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Determinants of voluntary accounting policy choices by Australian life insurers

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

This paper empirically examines various incentives facing managers of Australian life insurers to voluntarily use actuarial-based income smoothing techniques (AIS). AIS were subsequently incorporated into jointly-developed Australian and New Zealand life insurance accounting standards (LIAS) issued in 1997. The propensity of managers to voluntarily use AIS is predicted to be related to the firm s tax rate, ownership structure, size, expense ratio and solvency. These predictions were tested on a sample of 28 firms during the period 1992-93. Empirical results suggest that firms using AIS tend to be larger, pay higher levels of income tax and are less likely to contravene minimum solvency requirements.