|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2019
(10) Income Taxes
On December 22, 2017, the U.S. government enacted the Tax Act. The Tax Act made broad and complex changes to the U.S. tax code, the most significant of which was a reduction to the U.S. federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. The Company reflected the income tax effects of the Tax Act for which the accounting was known as of December 31, 2017 and made immaterial revisions to such amounts during the allowed one year measurement period. As of December 31, 2018, the Company had completed its analysis of the tax effects of the Tax Act.
The corporate rate reduction was applied to our inventory of deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities which resulted in the net tax benefit in the period ended December 31, 2017.
Income tax benefit (expense) consists of:
The following table presents a summary of our domestic and foreign earnings from continuing operations before income taxes:
Income tax benefit (expense) differs from the amounts computed by applying the U.S. federal income tax rate of 21% in 2019 and 2018 and 35% in 2017 as a result of the following:
For the year ended December 31, 2019 income tax benefit was greater than the U.S. statutory rate of 21% due to tax benefits from tax credits and incentives generated by our alternative energy investments and tax benefits from losses generated in 2019 that were eligible for carryback to tax years with federal income tax rates greater than the U.S. statutory tax rate of 21%, partially offset by a goodwill impairment that is not deductible for tax purposes and an increase in the valuation allowance against certain deferred tax assets.
For the year ended December 31, 2018 income tax expense was lower than the U.S. statutory rate of 21% due to tax benefits from tax credits and incentives generated by our alternative energy investments, a reduction in the Company’s state effective tax rate used to measure deferred taxes resulting from the GCI Liberty Split-Off in March 2018, and a reduction in the Company’s state effective tax rate used to measure deferred taxes resulting from a state law change during the second quarter.
For the year ended December 31, 2017 the significant reconciling items were net tax benefits for the effect of the change in the U.S. federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%on deferred taxes, the tax-free consolidation of our equity method investment in HSN, and tax benefits derived from Qurate Retail’s alternative energy tax credits and incentives, partially offset by net tax expense for an increase in the Company’s valuation allowance and an increase in the Company’s state effective tax rate used to measure deferred taxes.
The tax effects of temporary differences that give rise to significant portions of the deferred income tax assets and deferred income tax liabilities are presented below:
The Company's valuation allowance increased $51 million in 2019, and all of which affected tax expense.
At December 31, 2019, the Company has a deferred tax asset of $314 million for net operating losses, credit carryforwards, and interest expense carryforwards. If not utilized to reduce income tax liabilities in future periods, $262 million of these loss carryforwards and tax credits will expire at various times between 2020 and 2039. The remaining $52 million of tax losses and carryforwards may be carried forward indefinitely. These losses and credit carryforwards are expected to be utilized prior to expiration, except for $126 million.
At December 31, 2019, the Company had a deferred tax asset of $154 million for foreign tax credit carryforwards. If not utilized to reduce income tax liabilities in future periods, these foreign tax credits carryforwards will expire at various times between 2022 and 2029. The Company estimates that $79 million of its foreign tax credit carryforward will expire without utilization.
A reconciliation of unrecognized tax benefits is as follows:
As of December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, the Company had recorded tax reserves of $75 million, $70 million and $71 million, respectively, related to unrecognized tax benefits for uncertain tax positions. If such tax benefits were to be recognized for financial statement purposes, $61 million, $56 million and $60 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively, would be reflected in the Company's tax expense and affect its effective tax rate. Qurate Retail's estimate of its unrecognized tax benefits related to uncertain tax positions requires a high degree of judgment. The Company has tax positions for which the amount of related unrecognized tax benefits could change during 2019. The amount of unrecognized tax benefits related to these issues could change as a result of potential settlements, lapsing of statute of limitations and revisions of estimates. It is reasonably possible that the amount of the Company's gross unrecognized tax benefits may increase within the next twelve months by up to $2 million.
As of December 31, 2019, the Company's tax years prior to 2016 are closed for federal income tax purposes, and the IRS has completed its examination of the Company's 2016 and 2017 tax years. The Company's 2018 and 2019 tax years are being examined currently as part of the IRS's Compliance Assurance Process ("CAP") program. Various states are currently examining the Company's prior years’ state income tax returns. The Company is not under audit in any foreign tax jurisdictions.
The Company recorded $23 million of accrued interest and penalties related to uncertain tax positions as of December 31, 2019, $20 million as of December 31, 2018 and $17 million as of December 31, 2017.
The entire disclosure for income taxes. Disclosures may include net deferred tax liability or asset recognized in an enterprise's statement of financial position, net change during the year in the total valuation allowance, approximate tax effect of each type of temporary difference and carryforward that gives rise to a significant portion of deferred tax liabilities and deferred tax assets, utilization of a tax carryback, and tax uncertainties information.
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef