Technology giant Apple Inc. (AAPL) and major pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc. (PFE) could enjoy one-time tax windfalls of $7.9 billion and $5.3 billion, respectively, as a result of President Donald Trump's push to cut taxes on foreign earnings, according to Bloomberg. However, other major companies, including Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) and Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK), might experience one-time earnings hits. (For more, see also: Can Trump Tax Plan Bring Back Overseas Cash?)
Apple and Pfizer could rake in billions because they established deferred-tax liabilities in anticipation of any taxes they might owe on earnings held overseas, Bloomberg reported. Trump has proposed cutting the tax rate on these earnings to 10% as part of his plan to overhaul corporate taxes, according to a separate Bloomberg article.
Should Washington lawmakers cut the tax rate on these earnings to 10%, Apple and Pfizer could simply pay a lower tax bill and then adjust their balance sheets, according to the first Bloomberg piece. However, some companies have created smaller deferred tax liabilities, potentially leaving them open to significant tax bills. Microsoft might suffer a $11.7 billion reduction in earnings. Exxon Mobil and Merck could pay as much as $5.4 billion and $5.1 billion, respectively.
"A Massive Benefit"
Companies that have already created deferred significant tax liabilities for their offshore earnings would receive "a massive benefit" from the aforementioned accounting adjustments, Ronald Graziano, a director and global accounting strategist at Credit Suisse Group AG, told Bloomberg. However, he emphasized that while these adjustments would bolster earnings per share, they would not be tied to any improvement in business fundamentals. (For more, see also: The 5 Types Of Earnings Per Share.)