Corporate Tax Expense

by Too Shy To Say

Tax gives me a headache

Tax gives me a headache

The Question(s):

Perhaps a silly question - but how do I enter the corporate tax expense?

Is it a business expense at all?

Which two accounts do I use to make the entry?

My Answer:

Do you know how many silly questions I've asked in my life? ... Well I just stopped counting ... sometimes my questions are smart ... and sometimes my questions are just plain stupid because my brain gets stuck ... it's like a huge boulder blocking my path ... do I climb over, go around it ... not usually :0)

But does it stop me asking ... no uh uh!

I will keep this answer simple and give you the basic tax bookkeeping entry ... ignoring deferred taxes and the refund of dividends on hand.

Debit (increase) Income Tax Expense (an expense account on your income statement)

   Credit (increase) Income Tax Payable (a current liability account on your balance sheet)

Thanks for the question ... and hope my answer helps you out. ;-)

Comments for Corporate Tax Expense

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 10, 2010
Corporate Tax ...
by: Anonymous

Thank you- the entry makes perfect sense.

What still confuses me is the concept of how this income tax is a "business expense".

Is it because the expense is an adjustment to the books in the same year after taxes have been filed and thus doesn't appear on the actual income tax return submitted?

Is this entry the same for individuals and partnerships?

I really appreciate your help!

Feb 10, 2010
Year-end Adjusting Entry
by: Lake, Bookkeeping Essentials

The IRS website under Businesses>Business Expenses explains that "business expenses are the cost of carrying on a trade or business. These expenses are usually deductible if the business is operated to make a profit."

You cannot operate a business in North America without paying income taxes ... it is money that leaves the business ... so it is a business expense.

I think what is confusing you is the timing of the transactions. You initially book your income tax entry as an adjusting entry when doing year-end.

If you remember, one of the basic principles in bookkeeping is to match revenues with expenses.

The adjusting entry is booked to the prior year, not the current year, so you can match the tax expense with the revenue for that period.

Once you actually pay your corporate taxes, you will adjust your initial estimate to the actual tax liability, which is paid in the current year.

The actual amount of taxes you pay when you file your tax return would show on the tax return line called "Taxes Payable". It is what you are actually calculating when you prepare the return.

Remember, one of the reasons this is so confusing is because the rules for financial reporting are often different than the rules used to determine your taxable income. There are permanent and temporary timing differences between the two.

Does that help ... or is it as clear as mud?

Feb 11, 2010
Thank you!
by: Anonymous

I can't thank you enough for making this all clear to me! Thank you for providing such a great service.

Feb 11, 2013
by: Anonymous

After trying to find an explanation to this for a while.

You nail it. Thanks.

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Nov 20, 2013
Income tax expense
by: Anonymous

Don't you have to add back the taxes to your net income when you file your corp. tax return? So where is the expense??

Nov 21, 2013
Don't confuse financial reporting and tax reporting
by: Lake

The clue to answer your question is in your phrasing … "when you file your corp. tax return".

Read back through this post and don't confuse your financial reporting with your tax reporting.

Jan 20, 2014
How to Log Corporate income tax payments in QuickBooks Pro 2012
by: Christina, Ontario

I would like to know how to properly log my corporate tax payments to the Canada Revenue Agency. I made a few cheques out to Revenue Canada this year and have logged them under the Account 2200 taxes payable (Other current liability). Here is the list of the payments I made.

1. I made a payment to Revenue Canada mid 2013 for 5K for the payment of my 2012 corporate taxes.

2. I made another payment in November 2013 for about 4K to the receiver general. I did not know I was suppose to make installment payments so I paid the amounts I owed from Jan to Oct.

3. I made another payment in December as an installment payment of $400.

My question is how do I log these transactions correctly in QuickBooks. I will be using Turbo Tax to file my T2 statement.

Jan 20, 2014
Corporate Tax Payable
by: Lake

I moved your post here Christina.

1. I assume you have booked your 2012 tax payable entry in 2012 as shown in the above postings.

Once that has been done, just apply your payment made in 2013 against the income tax payable account.

