|MEDTRONIC PLC filed this Form 10-Q on 09/01/2017|
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES
We have used various accounting policies to prepare the consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Our most significant accounting policies are disclosed in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended April 28, 2017.
The preparation of the consolidated financial statements, in conformity with U.S. GAAP, requires us to use judgment in making estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenses. These estimates reflect our best judgment about economic and market conditions and the potential effects on the valuation and/or carrying value of assets and liabilities based upon relevant information available. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources.
Our critical accounting estimates include the following:
Revenue Recognition Rebates are estimated based on sales terms, historical experience, and trend analysis. In estimating rebates, we consider the lag time between the point of sale and the payment of the rebate claim, contractual commitments, including stated rebate rates, and other relevant information. We adjust reserves to reflect differences between estimated and actual experience and recognize such adjustment as a reduction of sales in the period of adjustment. Adjustments to recorded reserves have not been significant. Price adjustment rebates charged against gross sales for the three months ended July 28, 2017 and July 29, 2016 were $751 million and $736 million, respectively.
Litigation Contingencies We are involved in a number of legal actions involving product liability, intellectual property disputes, shareholder related matters, environmental proceedings, income tax disputes, and governmental proceedings and investigations. The outcomes of these legal actions are not within our complete control and may not be known for prolonged periods of time. In some actions, the enforcement agencies or private claimants seek damages, as well as other civil or criminal remedies (including injunctions barring the sale of products that are the subject of the proceeding), that could require significant expenditures or result in lost revenues or limit our ability to conduct business in the applicable jurisdictions. Estimates of probable losses resulting from litigation and governmental proceedings involving us are inherently difficult to predict, particularly when the matters are in early procedural stages, with incomplete scientific facts or legal discovery; involve unsubstantiated or indeterminate claims for damages; potentially involve penalties, fines, or punitive damages; or could result in a change in business practice. Our significant legal proceedings are discussed in Note 16 to the current period's consolidated financial statements. While it is not possible to predict the outcome for most of the matters discussed in Note 16 to the current period's consolidated financial statements, we believe it is possible that costs associated with these matters could have a material adverse impact on our consolidated earnings, financial position, and/or cash flows.
Income Tax Reserves We establish reserves when, despite our belief that our tax return positions are fully supportable, we believe that certain positions are likely to be challenged and that we may or may not prevail. Under U.S. GAAP, if we determine that a tax position is more likely than not of being sustained upon audit, based solely on the technical merits of the position, we recognize the benefit. We measure the benefit by determining the amount that is greater than 50 percent likely of being realized upon settlement. We presume that all tax positions will be examined by a taxing authority with full knowledge of all relevant information. The calculation of our tax liabilities involves dealing with uncertainties in the application of complex tax regulations in a multitude of jurisdictions across our global operations. We regularly monitor our tax positions and tax liabilities. We reevaluate the technical merits of our tax positions and recognize an uncertain tax benefit, or derecognize a previously recorded tax benefit, when there is (i) a completion of a tax audit, (ii) effective settlement of an issue, (iii) a change in applicable tax law including a tax case or legislative guidance, or (iv) an expiration of the statute of limitations. Significant judgment is required in accounting for tax reserves. Although we believe that we have adequately provided for liabilities resulting from tax assessments by taxing authorities, positions taken by these tax authorities could have a material impact on our effective tax rate, consolidated earnings, financial position and/or cash flows.
Valuation of Intangible Assets and Goodwill When we acquire a business, the assets acquired and liabilities assumed are recorded at their respective fair values at the acquisition date. Goodwill is the excess of the purchase price consideration over the estimated fair value of net assets of acquired businesses. Intangible assets include patents, trademarks, tradenames, customer relationships, purchased technology, and IPR&D. Determining the fair value of intangible assets acquired as part of a business combination requires us to make significant estimates. These estimates include the amount and timing of projected future cash flows of each project or technology, the discount rate used to discount those cash flows to present value, the assessment of the asset’s life cycle, and the consideration of legal, technical, regulatory, economic, and competitive risks.
The test for goodwill impairment requires us to make several estimates about fair value, most of which are based on projected future cash flows. Our estimates associated with the goodwill impairment test are considered critical due to the amount of goodwill recorded on our consolidated balance sheets and the judgment required in determining fair value, including projected future cash