The Group recognizes the current and deferred tax consequences of transactions that have been included in the consolidated financial statements using the provisions of the respective jurisdictions’ tax laws. Current and deferred taxes are recognized in profit or loss except to the extent that the tax relates to items that are recognized directly in equity or other comprehensive income in which case the related tax is recognised either directly in equity or other comprehensive income accordingly.
Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for future tax consequences attributable to temporary differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases, unused tax losses and unused tax credits. Deferred tax assets are recognized only to the extent that it is probable that sufficient taxable profit will be available against which those unused tax losses, unused tax credits and deductible temporary differences can be utilized.
Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured based on the tax rates that are expected to apply in the period that the asset is realized or the liability is settled, based on tax rates and tax laws that have been enacted or substantively enacted at the balance sheet date.
Current tax assets and liabilities are offset when (1) they arise from the same tax reporting entity or tax group of reporting entities, (2) the legally enforceable right to offset exists and (3) they are intended to be settled net or realized simultaneously.
Deferred tax assets and liabilities are offset when the legally enforceable right to offset current tax assets and liabilities exists and the deferred tax assets and liabilities relate to income taxes levied by the same taxing authority on either the same tax reporting entity or tax group of reporting entities.
Deferred tax liabilities are provided on taxable temporary differences arising from investments in subsidiaries, branches and associates and interests in joint ventures except when the timing of the reversal of the temporary difference is controlled by the Group and it is probable that the difference will not reverse in the foreseeable future. Deferred income tax assets are provided on deductible temporary differences arising from such investments only to the extent that it is probable that the differences will reverse in the foreseeable future and sufficient taxable income will be available against which those temporary differences can be utilized.
Deferred tax related to fair value re-measurement of AFS investments, cash flow hedges and other items, which are charged or credited directly to other comprehensive income, is also credited or charged directly to other comprehensive income and subsequently recognized in the consolidated statement of income once the underlying transaction or event to which the deferred tax relates is recognized in the consolidated statement of income.
For share-based payment transactions, the Group may receive a tax deduction related to the compensation paid in shares. The amount deductible for tax purposes may differ from the cumulative compensation expense recorded. At any reporting date, the Group must estimate the expected future tax deduction based on the current share price. The associated current and deferred tax consequences are recognized as income or expense in the consolidated statement of income for the period. If the amount deductible, or expected to be deductible, for tax purposes exceeds the cumulative compensation expense, the excess tax benefit is recognized directly in equity.
The Group’s insurance business in the United Kingdom (Abbey Life Assurance Company Limited) is subject to income tax on its policyholder’s investment returns (policyholder tax). This tax is included in the Group’s income tax expense/benefit even though it is economically the income tax expense/benefit of the policyholder, which reduces/increases the Group’s liability to the policyholder.
Critical Accounting Estimates – In determining the amount of deferred tax assets, the Group uses historical tax capacity and profitability information and, if relevant, forecasted operating results based upon approved business plans, including a review of the eligible carry-forward periods, available tax planning opportunities and other relevant considerations. Each quarter, the Group re-evaluates its estimate related to deferred tax assets, including its assumptions about future profitability.
The Group believes that the accounting estimate related to the deferred tax assets is a critical accounting estimate because the underlying assumptions can change from period to period and requires significant management judgment. For example, tax law changes or variances in future projected operating performance could result in a change of the deferred tax asset. If the Group was not able to realize all or part of its net deferred tax assets in the future, an adjustment to its deferred tax assets would be charged to income tax expense or directly to equity in the period such determination was made. If the Group was to recognize previously unrecognized deferred tax assets in the future, an adjustment to its deferred tax asset would be credited to income tax expense or directly to equity in the period such determination was made.
For further information on the Group’s deferred taxes (including quantitative disclosures on recognized deferred tax assets) see Note 36 “Income Taxes”.