2 and 3. See the forum posting where I chat about how to record your corporate tax installments.

Jan 21, 2014
Corporate Taxes Adjustment
by: Sharon, Calgary

My client's books opening balance in a Corp. Taxes - Federal liability account for the current fiscal year is a credit of $2,321.34. What was physically paid was $2,321.00 (debit).

Now there is a $0.34 credit on the books I am not certain how to clean up. I know I have to debit the Corp. Taxes - Federal account but what account needs to be credited?

Thank you.

Jan 21, 2014
Corporate Taxes Adjustment
by: Lake

Hi Sharon,

Because the amount is immaterial, just clear it to your Other/Misc Income account.

Mar 05, 2014
Income Tax Exp / Payable Entry
by: Anonymous

I am setting up accounting software accounts for a sole proprietor and notice the template under Liability notes Income Tax Payable.

But according to your explanation of this account is that it may only apply to a "corporate" structured business.

Am I correct?
And if this is correct what account would a sole proprietor in Canada use to note any taxes payable?
As in Canada their tax return is lumped into personal.

My understanding is sole proprietors don't book income tax as it is a personal expense.

Apr 02, 2015
Income tax expense?
by: Phil

My apologies, I'm still confused. In 2014, let's say my corporate net income is $10,000 and my income tax owing is $1500. How can I go back and enter that $1500 as a business expense? Seems to me that would create an endless loop where that new 'income tax expense' reduces my net income even further, which in turn reduces my tax owing, and so on.

I understand that this expense will ultimately be a credit to my cash, so needs a corresponding debit, but it doesn't make sense to me for income tax expense to be showing up on the income statement, when indeed a main purpose of the income statement is to actually calculate the income tax expense. Am I making any sense, haha?

Apr 04, 2015
by: Lake

Sorry to tell you but your personal income tax expense is NOT a business expense. If you are paying the personal tax owing from your business account, it must be coded to your S/H Loan account as follows:

DR S/H Loan
CR Cash in Bank (Cheque payable to Receiver General)

To record payment of personal income tax owing for 20xx.

Apr 14, 2015
Corporate Tax
by: Mullins

The confusion seems to originate between the tools (quickbooks, Peachtree, etc.) and the reporting purpose.

In QB there is no report format that allows for income before taxes and income after taxes.

Would it not be more practical to:
Retained Earning (equity)... XXX
Taxes Payable (liability) ... XXX

Taxes Payable (liability) ... XXX
Bank Account (asset) ... XXX

Apr 15, 2015
by: Lake

I'd have to say NO to booking anything to retained earnings. FYI corporate tax is not my speciality therefore not my strong point. I defer to the accountants on this.

It is my understanding that there are very few reasons to book anything directly to Retained Earnings. Or said another way, the instances that require an entry to retained earnings will most likely be booked by an accountant.

It is also my understanding that accrual accounting requires you accrue your prior year tax liability in that year not in your current year through retained earnings.

Jul 09, 2015
Corporate tax expense
by: Anonymous

I have small corporation in Canada and I use QuickBooks for bookkeeping and filing T2.

When should I record corporate tax expense? After closing all expenses and calculating net income?

Jul 16, 2015
Corporate Tax Expense
by: Lake

For corporate bookkeeping (as opposed to sole proprietor bookkeeping), you book your provision for income taxes as part of your year-end procedures.

Oct 01, 2015
Corporate Tax
by: Anonymous

What entry do you make when you are putting away lets 5000 per month for corporate taxes to be paid at the end of the tax year? Is this set up as an equity account?

What would the entry look like? dr. Bank account and cr. PrePaid Tax????

When i pay the taxes, i know to dr. tax expense and cr. tax payable.

