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Tax Reform 2018: Explained

There has been a lot of talk about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) since it was signed into law. Most of the focus has been on how the new tax reform will impact tax planning and projections for individuals and companies. Financial reporting will also be affected in a major way. It’s important to consider whether you and your team are ready for the transition.

Key highlights of the TCJA tax reform that will impact financial statements include:

  • The reduction of the federal rate from 35 percent to 21 percent
  • Limitations on the deductibility of interest
  • Changes to the expensing of business assets
  • Deemed repatriation of foreign earnings
  • Alternative minimum tax repeal
  • Limitations on net operating loss (NOL) carryforwards
  • Repeal of the domestic production activities (DPAD) deduction
  • Elimination of the deduction for business entertainment expenses
  • Changes to the corporate dividends received deduction

Breaking it down.

These changes, as well as limitations on or the elimination of several other deductions and credits, mean big changes. They will have a significant impact on the calculation of deferred tax assets and liabilities and disclosures in C corporation financial statements.

Many publicly traded companies announced substantial impacts due to these changes, but they aren’t the only ones affected. The new tax reform will affect public and private corporations of all sizes.

Some corporations did not yet have enough information to make complete calculations for their 2017 deferred tax assets and liabilities. In that case, the SEC permitted the use of accounting estimates. However, the SEC bulletin permitting those estimates also stated that companies cannot take more than a year from the TCJA’s effective date to complete those calculations. Therefore, the clock is ticking. All companies must gather the data necessary for calculations and disclosures for financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2018.

Recording the impact of the change in the tax law will take work. Accounting and tax software packages will need to be upgraded, as will existing processes and controls. Help may be needed from subject-matter experts to train employees or provide guidance on the scope of the project. Additional time must also be spent with external auditors. Some companies will even have to hire additional finance, accounting, corporate tax and internal audit talent.

Staffing and hiring concerns.

Is your accounting and finance team ready to handle this challenging period of transition? Many organizations, already understaffed due to the shortage of accounting and finance talent, are feeling a crunch just keeping up with day-to-day duties while implementing new accounting standards for revenue recognition and leases. Navigating the changes associated with the TCJA piles on work at an already trying time.

To help you through the transition, we’ve created a white paper summarizing the changes mentioned above and how they may impact corporate financial statements. And in case you need to hire additional staff to handle the increased workload, we’ve provided tips to help your organization gain a competitive advantage in the competition for accounting and finance talent. Our research can help you find (and keep) the right talent, rise to the challenges presented by the TCJA and see your accounting and finance department through tax reform and beyond.

Author

Accounting Principals

We're Accounting Principals--a leader in finance and accounting staffing. In fact, since 2010, we've been part of Adecco Group, a Global 500 company and leader in staffing services around the world. But this isn't staffing as usual. We take quite a different approach than most staffing agencies. A people-focused approach. We believe in forming real relationships with both our clients and our candidates. We want to understand the needs on both sides.

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