Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

NOTE 16

INCOME TAXES

The components of Income Before Provision for Income Taxes, Discontinued Operations, Extraordinary Item and Cumulative Effect of Accounting Change are as follows:

(dollars in millions)

Years Ended December 31,

2007

 

2006

 

2005

 

Domestic

$

8,508

 

$

7,000

 

$

7,707

 

Foreign

 

984

 

 

1,154

 

 

741

 

 

$

9,492

 

$

8,154

 

$

8,448

 

The components of the provision for income taxes from continuing operations are as follows:

(dollars in millions)

Years Ended December 31,

2007

 

2006

 

2005

 

Current

Federal

$

2,568

 

$

2,364

 

$

2,772

 

Foreign

 

461

 

 

141

 

 

81

 

State and local

 

545

 

 

421

 

 

661

 

 

 

3,574

 

 

2,926

 

 

3,514

 

 

Deferred

Federal

 

397

 

 

(9

)

 

(844

)

Foreign

 

66

 

 

(45

)

 

(55

)

State and local

 

(48

)

 

(191

)

 

(187

)

 

 

415

 

 

(245

)

 

(1,086

)

Investment tax credits

 

(7

)

 

(7

)

 

(7

)

Total income tax expense

$

3,982

 

$

2,674

 

$

2,421

 

The following table shows the principal reasons for the difference between the effective income tax rate and the statutory federal income tax rate:

Years Ended December 31,

2007

 

2006

 

2005

 

Statutory federal income tax rate

 

35.0

%

 

35.0

%

 

35.0

%

Distributions from foreign investments

 

5.9

 

 

 

 

2.0

 

State and local income tax, net of federal

tax benefits

 

3.4

 

 

1.8

 

 

3.6

 

Tax benefits from investment losses

 

(0.8

)

 

(0.9

)

 

(4.5

)

Equity in earnings from unconsolidated

businesses

 

(2.3

)

 

(3.8

)

 

(3.5

)

Other, net

 

0.8

 

 

0.7

 

 

(3.9

)

Effective income tax rate

 

42.0

%

 

32.8

%

 

28.7

%

The effective income tax rate is the provision for income taxes as a percentage of income from continuing operations before the provision for income taxes. The effective income tax rate in 2007 compared to 2006 was higher primarily due to recording $610 million of foreign and domestic taxes and expenses specifically relating to our share of Vodafone Omnitel’s distributable earnings. Verizon received a net distribution from Vodafone Omnitel in December 2007 of approximately $2.1 billion and anticipates that it may receive an additional distribution from Vodafone Omnitel within the next twelve months. The 2007 rate was also increased due to higher state taxes in 2007 as compared to 2006, as well as greater benefits from foreign operations in 2006 compared to 2007. These increases were partially offset by lower expenses recorded for unrecognized tax benefits in 2007 as compared to 2006.

Our effective income tax rate in 2006 was higher than 2005 primarily as a result of favorable tax settlements and the recognition of capital loss carry forwards in 2005. These increases were partially offset by tax benefits from foreign operations and lower state taxes in 2006 compared to 2005.

Deferred taxes arise because of differences in the book and tax bases of certain assets and liabilities. Significant components of deferred tax are shown in the following table:

(dollars in millions)

At December 31,

2007

 

2006

 

Employee benefits

$

7,067

 

$

7,788

 

Tax loss carry forwards

 

2,868

 

 

2,994

 

Uncollectible accounts receivable

 

400

 

 

455

 

Other — assets

 

422

 

 

903

 

 

 

10,757

 

 

12,140

 

Valuation allowance

 

(2,671

)

 

(2,600

)

Deferred tax assets

 

8,086

 

 

9,540

 

 

Former MCI intercompany accounts receivable

basis difference

 

1,977

 

 

2,003

 

Depreciation

 

7,045

 

 

7,617

 

Leasing activity

 

2,307

 

 

2,674

 

Wireless joint venture including wireless licenses

 

11,634

 

 

12,177

 

Other — liabilities

 

349

 

 

2,493

 

Deferred tax liabilities

 

23,312

 

 

26,964

 

Net deferred tax liability

$

15,226

 

$

17,424

 

Employee benefits deferred tax assets include $4,929 million and $5,590 million at December 31, 2007 and 2006, respectively, recognized in accordance with SFAS No. 158 (see Notes 1 and 15).

At December 31, 2007, undistributed earnings of our foreign subsidiaries indefinitely invested outside of the United States amounted to approximately $900 million. We have not provided deferred taxes on these earnings because we intend that they will remain indefinitely invested outside of the United States. Determination of the amount of unrecognized deferred taxes related to these undistributed earnings is not practical.

At December 31, 2007, we had net operating loss carry forwards for income tax purposes of approximately $3,600 million, expiring through 2026 in various foreign, state and local jurisdictions. The amount of tax loss carry forwards reflected as a deferred tax asset above has been reduced by approximately $1,017 million due to federal and state tax law limitations on utilization of net operating losses.

During 2007, the valuation allowance increased $71 million. Under current accounting guidelines, approximately $2.0 billion of the valuation allowance, if recognized, would be recorded as a reduction of goodwill.

FASB Interpretation No. 48

Effective January 1, 2007, we adopted FIN 48, which prescribes the recognition, measurement and disclosure standards for uncertainties in income tax positions. See Note 1 for a discussion of the impact to Verizon of adopting this new accounting pronouncement.

A reconciliation of the beginning and ending balance of unrecognized tax benefits is as follows:

(dollars in millions)

 

Balance at January 1, 2007

$

2,958

 

Additions based on tax positions related to the current year

 

141

 

Additions for tax positions of prior years

 

291

 

Reductions for tax positions of prior years

 

(420

)

Settlements

 

(11

)

Lapses of statutes of limitations

 

(76

)

Balance at December 31, 2007

$

2,883

 

Included in the total unrecognized tax benefits at December 31, 2007 is $1,245 million that, if recognized, would favorably affect the effective income tax rate. The remaining unrecognized tax benefits relate to temporary items that would not affect the effective income tax rate and uncertain tax positions resulting from prior acquisitions which, pursuant to current purchase accounting tax rules, would adjust goodwill.

We recognize any interest and penalties accrued related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax expense. During the year ended December 31, 2007, we recognized approximately $154 million (after-tax) for the payment of interest and penalties. We had approximately $598 million (after-tax) and $444 million (after-tax) for the payment of interest and penalties accrued in the balance sheet at December 31, 2007 and January 1, 2007, respectively.

Verizon or one of its subsidiaries files income tax returns in the U.S. federal jurisdiction, and various state, local and foreign jurisdictions. The Company is generally no longer subject to U.S. federal, state and local, or non-U.S. income tax examinations by tax authorities for years before 2000. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is currently examining the Company’s U.S. income tax returns for years 2000 through 2003. As a large taxpayer, we are under continual audit by the IRS and other taxing authorities on numerous open tax positions. It is possible that the amount of the liability for unrecognized tax benefits could change by a significant amount during the next twelve month period. An estimate of the range of the possible change cannot be made until issues are further developed or examinations close.