Oct 12, 2015
Corporate Tax Installment Journal Entry
by: Lake

The journal entries are here:

Corporate Tax Installment Journal Entry

Feb 27, 2016
Hiring Tax Credit
by: Anonymous

I am pretty sure I am overthinking this so I am seeking advise. I received a Hiring Tax Credit in 2015 and I also overpaid in penalties to the CRA. CRA wants me to take it off my next remittance, which will be Feb/2016. I have created a purchase invoice to CRA with a credit going to my 'CRA penalties' account. Which puts a credit in my Receiver General account that I will apply before I issue my Feb remittance. Can I do the same and credit my EI payable account (liability). Please help, I want to figure this out it is driving me crazy.

Mar 04, 2016
Hiring Credit
by: Lake

See my article on how to book your hiring credit here:

You can find the link under the tab "The Taxes-Canada" or key hiring credit into the search box.

May 29, 2016
Expense vs Liability
by: Anonymous

Hi Lake -
With regards to paying in full the income tax provision from the previous year:

at this point I have a DR Corp Tax Payable and I created a bill in QB that CR Corp Tax Payable, so that I could record the payment of the taxes via cheque through the bank.

Should this amount instead go to an expense account? It's not the current year's taxes, it's the previous year's provision, so I'm guessing no. I'm stuck in a loop on this and would love to know what you think.

That said, I'm also assuming that interest payable on a late paid corporate tax payment would be an expense for the current year? Your feedback would be most welcome. Thanks!

Jun 01, 2016
Expense vs Liability
by: Lake

It can be booked by Bill or Journal Entry in QuickBooks. It should be dated as of the last day of your previous fiscal year. For example if today is June 1, 2016 and your fiscal year end is December 31, 2015 ... you date your bill or journal entry as of December 31, 2015.

DEBIT Income Tax Expense

CREDIT Corporate Income Tax Payable

If you used Bill to book your entry, issue your cheque or online payment to the Receiver General using Bill Payment to clear your Accounts Payable. This books the entry ...

DEBIT Cash in Bank

CREDIT Corporate Income Tax Payable

Yes interest payable is an expense in the current year ... unless it is a material amount, then you would also book an estimated amount in prior year.

Jul 14, 2016 refund
by: Anonymous

I have a question. How to record refund when loss was carried back to previous years?

Apr 26, 2017
Overestimated Income Tax Expenses/Payable
by: Greg

Hi everyone
Thru 2016 I recorded Income Tax Expenses and Income Tax payable as described somewhere in this blog (fantastic blog) put my money aside, no instalments made.
Completed my tax return and what I had to pay was less than my Income Tax payable.

What do I do now with the balance in my Income Tax Payable?

How do I adjust my Income tax payable and my income tax expense?


May 15, 2017
finding answers
by: Anonymous

It would enhance your site if when I click on the question I am directed straight to the answer without having to scan pages of non-appropriate answers.

Still looking T2 reassessed bookkeeping entries

Jun 03, 2017
by: Lake

Once you actually pay your corporate taxes, you adjust your initial estimate to the actual tax liability, which is paid in the current year.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to CCPC.

Corporate Income Tax Refund Journal Entry



What is the bookkeeping entry to record the corporate income tax refund from prior tax years?

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I will assume that a bookkeeping entry was made each year ... once you had calculated the tax refund due as follows:

Dr. (decrease) Corporate Income Tax Payable (a current liability on your balance sheet)

Cr. (decrease) Income Tax Expense (an expense account on your income statement)

Any corporate income tax installments made do not affect your income statement. Installments are NOT income tax expenses ... so I will also assume that when your corporate income tax installments were made, bookkeeping entries for each year were made as follows:

Dr. (decrease) Corporate Income Tax Payable (current liability on your balance sheet)

Cr. (decrease) Cash in Bank (current asset on your balance sheet).

I am also assuming that if the Corporate Income Tax Payable account was a debit balance, at the appropriate year-end, the amount would have been reclassified by your accountant to Corporate Income Tax Refundable, a current asset account, as part of your year-end adjusting entries ... and reversed on January 1.

Once you receive your income tax refund, you would book the following entry to clear your payable account:

Dr. (increase) Cash in Bank ( a current asset on your balance sheet)

Cr. (increase) Corporate Income Tax Payable (current liability on your balance sheet)

Cr. (increase) Interest Income (income account on your income statement)

If you have any working papers, you will probably have an analysis of your corporate income tax payable by year. It is in your working paper file that you will allocate the refund to the appropriate years.

