Di-fur-dTax: TaksAsset: As-set

Key Takeaways

  1. Recognition: Deferred Tax Asset arises when a business overpays or pays in advance with regards to its tax liability. This overpayment or advance payment is done on the basis of the taxation standards, not on the basis of commercial accounting rules. The deferred tax asset thus acknowledged in the balance sheet is utilised in the future periods by the company.
  2. Utilization: Deferred Tax Assets can be used to adjust against future tax liabilities. These tax assets occur due to the differences in the company and tax laws’ way of measuring income and expenses. They are beneficial for the company as they can be used to balance the future tax payments of the company, given the company generates taxable income in future to offset these assets.
  3. Accounting: For accounting purposes, Deferred Tax Assets are considered non-current assets because the benefits derived from such assets are not going to occur in the next twelve months. These are accounted for under the liability method on the balance sheet and occur due to temporary differences in the time and manner in which an event affects taxable and financial income.


Deferred Tax Asset is an important financial term because it represents a company’s potential future tax savings. It arises when a company has paid taxes in advance or taken current-year deductions that will be recognized in the future. This happens when differences in revenue recognition, expense recognition, or other deductible temporary differences occur in tax and accounting books. The Deferred Tax Asset might become an actual cash saving if the company reports taxable income in the future. By taking Deferred Tax Assets into account, investors, creditors, and other stakeholders can better assess a company’s financial prospects and its efficiency in tax arrangements or tax planning strategies.


A Deferred Tax Asset (DTA) is an essential fiscal tool used by businesses to balance and manage their financial health. Essentially, it is an asset that may be used to reduce any subsequent period’s income tax expense. It occurs when businesses have paid taxes or carried forward losses that can be applied to future tax. A DTA entry in the books results from differences in income recognition between tax laws (fiscal income statement) and accounting principles (corporate income statement). The primary purpose of a DTA is to decrease a company’s tax liability in the future. The principle is to align the company’s tax and accounting incomes. It acts as a form of pre-paid tax that a company can utilize to balance its future tax obligations. For example, if a firm incurs a loss in a financial year, it can carry forward this loss to offset it against future profit—in a sense, reducing their future taxable income. Understanding and managing DTAs is crucial for businesses as its accurate usage can significantly impact a company’s financial outlook and tax strategy.


1. Company A: Company A operates in an industry that frequently reports financial losses. In a particular year, Company A reports a net loss of $1 million, but because of depreciation and other expenses, its taxable income is only $500,000. The company has a deferred tax asset of $500,000 that can be used to offset a portion of future tax liabilities. If the company earns $1 million the following year, it could use the deferred tax asset to reduce its tax bill.2. Company B: Company B has made significant investments in research and development, which have not yet yielded profitable results. Under the accounting rules, these expenses can be deducted from taxable income, creating a deferred tax asset. If in the future, the company’s R&D efforts pay off and the company starts generating profit, it can use the deferred tax asset to reduce its tax liability.3. Company C: Company C has considerable carry-forward of net operating losses. This is when a company’s tax deductions are greater than its taxable income, resulting in negative taxable income. These losses can be used to lower tax liabilities in more profitable years in the future. Thus, this serves as a deferred tax asset for the company. In all these cases, a deferred tax asset is realized only when the business becomes profitable enough to owe taxes against which the asset can be offset. The realization of the asset is also dependent on future accounting income, taxable income, and tax planning strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Deferred Tax Asset?

A Deferred Tax Asset is a tax reduction amount that a company can use to reduce its future tax bill. This typically arises when a business pays advanced tax on an income or pays excess tax which is due to discrepancies in income recognition between tax laws and the company’s accounting methods.

What may cause a Deferred Tax Asset to occur?

A Deferred Tax Asset might occur due to factors like depreciation, carryover of losses, and overstatement of inventory value. A discrepancy between the company’s accounting and the tax law could also cause a Deferred Tax Asset.

How is a Deferred Tax Asset represented in the financial statements?

It is represented as an asset on the company’s balance sheet. It indicates the decrease in future tax payments resulting from overpayment or advance payment of taxes.

Can a Deferred Tax Asset benefit the company in any way?

Yes, it can. A Deferred Tax Asset can be used by the company to offset its future tax liabilities, hence reducing the overall tax expense. It acts as a financial instrument that the company can leverage in its future fiscal operations.

What is the relationship between Deferred Tax Asset and Deferred Tax Liability?

A Deferred Tax Asset is the exact opposite of a Deferred Tax Liability. A Deferred Tax Asset benefits the company by reducing its future tax liabilities, whereas a Deferred Tax Liability represents an amount that the company will owe in taxes in future.

Is a Deferred Tax Asset always beneficial to the company?

Not always. While it is beneficial to reduce future tax liabilities, a large Deferred Tax Asset could indicate that the company has been overpaying taxes, which might suggest a lack of proper financial planning.

How often should a Deferred Tax Asset be evaluated?

Ideally, a company should regularly review its Deferred Tax Assets. How often this occurs may depend on the firm’s accounting cycle or changes in corporate or tax law. Regular evaluation helps to accurately estimate future taxable income.

Is it necessary to record a Deferred Tax Asset?

Yes, it is very important as per accounting principles. This record helps to provide a clearer picture of a company’s financial health and its ability to meet future tax obligations.

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