Tax Bill Forces Barclays to Take $1.2B Charge

The bank is joining other companies that are writing down the value of their deferred tax assets in the wake of the U.S. legislation.
Matthew HellerDecember 27, 2017

Barclays has joined the list of companies that are taking major writedowns because the U.S. tax cut bill has decreased the value of their deferred tax assets.

The British bank announced Wednesday it expects the value of its DTAs to decline by $1 billion pounds ($1.34 billion) as a result of the reduction in the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.

“This aggregate reduction in the measurement of U.S. DTAs is expected to result in an associated one-off charge of 1 billion pounds to group profit after tax,” Barclays said in a news release.

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While the corporate tax cut is expected to be favorable for companies in the long term, it is having a near-term negative impact on companies that have been carrying deferred tax assets on their balance sheets.

“Under previous tax laws some of the biggest names in corporate America have been able to cut their tax bills significantly by using past losses to offset future profits,” The Financial Times explained. “However, the Republican-led legislation to cut the corporate tax rate has forced the institutions to reassess the accounting value of their deferred tax assets.”

Shell said Wednesday it expects to take a $2 billion to $2.5 billion charge against the accounting value of its DTAs. Credit Suisse is planning a $2.3 billion writedown while five of the U.S. financial institutions that endured huge losses in the financial crisis — Bank of America, Citigroup, AIG, and mortgage groups Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — will be forced to take writedowns totaling almost $50 billion.

Barclays already slumped to a 628 million pound ($839.6 million) attributable loss in the nine months to the end of September following write-offs in the wake of its exit from Africa. The writedown announced Wednesday is a record for the bank and could push it further into the red.

The bank also said the reduction in the value of its DTA would cause a drop of about 20 basis points in its common equity Tier 1 capital ratio, a key measure of its financial strength.