That said, I like to book the actual refund entry by year with good comments so that it is clear to anyone reviewing the general ledger what is happening in the account.

For all the bookkeeping entries, I like to make good memo notes about which year the entry pertains to.

Comments for Corporate Income Tax Refund Journal Entry

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Apr 22, 2011
Corporate Tax Payable
by: Bonnie

Corporate taxes paid are not a business expense. Why wouldn't the correct entry be for corporate taxes paid be:

DR - Retained earnings ??
CR - Corporate Taxes Payable

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Retained earnings represents the net income and loss accumulated since the company's inception. At year-end, the net income (all income and expense accounts) are closed to the retained earnings accounts.

You never adjust the retained earnings accounts .... ever .... unless your accountant has given you an entry to book. The reasons to adjust retained earnings are far and few between.

I am curious, why do you feel that paying taxes, as a result of your business dealings, is not a business expense? If you weren't in business, you wouldn't be paying tax on the business income. Right?

Aug 18, 2011
Tax Refund
by: Anonymous-k

We have already paid the installments for corporate tax. At the end of fiscal year Tax Payable is nil.

We received a tax refund.

Can anyone help me to do the journal for the same?

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First go back and read the entries at the beginning of this post. Check to make sure you have booked each of the entries discussed.

Still stuck? Next draw some "T accounts" on a sheet of paper and work your way through your transactions.

If you have trouble with keeping your debits and credits straight, check out my "cheat" table.

Take the time to learn to think your way through your transactions.

Hint: If you received a tax refund, then I don't understand why / how your Tax Payable balance is nil. I would start with determining whether you booked your taxes for the year ... recording the tax instalments is not the same thing as recording your actual taxes due.

Nov 11, 2011
Corporate Tax Refund
by: Lucy Bizzo, Canada

We received a refund cheque for last fiscal year.

Our accountant did not accrue for it.

How should this refund be recorded in our books???

Nov 11, 2011
Corporate Tax Refund
by: Lake

If you are sure the entries talked about in this original post were not made, then this is the entry I would make:

Dr. (increase) Cash in Bank (current asset on your balance sheet)

Cr. (decrease) Income Tax Expense (an expense account on your income statement)

P.S. I would like to remind you there is a difference between information and advice. The general information provided in this post or on my site should not be construed as advice. You should not act or rely on this information without engaging professional advice specific to your situation prior to using this site content for any reason whatsoever.

Nov 11, 2011
Omitted Accruals
by: Lake

I just thought I should follow up and explain what happens to your books when an accrual is omitted at year-end.

By failing to accrue the anticipated tax refund in the year it pertains to, your tax expense in the prior year was ovestated which understated your net income.

Your liabilities on the balance sheet were also overstated.

Over a two year period, this is a self-correcting error because when you book the entry this year, you will have corrected the over/under statements.

You are probably wondering why, if the transaction relates to the prior year, didn't it get posted to retained earnings.

GAAP permits adjustments to retained earnings for prior periods ONLY IF they are significant.

Normally, bookkeepers should not book entries to retained earnings (except shareholder dividends) ... let your accountant decide if the entry requires an adjustment to retained earnings ... because if this wasn't related to income tax, it would also affect your prior year tax return.

Nov 11, 2011
Thanks for tax information.
by: Kundan

Thank you very much.

Jan 04, 2012
by: Anonymous

Very helpful- Thank you!!

Nov 10, 2012
Compilation Question
by: Anonymous

Hi Lake,

My question is in regards to a small corporation that gets a public accounting firm to complete a compilation engagement (NTR) and file its Dec 31, 2011 year end T2.

If I understand correctly the corporation will leave its 2011 books/year open in QuickBooks or Simply. When the corporation receives the journal entry from the public accounting firm, say in Jan/12, it will make the required tax provision entry and then close its books for 2011.

