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Accounting News Roundup: DTAs NBD; Slowing Audit Fee Growth; South Dakota v. Wayfair | 01.17.18

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Citigroup Earnings Wiped Out by Tax Charge [WSJ]
The $22 billion write-down is eye-popping, sure, but it’s just a result of the company’s deferred tax asset being less valuable under the new tax law. (Citigroup’s DTA topped out at $55 billion.) The fact that this write-down wouldn’t have happened without the big write-downs from the financial crisis shouldn’t be lost on anyone, either. In the end, massive banks are happy taking hits to their DTAs for lower tax obligations in the future.

Related: “This is a very, very trivial problem to have, the opposite of a problem really.”

Audit fee increases show signs of abating [AT]
According to a survey compiled by Financial Executives International, fee growth from audits of public companies and nonprofits slowed down, while fee growth from private companies picked up the pace a bit. Assurance services really are the tortoise, aren’t they?

South Dakota v. Wayfair Is Here So We Can Finally Have A 21st-Century Tax System [ATL]
If you only read one SALT article all year, this should probably be the one. “[I]n the before times, businesses used to mail out catalogs to people who lived in the middle of nowhere, and those people would order products and mail them money, and then the company would mail them back the product. The whole process took, like, thousands of years and was massively inefficient. But, it was the way people who lived outside of cities got watches and brides and things.”

The Antitrust Case Against Facebook, Google and Amazon [WSJ]
They are the Standard Oil and American Telephone and Telegraph Co. of the day. “In the U.S., Alphabet Inc.’s Google drives 89% of internet search; 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook Inc. product; and Inc. now accounts for 75% of electronic book sales.”

Why Breaking Up General Electric May Be Hard to Do [NYT]
The sum is worth far more than the parts: “Separating businesses prevents them from endangering each other, which makes a breakup or separate listings for the group’s power, health care and aviation businesses a serious possibility. G.E. took a step in that direction last year by merging its oil and gas division with Baker Hughes. Yet analysts at Cowen reckon G.E.’s parts are worth no more than $15 a share, less than its current stock price, making the financial benefits questionable.”

Previously, on Going Concern…

I remarked on the breezy new PCAOB inspection reports.

From the archives: Mark Weinberger Is the Future Ernst & Young CEO. You Shut Up.

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