|12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2018
|Income Tax Disclosure [Abstract]
We are incorporated in Bermuda. Under current Bermuda law, we are not subject to tax on income and capital gains. We have received from the Minister of Finance under The Exempted Undertakings Tax Protection Act 1966, as amended, an assurance that, in the event that Bermuda enacts legislation imposing tax computed on profits, income, any capital asset, gain or appreciation, or any tax in the nature of estate duty or inheritance, then the imposition of any such tax shall not be applicable to us or to any of our operations or shares, debentures or other obligations, until March 31, 2035.
The components of net income before income taxes consist of the following (in thousands):
The components of the provision for income taxes consisted of the following (expense) benefit (in thousands):
Our reconciliation of income tax expense computed by applying our Bermuda statutory rate and reported income tax expense was as follows (in thousands):
Deferred tax assets and liabilities were as follows (in thousands):
We have U.S. net operating loss carryforwards of $278.3 million and $254.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively, which begin to expire in 2023. We have state net operating loss carryforwards of $4.8 million and $8.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively, which expire between 2025 through 2035.
Included above are deferred tax assets associated with our operations in Norway for which we have provided a full valuation allowance. We have Norway net operating loss carryforwards of $13.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, which can be carried forward indefinitely.
Included above are deferred tax assets associated with our branch operations in the U.K. for which we have provided a full valuation allowance. We have U.K. net operating loss carryforwards of $7.5 million and $8.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively, which can be carried forward indefinitely.
Included above are deferred tax assets associated with Prestige for which we have provided a full valuation allowance. We have U.S. net operating loss carryforwards of $177.5 million and $177.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively, which begin to expire in 2023. Utilization of the Prestige net operating loss carryforwards may be subject to a substantial annual limitation due to ownership change limitations that have occurred previously and/or that could occur in the future, as provided by Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (“Section 382”). Ownership changes may limit the amount of net operating loss carryforwards that can be utilized to offset future taxable income and tax, respectively. In general, an ownership change, as defined by Section 382, results from transactions increasing the ownership of certain shareholders or public groups in the stock of a corporation by more than 50 percentage points over a three-year period. If we have experienced an ownership change, utilization of Prestige’s net operating loss carryforwards would be subject to an annual limitation under Section 382. Any limitation may result in expiration of a portion of the net operating loss carryforwards before utilization. Subsequent ownership changes could further impact the limitation in future years. During 2018, we implemented certain tax restructuring that created the potential to utilize the net operating loss carryforwards referred to above. We are currently undergoing a Section 382 study to determine the amount of the Prestige net operating loss carryforwards that can be utilized against future taxable income, the result of which could potentially result in the reversal of all or a portion of the valuation allowance. We expect the study to be complete in the first half of 2019.
In December 2017, the Act was enacted, and among other provisions, reduced the U.S. federal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%. Also in December 2017, the SEC staff issued SAB No. 118, which addresses the recognition of provisional amounts when a company does not have the necessary information available, prepared or analyzed (including computations) in reasonable detail to complete its accounting for the effect of the changes in the Act. The measurement period ends when a company has obtained, prepared and analyzed the information necessary to finalize its accounting, but cannot extend beyond one year. The Company completed the accounting for the tax effects of enactment of the Act. There is no material change to the $7.4 million reduction of the value of net deferred tax liabilities (which represents future tax expenses) recorded in 2017 as a discrete tax benefit resulting from the federal corporate income tax rate reduction. Other aspects of the Act were either not applicable or did not have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.
The following is a tabular reconciliation of the total amounts of unrecognized tax benefits (in thousands):
In 2017, $10.7 million of unrecognized tax benefits were reversed due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. If the $0.5 million of unrecognized tax benefits at December 31, 2018 were recognized, our effective tax rate would be minimally affected. We believe that there will not be a significant increase or decrease to the tax positions within 12 months of the reporting date. We recognize interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax expense.
We file income tax returns in the U.S. federal jurisdiction, various U.S. state jurisdictions and foreign jurisdictions. We are generally no longer subject to U.S. federal, state and local, or non-U.S. income tax examinations by authorities for years prior to 2015, except for years in which NOLs generated prior to 2015 are utilized.
Due to our international structure as well as the existence of international tax treaties that exempt taxation on certain activities, the repatriation of earnings from our subsidiaries would have no tax impact.
We derive our income from the international operation of ships. We are engaged in a trade or business in the U.S. and receive income from sources within the U.S. Under Section 883, certain foreign corporations are exempt from U. S. federal income or branch profits tax on U.S.-source income derived from or incidental to the international operation of ships. Applicable U.S. treasury regulations provide that a foreign corporation will qualify for the benefits of Section 883 if, in relevant part: (i) the foreign country in which the corporation is organized grants an equivalent exemption for income from the international operation of ships to corporations organized in the U.S., and (ii) the foreign corporation has one or more classes of stock that are “primarily and regularly traded on an established securities market” in the U.S. or another qualifying country. We believe that we qualify for the benefits of Section 883 because we are incorporated in qualifying countries and our ordinary shares are primarily and regularly traded on an established securities market in the U.S.