Citigroup in tax row with analyst, news report claims

8 September 2010

Citigroup is arguing with accountants over whether it needs to set aside $50 billion to cover deferred tax assets (DTA), a news report has claimed.

According to the Financial Times (FT), the investment bank has rejected advice to save the money as it claims it will earn enough in the future to cover the DTA.

The bank needs to be confident it can generate $99 billion worth of income over the course of the next 20 years to avoid having to make the provision.

If Citigroup was to set the money aside, its balance sheet and capital buffer would both be weakened, the FT stated.

Lynn Turner, a former chief accountant at the Securities and Exchange Commission, told the news provider: “Citi’s position defies imagination and logic.

“Instead of talking about making money, what Citi ought to do is to reserve for at least part of the DTAs and reap the benefit of reducing the reserves once it actually makes money.”

Critics have claimed that considering the bank’s recent financial performance, particularly during the global credit crisis, Citigroup is being over confident in its measure of its future earnings.

Statistics for 2008 and 2009 showed that the bank recorded a loss of $60 billion for the period.

By Jim Ottewill

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