1. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Introduction
  2. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Profit Margin Analysis
  3. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Effective Tax Rate
  4. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Return On Assets
  5. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Return On Equity
  6. Profitability Indicator Ratios: Return On Capital Employed

By Richard Loth (Contact | Biography)

This ratio is a measurement of a company's tax rate, which is calculated by comparing its income tax expense to its pretax income. This amount will often differ from the company's stated jurisdictional rate due to many accounting factors, including foreign exchange provisions. This effective tax rate gives a good understanding of the tax rate the company faces.

Formula:

Components:


As of December 31, 2005, with amounts expressed in millions, Zimmer Holdings had a provision for income taxes in its income statement of $307.30 (income statement), and pretax income of $1,040.70 (income statement). By dividing, the equation gives us an effective tax rate of 29.5% for FY 2005.

Variations:
None

Commentary:
The variances in this percentage can have a material effect on the net-income figure.

Peer company comparisons of net profit margins can be problematic as a result of the impact of the effective tax rate on net profit margins. The same can be said of year-over-year comparisons for the same company. This circumstance is one of the reasons some financial analysts prefer to use the operating or pretax profit figures instead of the net profit number for profitability ratio calculation purposes.

One could argue that any event that improves a company's net profit margin is a good one. However, from a quality of earnings perspective, tax management maneuverings (while certainly legitimate) are less desirable than straight-forward positive operational results.

For example, Zimmer Holdings' effective tax rates have been erratic over the three years reported in their 2005 income statement. From 33.6% in 2003, down to 25.9% in 2004 and back up to 29.5% in 2005. Obviously, this tax provision volatility makes an objective judgment of its true, or operational, net profit performance difficult to determine.

Tax management techniques to lessen the tax burden are practiced, to one degree or another, by many companies. Nevertheless, a relatively stable effective tax rate percentage, and resulting net profit margin, would seem to indicate that the company's operational managers are more responsible for a company's profitability than the company's tax accountants.

Profitability Indicator Ratios: Return On Assets

Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    Calculating Net of Tax

    Net of tax is a figure that has been adjusted for taxes.
  2. Taxes

    What's a Marginal Tax Rate?

    The marginal tax rate is based on a progressive tax system, where tax rates for an individual will increase as income rises. This method of taxation aims to fairly tax individuals based upon ...
  3. Investing

    Understanding the Income Statement

    The best way to analyze a company—and figure out if it's worth investing in—is to know how to dissect its income statement. Here's how to do it.
  4. Taxes

    Why America's Taxes Are Too Low

    The solution to America's economic woes may not be in lowering taxes further, but may, in fact, lie in increasing them.
  5. Taxes

    How Do Apple's Taxes Compare to Other Tech Giants? (AAPL)

    Analyze Apple's recent tax history to determine how geographic sales mix, foreign profit reinvestment and tax credits are influencing tax rates versus peers.
  6. Taxes

    Comparing Regressive, Proportional and Progressive Taxes

    Learn about the basic differences between three common tax systems.
  7. Taxes

    How Much Tax Do You Really Pay?

    When you add direct and indirect taxes together, your real tax rate is much more than you expected.
  8. Taxes

    Do Tax Cuts Stimulate The Economy?

    Learn the logic behind the belief that reducing government income benefits everyone.
  9. Taxes

    Highest Corporate Taxes By Sector

    The amount a U.S. company pays in tax depends upon the sector it is in.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Depreciation Can Shield Taxes, Bolster Cash Flow

    Depreciation can be used as a tax-deductible expense to reduce tax costs, bolstering cash flow
  2. What schools did Warren Buffett attend on his way to getting his science and economics degrees?

    Learn how Warren Buffett became so successful through his attendance at multiple prestigious schools and his real-world experiences.
  3. How many attempts at each CFA exam is a candidate permitted?

    The CFA Institute allows an individual an unlimited amount of attempts at each examination.Although you can attempt the examination ...
  4. What's the average salary of a market research analyst?

    Learn about average stock market analyst salaries in the U.S. and different factors that affect salaries and overall levels ...
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Depreciation Can Shield Taxes, Bolster Cash Flow

    Depreciation can be used as a tax-deductible expense to reduce tax costs, bolstering cash flow
  2. What schools did Warren Buffett attend on his way to getting his science and economics degrees?

    Learn how Warren Buffett became so successful through his attendance at multiple prestigious schools and his real-world experiences.
  3. How many attempts at each CFA exam is a candidate permitted?

    The CFA Institute allows an individual an unlimited amount of attempts at each examination.Although you can attempt the examination ...
  4. What's the average salary of a market research analyst?

    Learn about average stock market analyst salaries in the U.S. and different factors that affect salaries and overall levels ...