Does the public accounting firm also tell the corp how much to prepay towards its 2012 return (installments) based off of its 2011 taxes payable? Does the corporation have to immediately pay all taxes owing for the 2011 year and also make installment payments towards its 2012 tax return?

I am also a bit confused in regards to what happens when the corp receives a refund. As expenses/revenues are transferred to retained earnings each year, the income tax expense account will have a 0 balance at the beginning of the year and at year end. Wouldn't the expense account show a credit position on the financial statements at year end if I make the refund entry?

Nov 12, 2012
Corporate Tax Refund & Year-end Adjusting Entries
by: Lake

Let's start with your last question.

If you go back and look at the entries, you will notice that your tax refund entry was booked to your payable account as follows:

Dr. Corporate Income Tax Payable (Refund)

Cr. Income Tax Expense

If the balance in the payable account was in a debit position, your accountant may have reclassified it to your accounts receivable.

By the time you receive your refund in the following year, your income tax expense account has nothing to do with receiving the funds. Your entry is between your payable/receivable and bank accounts so you clear your outstanding payable/receivable:

Dr. Cash in Bank

Cr. Corporate Income Tax Payable (Refund)

Cr. Interest Income

With regards your year-end adjusting journal entries (AJE), one of the entries should be to record a tax provision for 2011. Your accountant may also have other entries for you to record.

Once you have entered the AJEs, make sure you balance your balance sheet and income statement to the S100 and S125 filed with your T2. When they are balanced, then close your books.

In QuickBooks, this means you should be going in and entering a closing date so that you or others no longer book entries to that year.

It is my understanding that closing a year-end in Sage 50 - Canadian Edition (previously Simply Accounting) is much more complicated and less forgiving than QuickBooks requirement to just enter a closing date.

Your accountant should be reviewing your return with you. Part of that would be explaining your 2012 installment requirements.

Corporate taxes are due 2 months after year-end even though your filing deadline is 6 months after deadline. If you don't know your exact tax amount due, you must estimate the amount and pay it prior to the 2 month deadline to avoid penalties and interest charges.

Jan 05, 2013
Corporate Income Tax Refunds OR add't payments
by: Anonymous 378

Thanks all for your contribution to this site. It does help an overworked brain to think through fuzzy situations

I am now faced with a similar situation regarding the entries to make in the current year for a refund that was not accrued in the year to which it relates. It bothers me to credit expense in the current year because this offsets current year's accrual.

If at year end, the true position of the tax return is not known, An adjusting entry should be allowed at the time the information is available in order for each fiscal year to accurately reflect tax position/result.

Jan 31, 2013
T2 Corporate Income Tax
by: Anonymous


Last year was our first year in business. We closed Sept. 30, 2012. The QuickBooks file was sent to an accountant who determined our corporate tax for the year.

I am now sending a cheque to pay this but am unsure how the accountant calculated the amount owed or how to enter the payment cheque in QuickBooks.

Should I be able to find this total in an expense account or do I need to make a post to an expense account and then apply the payment?


Kim - Toronto

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Hi Kim,

The accountant should have done one of 2 things:

1. Given you year-end adjusting entries to post to QuickBooks; or
2. Posted the adjusting entries to their QuickBooks Accountant copy and returned it to you to merge with your active QuickBooks file.

If neither of those events occurred, your next step is to look at your T2 return and find Schedules 100-Balance Sheet and 125-Income Statement. Print your balance sheet and income statement in QuickBooks or your Trial Balance and compare the numbers to the two schedules.

You want to see if the accountant adjusted any of your balances. If balances don't match, it will be because the accountant made some year-end adjusting entries. Ask your accountant for a copy of the adjusting entries for you to post.

One of the adjusting entries was likely for Income Taxes. There should be an entry on the last day of your fiscal year, Sept. 30 in your case, that debits Income Tax Expense and credits Income Tax Payable. In QuickBooks, it is best to set this up using "Enter Bills".

When you go to pay your income taxes, use "Pay Bills" to clear the Accounts Payable you set up at year-end.

Hope this helps.

Feb 14, 2013
Corporate Taxes
by: Anonymous

Ok, that's great information.

