We investigate the ability of a tax-based fundamental?the ratio of tax-to-book income?to predict earnings growth and stock returns and to explain the earnings-price ratio. This tax fundamental reflects both temporary and permanent book-tax differences as well as tax accruals, such as changes in the tax valuation allowance. We find that the tax-to-book income ratio predicts subsequent five-year earnings changes, both before and after the implementation of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 109 in 1993. For the pre-SFAS No. 109 period, the tax information is unrelated to contemporaneous earnings-price ratios and strongly related to subsequent stock returns. Conversely, for the post-SFAS No. 109 period, the tax fundamental is strongly related to contemporaneous earnings-price ratios and only weakly related to subsequent stock returns, indicating improvement over time in investors' perceptions of the implications of the tax information for future earnings. Deferred taxes, a component of our tax fundamental and the focus of recent research, exhibits relatively modest ability to predict earnings or stock returns both before and after the implementation of SFAS No. 109. Finally, throughout the examined period, the taxable income information about future earnings is incremental to that in accruals and cash flows.
Lev, Baruch, and Doron Nissim. "Taxable Income, Future Earnings, and Equity Values." Accounting Review 79 (October 2004): 1039-74.
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