|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2018|
Emission allowances held-for-sale, which are included in other non-current assets on the Company's consolidated balance sheet, are not amortized; they are carried at the lower of cost or fair value and reviewed for impairment in accordance with ASC 360.
In accordance with ASC 350, the Company recognizes goodwill for the excess cost of an acquired entity over the net value assigned to assets acquired and liabilities assumed. NRG performs goodwill impairment tests annually, during the fourth quarter, and when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value may not be recoverable.
The Company first assesses qualitative factors to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount. The more-likely-than-not threshold is defined as having a likelihood of more than 50 percent. If it is not more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount, there is no goodwill impairment.
In the absence of sufficient qualitative factors, the Company performs a quantitative assessment by determining the fair value of the reporting unit and comparing the fair value to its book value. If the fair value of the reporting unit exceeds its book value, goodwill of the reporting unit is not considered impaired. If the book value exceeds fair value, the Company recognizes an impairment loss equal to the difference between book value and fair value.
For further discussion of goodwill and goodwill impairment losses recognized during 2017 and 2016, refer to Note 11, Goodwill and Other Intangibles.
The Company accounts for income taxes using the liability method in accordance with ASC 740, which requires that the Company use the asset and liability method of accounting for deferred income taxes and provide deferred income taxes for all significant temporary differences.
The Company has two categories of income tax expense or benefit — current and deferred, as follows:
The Company reports some of its revenues and expenses differently for financial statement purposes than for income tax return purposes, resulting in temporary and permanent differences between the Company's financial statements and income tax returns. The tax effects of such temporary differences are recorded as either deferred income tax assets or deferred income tax liabilities in the Company's consolidated balance sheets. The Company measures its deferred income tax assets and deferred income tax liabilities using income tax rates that are currently in effect. The Company believes it is more likely than not that the results of future operations will generate sufficient taxable income which includes the future reversal of existing taxable temporary differences to realize deferred tax assets, net of valuation allowances. In arriving at this conclusion to utilize projections of future profit before tax in its estimate of future taxable income, including the potential impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act legislation, or the Tax Act, the Company considered the profit before tax generated in recent years. A valuation allowance is recorded to reduce the Company's net deferred tax assets to an amount that is more-likely-than-not to be realized.
The Company reduces its current income tax expense in the consolidated statement of operations for any investment tax credits, or ITCs, that are not convertible into cash grants, as well as other tax credits, in the period the tax credit is generated. ITCs that are convertible into cash grants, as well as the deferred income tax benefit generated by the difference in the financial statement and tax basis of the related assets, are recorded as a reduction to the carrying value of the underlying property and subsequently amortized to earnings on a straight-line basis over the useful life of each underlying property.
The Company accounts for uncertain tax positions in accordance with ASC 740, which applies to all tax positions related to income taxes. Under ASC 740, tax benefits are recognized when it is more-likely-than-not that a tax position will be sustained upon examination by the authorities. The benefit recognized from a position that has surpassed the more-likely-than-not threshold is the largest amount of benefit that is more than 50% likely to be realized upon settlement. The Company recognizes interest and penalties accrued related to uncertain tax benefits as a component of income tax expense.
In accordance with ASC 805 and as discussed further in Note 19, Income Taxes, changes to existing net deferred tax assets or valuation allowances or changes to uncertain tax benefits, are recorded to income tax expense.