This was our first year in business so the prior tax year was actually just the first year's business taxes. Sorry I should have said that right from the start.

Also it was a payment and not a refund. Are the entries basically the same still?

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Yes, same principles still apply.

Feb 18, 2013
corporate tax payable
by: Anonymous

Okay I posted everything and it all looks good. Thanks so much for your help!

Mar 10, 2013
Refund from Losses Carry Back
by: Anonymous

What about refunds created from non-capital losses carried back 3 years? How to record and how to treat the credit in the tax expense account on my income statement for tax purposes?

Aug 10, 2013
Loss Carryback
by: Anonymous

I have the same question as Anonymous above.

How do you account for an income tax refund that results from a loss carry-back going back three years?

Aug 26, 2013
Corporate Taxes
by: Anonymous

Can anyone help me with this year end journal entries in my Simply Accounting?

I have corporate taxes payable #2170 Debit and recovery of income tax #9998 credit which I don't have in my account list.

My question is where do I add this account #9998? Is it a expense or revenue? My Simply Accounting software doesn't let me to add the account #9998. I'm confused. Please help.

Sep 21, 2013
balance sheet vs T2 income tax return
by: Helen

Can anyone help on this?

Why does my balance sheet used for T2 (Sched100) have a tax payable balance, but my corporate tax return T2 shows tax refund?

Is it because the T2 includes a payment made after the fiscal year end date?

Thanks a lot for any help!

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Go back and review the entries at the beginning of this post and make sure you have booked all of them ... and in the correct time period.

Also make sure your balance sheet is "as at your fiscal year-end" date ... you need to compare apples with apples.

Sep 25, 2013
Journal entry for corporate income tax re-assessment for pervious year
by: Helen

What is the journal entry for income tax re-assessment.

my fiscal year end is 09/30/2012, on the income statement, the Income Tax for year 2012 is $5000.
the entry is:
Dr. Income Tax expense(current) (gifi code 9990),
Cr. Income Tax payable

after filing T2 at 02/28/2013, there is an income tax re-assessment, so the income tax for year 2012 became $4500.

But I cannot book this to last year (2012) income statement which has been filed, so it needs to go to 2013 income statement.

And in order Not to affect the current year (2013) Income tax account, I cannot book the $500 difference from 2012 re-assessment to Current Income Tax Expense account.

So the solution I could think of is to separate last year's income tax adjustment with current year income tax through 2 different accounts.

should I record the difference of $500 as below:
Dr. Income tax payable,
Cr. Business tax expense account (gifi code 8762) so it will go to the income statement of year 2013.

Thanks for your help!

Mar 16, 2014
Federal Refund
by: Anonymous

On our last year before converting from C Corp to S Corp, we have prepaid $15K in federal taxes. Our Federal Taxes were calculated to be $10K. $5K were recorded as refundable asset. Then our accountant has added $5k refund to S Corp income and I can't understand this: how something that was clearly overpaid and therefore returned can become your income?

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I don't do U.S. tax. It is my understanding that C Corporations are taxed annually on their earnings unlike S Corporations that do not pay federal income tax as the profit/loss flows through to the shareholder. I'm guessing but somewhere your corporation received a $5K tax deduction in the prior year. Bringing the overpayment in the following year offsets the prior year deduction. Like I said, I'm just guessing as I'm not familiar with U.S. income tax preparation.

It's a good question to ask your accountant why this happens.

Dec 12, 2014
Type of GL Account
by: CLT

What type of account would I set up for "refundable income taxes"

Dec 12, 2014
by: Lake

I think you want to set up a current asset account.

Mar 05, 2015
Paying Corporate Taxes
by: carmy

I know there has been a lot of discussion on this...but I'm still a little confused...can I get journal entries for the following....

Y/e March 31, 2014
June 2013-paid $10000 for corporate tax for 2014
what is the entry?

March 31,2014 return is filed March 2015-(I know its late)
Corporate taxes Calculated for March31, 2014 is $5000
What is the entry?

