Wednesday, November 07, 2007

General Motors $39 Billion Loss

GM reported a stunning $39 billion loss yesterday - which they attributed to SFAS 109 accounting requirements.

I would add FIN 48 to that list of causal reasons.

FIN 48, promulgated by the Mandarins at the FAS and the SEC, requires companies to describe in the footnotes to the financial statements any risky tax deductions they have claimed. In other words, companies are now signaling to the IRS exactly which items they should come audit. So, the intersection of SFAS 109 - which requires tests that future earnings are sufficient to allow deduction of prior year losses - plus FIN 48 - telegraphing risky positions, puts companies, and more particularly their boards of directors, in the position of taking a more conservative tax posture.

The real question is where else this will lead. My supposition is that companies broadly will be reporting higher tax rates - e.g. - lower earnings and earnings per share. I have my doubts that Wall St. financial analysts have adequately reflected higher taxes in their estimates.

No comments: