How to Record Income Tax Expense

How to Record Income Tax Expense

Recording income tax expense is an essential part of financial accounting for businesses. It involves accurately calculating and recording the amount of income tax owed to the government based on the company’s taxable income. Here are the steps to record income tax expense:

1. Determine taxable income: Calculate the company’s taxable income by subtracting allowable deductions and exemptions from total revenue. This is the amount on which the income tax expense will be based.

2. Determine the applicable tax rate: Consult the relevant tax laws to determine the applicable tax rate for the company’s taxable income. Different jurisdictions may have varying tax rates for different income brackets.

3. Calculate income tax expense: Multiply the taxable income by the applicable tax rate to determine the income tax expense. For example, if the taxable income is $100,000 and the tax rate is 25%, the income tax expense would be $25,000.

4. Create an income tax expense account: Set up a separate account in the general ledger to record income tax expenses. This account will be used to track and report the company’s tax liability.

5. Record the journal entry: Debit the income tax expense account for the calculated amount and credit the income tax payable account. This journal entry reflects the expense incurred and the liability owed to the government.

6. Adjust for taxes paid: If the company has already made tax payments throughout the year, adjust the income tax payable account by crediting it for the amount paid. This ensures that the remaining balance accurately represents the tax liability.

See also  How to See Cash App Subscriptions

7. Report the income tax expense: Include the income tax expense in the company’s financial statements. It is typically reported as a separate line item in the income statement, reducing the net income of the business.


1. What is the difference between income tax expense and income tax payable?
Income tax expense is the amount of tax owed based on the taxable income, while income tax payable is the liability owed to the government for that tax amount.

2. Can income tax expense be negative?
No, income tax expense cannot be negative. It represents the amount of tax owed by the company and is always a positive value.

3. How often should income tax expense be recorded?
Income tax expense is typically recorded annually, at the end of the financial year. However, interim income tax expenses may also be recorded for quarterly or monthly financial statements.

4. Are tax credits considered in income tax expense calculations?
Yes, tax credits can be considered in income tax expense calculations. They reduce the overall tax liability by directly offsetting the tax amount owed.

5. Can income tax expense be deferred?
Yes, income tax expense can be deferred if certain criteria are met. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized when there are timing differences between taxable income and accounting income.

6. How is income tax expense affected by changes in tax laws?
Changes in tax laws can impact the applicable tax rate and deductions, thereby affecting the calculation of income tax expense.

7. Can income tax expense be adjusted after it has been recorded?
Income tax expense can be adjusted if there are errors or changes in estimates. These adjustments are made through journal entries to ensure accurate reporting of the company’s tax liability.

See also  How to Get Car Loan From Credit Union

In conclusion, recording income tax expense involves calculating and recording the amount of tax owed by a company based on its taxable income. By following the appropriate steps and guidelines, businesses can accurately track and report their tax liability.