What if Corporate taxes calculated is $15000
What is the entry?

Mar 07, 2015
by: Lake

Look at the examples above for all the entries pertaining to a refund and adjust them for a tax balance payable. Some of your entries may be zero; for example if you did not pay any installments throughout the year.

I can't emphasize enough that bookkeepers need to stop and THINK through their entries. If you have trouble with debits and credits, have my cheat sheet open when you book your entries and/or work with "T" accounts.

Mar 29, 2015
Accounting entries to record an approved tax debt compromise
by: Nolly

Our company entered into a compromise agreement for payroll and VAT taxes. What would the accounting entries be to record an approved tax debt compromise? It increases out tax liability dating back to prior years

May 22, 2016
how to track RDTOH in bookkeeping
by: Larry

My corp has RDTOH in the amount of say $100 which if a dividend in the amount of $300 is paid out by the Corp, it will receive a refund of the RDTOH ($100).

I would like to know which bookkeeping accounts are involved.

Should the refund be treated as an income in the year it is received?

Jun 19, 2016
Tax reassessment for prior year- journal entry
by: Anonymous

If CRA reassessed my prior two years tax amount from $1000 to $5000, what is the correct transaction?

Dr. Corp tax expenses $4000
Cr. Bank $4000

It will affect my current year taxable amount because my tax expenses is increased. My taxable income will become a taxable loss this year as my current income is only $500. Please advise how to make the book entry correctly. Thank you

Jun 20, 2016
Prior Year Adjustment
by: Lake

Assuming this a corporate tax reassessment and not a sole proprietor tax reassessment ... If it were me, I'd book the following entry on the date of the reassessment as CRA has already adjusted your tax returns for the prior years affected by the reassessment:

Dr. Retained Earnings $4000 (equity account on the balance sheet)
Cr. Accounts Payable $4000

Make a very detailed note describing the amounts attributed for each tax year affected. This way your current year's net income is not affected by the prior year adjustments.

I'd then pay the amount owing to CRA through my A/P module.

Normally I never touch Retained Earnings unless the Accountant says to book the entry ... so all you DIYers out there, your other option is to book the entry as follows:

Dr. Ask My Accountant $4000 (income statement account)
Cr. Accounts Payable $4000

Nov 02, 2016
Interest and penalty
by: Emily

Hi Sir,

We have filed our tax late and when we received the assessment back we have to pay interest and penalty.

I have posted both the interest and penalty under other expense.

Please advise correct journal entries.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Nov 07, 2016
by: Lake


You should track CRA interest and penalties in a separate account called something like "CRA interest penalties not deductible".

The interest expense can be offset by CRA interest income but otherwise they are not deductible ... so that is why you track it in a separate account.

I usually make it a sub-account of my interest account.

Hope this helps.

Nov 07, 2016
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the detailed response !

Feb 22, 2017
Another Prior Year REFUND question
by: Brenda

Hello, and thanks for all the info. I have read it through, but am still a bit puzzled.

In 2015, we had a loss on our T2. I requested a loss carryback to 2014 and some to 2013.

In 2016, I rec'd a direct deposit from CRA for each of those years.

I did the entry of DR bank / CR Income Tax Expense.

Now, I'm doing my 2016 tax return and we have a small loss again. I won't be carrying it back, but my Income Stmt. shows a negative in the Corp. Tax. Exp. column.

Do I go back to the other years and enter adj. at y/e? If so, do I then just show it as a receivable, paid in 2016?

On my T2, right now it shows as a DR to Current Tax Expense, which it's not, but I don't know how to show it.

I've been doing my own T2s for several years, but our accountant friend who I used for questions, died, and I've never run into this before. I want to do it right!

Thank you for any input.


Feb 24, 2017
by: Lake

Why did you book the refund you received from CRA to income tax expense instead of income tax payable (recoverable)?

Feb 25, 2017
Lake re Inc. Tax Recoverable
by: Brenda

I wasn't thinking straight, I guess. I've never had a refund before.

I suppose I thought if I entered it in the tax expense account, it would be offset at year end by the current year tax owing, which didn't end up being the case.

