An exploration of the historical and theoretical underpinnings of the Last-In, First-Out method of accounting. It supports the thesis that the LIFO and its predecessors were invented only for tax purposes and that the LIFO is not a desired method of accounting for financial accounting purposes. The undesirability is demonstrated by the many strategems that have been used to present financial earnings on a different basis while using LIFO for tax purposes. The mechanics of LIFO are thoroughly illustrated, and several theoretical issues not debated in either the tax or financial accounting literature are raised. Because the work is prepared by academics who are indifferent to the outcomes that flow from present and proposed rules, the work has the opportunity to have significant influence on very different public policy.
Introduction to LIFO; specific goods method; dollar-value method - pools; dollar-value LIFO methods; simplified LIFO; the retail LIFO method; business acquisitions, division, and other changes; adoption of LIFO; vluntary changes in LIFO methods; the conformity requirement; terminations of LIFO elections; liquidations of LIFO inventories.