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Is income tax an expense or liability?

The income tax reported on the income statement is the income tax expense which pertains to the revenues and expenses shown on the income statement.

The income taxes to be paid in the near future are reported as a current liability.

If a corporation has overpaid its income taxes, the income taxes to be refunded by the government are reported on the corporation's balance sheet as a current asset.

There are also balance sheet accounts for deferred income taxes. Deferred income taxes arise when a revenue or expense item is reported on the income tax return in a year that is different from the year the item appears on the financial statements.

More information is contained in Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 109, Accounting for Income Taxes. It is available for reading at