Debt cap: group accounts: financial statements not acceptable
International accounting standards as default
It is likely in practice that the consolidated financial statements of most large groups will be prepared under accounting policies that are ‘acceptable’ for TIOPA10/PT7purposes. If they are not, however, it is necessary to decide whether the figures disclosed in the groups’ accounts are ‘materially different’ from those that would be disclosed in statements prepared under international accounting standards (IAS) (TIOPA10/S347(1)).
If the amounts are not materially different, the figures used for debt cap purposes are still drawn from the accounts. But if there is a material difference, you must use the figures that would have been given had IFRS accounts been drawn up for the period in question.
‘Materially different’ is not defined, but consideration of materiality should be based on the IASB Framework: ‘Information is material if its omission of misstatement could influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of the financial statements’ (F.30). In the debt cap context, a difference will be material if it means the difference between a disallowance or no disallowance, or if one set of figures would lead to a significantly greater disallowance than the other.
HMRC staff should consult a HMRC accountant in any case where group accounts are prepared under ‘non-acceptable’ accounting standards, but it is claimed that any resulting differences from IFRS are immaterial.