A contingent liability "is a potential obligation to outside parties that arose from past events but for
which the final resolution is uncertain, depending on the outcome of future events." (Messier, Glover, &
Prawitt, 2023). Contingent liabilities also "include obligations that are not recognized because their
amount cannot be measured reliably or because settlement is not probable." (IFRS). I decided to go with
Amazon for this discussion. According to Amazon's latest financial statement, one of the contingencies
reported is tax contingency. They state that Amazon is "subject to income taxes in the U.S. (federal and
state) and numerous foreign jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in evaluating our tax positions
and determining our provision for income taxes." (Amazon, 2023). Amazon also states that changes in tax
laws, regulations, administrative practices, principles, and interpretations may impact their tax
For them to address tax contingencies, they tested internal controls over the Company's process to
assess the technical merits of its tax contingencies. They also involved international tax, transfer pricing,
and research and development tax professionals in assessing the technical merits of certain of the
Company's tax positions. To recognize the tax contingency, they use a two-step approach. Firstly, they
evaluate their tax position by determining if the weight of available evidence indicates it is more likely
than not the position will be sustained on audit. Secondly, Amazon measures the tax benefit as the
largest amount which is more than 50% likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement. To search for
contingent liabilities, an auditor could read the minutes of board meetings, review contracts, loan
agreements, leases, etc., confirm guarantees and letters of credit, and in this case review tax returns, IRS
reports, and schedules supporting the entities income tax liability.
Amazon.com, Inc. (2023). Annual 10-K Report. SEC. Retrieved from
IFRS. (n.d.). IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets. IFRS.
Messier, W. F., Glover, S. M., & Prawitt, D. F. (2023). Auditing & Assurance Services: A systematic
approach. McGraw Hill Education.
Hi Victoria, I also chose Amazon. The only contingency that I found for Amazon was Tax
contingencies. They stated that they are subject to income taxes in the U.S. (federal and state)
and numerous foreign jurisdictions. Good points you brought up with speaking with management
and legal counsel for any potential liabilities. They could also read meeting minutes and review
prior tax returns.