Friday, March 22, 2019
Our New Master Class Video

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Tech Data’s Goodwill Adjustment

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
There’s Taxes, and There’s Taxes

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Adventures in Tax Cuts and Net Income

Monday, March 11, 2019
Big Moves in Goodwill, Intangible Value

Friday, March 8, 2019
CVS, Goodwill, and Enterprise Value

Thursday, February 28, 2019
Summary of Our Goodwill Research/ How-To

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
What Does ‘Other’ Mean? An Example

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Another Tale, Buried in the Footnotes

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Low Latency Calcbench

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Now Streaming on Hulu: Red Ink

Thursday, February 7, 2019
Early Look at 2018 Tax Decline

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
You Revised WHAT, Netflix?

Thursday, January 31, 2019
Talking About Huawei Exposure

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Another Discrepancy in Reported Numbers

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Finding Revised Facts: Hertz Edition

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
GE Commercial Aviation Services: Bringing Numbers to Light

Monday, January 21, 2019
Differences in Earnings Releases and 10-Ks

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
The Importance of Textual Analysis

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
A Look at Climate Change Disclosures

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A certain presidential candidate has been in the news lately for the $916 million business loss he recorded in 1995, allowing him to avoid paying federal taxes potentially for another 18 years thanks to net operating loss carryforwards.

While Calcbench takes no official view on the merits of Donald Trump’s candidacy, this particular episode of the campaign led us to wonder what other companies have claimed for NOLs lately, and how large their tax benefits might be. As always, the Calcbench databases made answering that question a breeze. Let’s take a look.

We begin at the Data Query page, and we’ll set our peer group to be the S&P 500, looking at NOLs for calendar year 2015. To set that as our search parameter, we scroll halfway down the page to the Footnotes section, and press “Tax” to show our footnote choices there. Under the tax category another checklist of choices appears, and the 12th one down is “Deferred Tax Assets, Net.” Immediately under that choice is “Deferred Tax Assets Operating Loss Carryforwards.”

That’s our box. Check it, then jump to the bottom of the page to export the findings to Excel.

In total, the S&P 500 claimed $277.4 billion in NOLs last year. More than 80 percent of the companies (406 of 498) claimed at least some NOL, and the Top 10 by dollar amount are as follows:

We can also put Trump’s $915 million loss into more context. Adjusted for inflation, that loss in 1995 would equal about $1.44 billion today. A loss that large would rank him No. 52 on our list of 2015 losses, right between Baxter International ($1.489 billion) and Cisco Systems ($1.437 billion).

We’ve also seen several media reports that Trump’s $915 million loss accounted for 1.9 percent of all net operating losses in Corporate America that year. Our databases don’t go back that far, so we can’t confirm that number. But again, for context: AIG’s $12.2 billion loss last year accounts for 4.4 percent of all losses in the S&P 500, Micron Technology’s $11.2 billion loss accounts for 4 percent.

A loss equal to 1.9 percent of all $277.4 billion claimed last year would be roughly $5.27 billion, and only squeak into the 10th spot on our Top 10 list—large, yes, but not yuuuuge.

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