I can easily change it, as I haven't completed my year end - well, I have, but am just working on my T2 now, which is why I'm discovering this problem. :) T2 is due Feb. 28.

Is the easiest correction to go back and enter a year-end entry in the prior year, showing it as a receivable; receive the payment in 2016, and have no affect on this past year's income - just a deposit to bank?

Thank you for your help.

Mar 24, 2017
Income Tax Credit
by: Amila

I need to set off Income Tax Installment payable (Monthly Payable) against the Income Tax Credit. In here instead of cash back we can set off Income Tax Payable against the Tax Credit. Please explain how is the accounting treatment.

Apr 05, 2017
by: Lake

I'm not sure I understood what you are asking.

Income tax installments are coded to the Income Tax Payable Account.

If you received an income tax refund, it too gets coded to the Income Tax Payable Account.

They offset each other reducing the amount you owe.

Jul 26, 2017
Corporate Tax Refund from Prior Year
by: Connie from Ontario

My question is how do I record an amount refunded of over payment of corporate taxes.

The original payment made to CRA was $1,368.00 (It was not recorded in quickbooks).

The Summary Assessment from CRA stated the following:

Federal Tax - $854.00
Provincial Tax - $349.00
Penalty-Late Filing - $84.21
Interest-Arrears - $30.34
Refund - $50.45

Journal Entry:
1. Dr. Federal Tax Expense $854
Dr. Provincial Tax Exp. $349
Dr. Penalty Expense $84.21
Dr. Interest Expense $30.34
?Cr. Refund $50.45
Cr. Income Tax Pay. $1317.55

2. Payment
Dr. Income Tax Pay. $1317.55
Cr. Cash $1317.55

3. Refund Cheque Received

Dr. Cash $50.45
Cr. ?

And further the corporate taxes represent 2014 paid in 2016.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Jul 26, 2017
by: Lake

I just want to state that corporate income tax is not my strong point as I specialize in sole proprietor bookkeeping. That said ...

You need to reconcile the books before tax returns are filed ... i.e. bring the books up-to-date for prior years if that has not been done including bank reconciliations.

If the books don't accurately reflect events in 2014 and 2015 then you need to go back and deal with that before you can do 2016.

Assuming the books were never accurate and officially closed by an accountant, go back into 2014 and book the $1368 to DR Income Tax Expense CR Income Tax Payable make a memo note that it is an 2014 estimate of tax payable.

Then when the tax was paid, book that entry on the date the cheque was written for: DR Income Tax Payable CR Bank

Reverse the 2014 estimate and book the 2014 actual tax owing DR Income Tax Payable $165 CR Income Tax Expense on the day the tax return was filed. If not known then use the CRA assessment date.

On the date the CRA assessment for 2014 was issued, record the penalty and interest charges. Note these are not tax deductible so they should be booked reflecting that. DR CRA Penalty & Interest $114.55 CR Income Tax Payable

On the date you received the refund cheque book, DR Bank $50.45 CR Income Tax Payable.

It is really important to ensure the books are up-to-date before filing the next tax return.

These entries means your Income Tax Payable account should look like this:

CR 1368 in 2014
DR 1368 in the year it was paid
DR 165 in the year the actual tax return was filed
CR 114.55 in the year CRA made the assessment for 2014
DR 50.45 on the date the refund cheque was received.

The sum of these transaction should be zero.

Aug 11, 2017
Corporate Tax Refund from Prior Year
by: Connie

Thank you!

I am internally grateful for your response and thankful for the existence of the website. I agree with your other participants that you provide a great service.

Oct 19, 2017
Corporate tax
by: Lucy

I am a new bookkeeper for a company. Corporate tax shows nil. But I have received a credit of 45.00 after assessment and they sent a cheque for that amount. How do I post this on simply?

DR Bank account and CR Income tax expense?

If it was nil to start off with, will that not affect my next remittance?

Oct 26, 2017
by: Lake

You need to read your assessment statement to determine why you receive the $45 credit and book it accordingly. It could be interest.

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