Deferred liability refers to a debt which is incurred and due which a person or entity does not resolve with a payment. The payment will be due at some point in the future and thus the liability is said to be “deferred.” A number of types of liabilities can be deferred, ranging from payments on loans to income taxes which must be paid. Deferred liabilities are accounted for in the accounting books to provide a more complete financial picture.
Deferred tax liability is a very common form of deferred liability. In this case, it is recognized in the books that extra tax liability is being incurred, but it is not paid at the time. There are lots of reasons why people might incur liability which remains unpaid, such as changes in accounting practices and tax rates, acceptance of credits which are not yet applied, and so forth. By recording the deferred liability in the books, an accountant can make sure that it is recorded so that it will not be a surprise when it comes due.
Debts in general, also known as liabilities because they represent a liability in someone's books, can be deferred for a number of reasons. Deferred payment may be structured into a debt, as for example when someone buys a new car and makes no payments for the first year, and changing circumstances may require renegotiation of the debt, including deferment of payments. As long as a debt is owed and not paid, it is considered a deferred liability.
Financing is one of the cornerstones of operations for businesses large and small as well as individuals. Incurring debt allows people to make investments which would otherwise not be accessible so that their companies and financial positions can grow. Without the ability to access credit, people would be limited to their cash on hand when it comes to making investments and this can be limiting.
The ability to defer debt and stagger payments is also important as it allows people to repay debt at a rate which is sustainable. Care must be taken to record deferred liabilities so that accounts are accurate, as failure to record a debt can make the books appear better than they are. With debts also come related expenses such as service charges, interest, and so forth. A deferred liability represents a business or personal liability which will be payable in the future.