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|CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. /MO/ filed this Form 10-Q on 10/26/2017|
CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
(dollars in millions, except per share amounts and where indicated)
a multiemployer pension plan.
Gain on sale of assets, net
Gain on sale of assets, net represents the net gain recognized on the sales and disposals of fixed assets and cable systems.
12. Income Taxes
Substantially all of the Company’s operations are held through Charter Holdings and its direct and indirect subsidiaries. Charter Holdings and the majority of its subsidiaries are limited liability companies that are generally not subject to income tax. However, certain of these limited liability companies are subject to state income tax. In addition, the subsidiaries that are corporations are subject to income tax. Generally, the taxable income, gains, losses, deductions and credits of Charter Holdings are passed through to its members, Charter and A/N. Charter is responsible for its share of taxable income or loss of Charter Holdings allocated to it in accordance with the Charter Holdings Limited Liability Company Agreement (“LLC Agreement”) and partnership tax rules and regulations. As a result, Charter's primary deferred tax component recorded in the consolidated balance sheets relates to its excess financial reporting outside basis, excluding amounts attributable to nondeductible goodwill, over Charter's tax basis in the investment in Charter Holdings.
For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, the Company recorded income tax expense of $26 million and $99 million, respectively. Income tax expense is generally recognized through increases in deferred tax liabilities as well as through current federal and state income tax expense. Income tax expense for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017 was reduced by approximately $17 million and $88 million, respectively, due to the recognition of excess tax benefits resulting from share based compensation as a component of the provision for income taxes following the prospective application of Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) No. 2016-09, Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting (“ASU 2016-09”). Upon adoption of ASU 2016-09 on January 1, 2017, the Company recognized excess tax benefits of approximately $136 million in deferred tax assets that were previously not recognized in a cumulative-effect adjustment to retained earnings. See Note 19.
For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016, the Company recorded income tax expense of $16 million and income tax benefit of $3.1 billion, respectively. The income tax benefit for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 was primarily the result of a reduction of substantially all of Legacy Charter's preexisting valuation allowance associated with its deferred tax assets of approximately $3.3 billion as certain of the deferred tax liabilities that were assumed in connection with the closing of the TWC Transaction will reverse and provide a source of future taxable income. This tax benefit was partially offset by the tax effect of permanent differences for estimated nondeductible transaction costs and noncontrolling interest expense, a decrease to the anticipated blended state rate applied to Legacy Charter deferred tax balances as a result of the Transactions, and prior to the closing of the Transactions, increases (decreases) in deferred tax liabilities related to Charter’s franchises which are characterized as indefinite-lived for book financial reporting purposes.
Charter Holdings, the indirect owner of the Company’s cable systems, generally allocates its taxable income, gains, losses, deductions and credits proportionately according to the members’ respective ownership interests, except for special allocations required under Section 704(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and the Treasury Regulations (“Section 704(c)”). Pursuant to Section 704(c) and the LLC Agreement, each item of income, gain, loss and deduction with respect to any property contributed to the capital of the partnership shall, solely for tax purposes, be allocated among the members so as to take into account any variation between the adjusted basis of such property to the partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and its initial gross asset value using the “traditional method” as described in the Treasury Regulations.
In determining the Company’s tax provision for financial reporting purposes, the Company establishes a reserve for uncertain tax positions unless such positions are determined to be “more likely than not” of being sustained upon examination, based on their technical merits. There is considerable judgment involved in making such a determination. The Company has recorded unrecognized tax benefits totaling approximately $171 million and $172 million, excluding interest and penalties, as of September 30, 2017 and December 31, 2016, respectively. The Company does not currently anticipate that its reserve for uncertain tax positions will significantly increase or decrease during 2017; however, various events could cause the Company’s current expectations to change in the future. These uncertain tax positions, if ever recognized in the financial statements, would be recorded in the consolidated statements of operations as part of the income tax provision.