|CUMMINS INC filed this Form 10-K on 02/11/2019|
We estimate and record a liability for base warranty programs at the time our products are sold. Our estimates are based on historical experience and reflect management's best estimates of expected costs at the time products are sold and subsequent adjustment to those expected costs when actual costs differ. As a result of the uncertainty surrounding the nature and frequency of product recall programs, the liability for such programs is recorded when we commit to a recall action or when a recall becomes probable and estimable, which generally occurs when it is announced. Our warranty liability is generally affected by component failure rates, repair costs and the point of failure within the product life cycle. Future events and circumstances related to these factors could materially change our estimates and require adjustments to our liability. New product launches require a greater use of judgment in developing estimates until historical experience becomes available. Product specific experience is typically available four or five quarters after product launch, with a clear experience trend evident eight quarters after launch. We generally record warranty expense for new products upon shipment using a preceding product's warranty history and a multiplicative factor based upon preceding similar product experience and new product assessment until sufficient new product data is available for warranty estimation. We then use a blend of actual new product experience and preceding product historical experience for several subsequent quarters, and new product specific experience thereafter. Note 9, "PRODUCT WARRANTY LIABILITY," to our Consolidated Financial Statements contains a summary of the activity in our warranty liability account for 2018, 2017 and 2016 including adjustments to pre-existing warranties.
Accounting for Income Taxes
We determine our income tax expense using the asset and liability method. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax effects of temporary differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax basis. Future tax benefits of net operating loss and credit carryforwards are also recognized as deferred tax assets. We evaluate the recoverability of our deferred tax assets each quarter by assessing the likelihood of future profitability and available tax planning strategies that could be implemented to realize our net deferred tax assets. At December 31, 2018, we recorded net deferred tax assets of $147 million. The assets included $340 million for the value of net operating loss and credit carryforwards. A valuation allowance of $327 million was recorded to reduce the tax assets to the net value management believed was more likely than not to be realized. In the event our operating performance deteriorates, future assessments could conclude that a larger valuation allowance will be needed to further reduce the deferred tax assets.
On December 22, 2017, the U.S. enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Legislation). The SEC issued guidance permitting final calculations to be completed within a one year measurement period ending December 22, 2018. We made provisional estimates of the effects on our existing deferred tax balances, the one-time transition tax and the withholding tax accrued on those earnings not permanently reinvested at December 31, 2017. As additional tax reform guidance was released during 2018, any provisional amounts were reported in income from continuing operations in the period in which tax reform guidance was issued. We have completed our accounting for the tax effects of the enactment of the Tax Legislation and included in our reporting the nature and amount of any measurement period adjustments recognized during 2018 and the effect of measurement period adjustments on the effective tax rate.
In addition, we operate within multiple taxing jurisdictions and are subject to tax audits in these jurisdictions. These audits can involve complex issues, which may require an extended period of time to resolve. We accrue for the estimated additional tax and interest that may result from tax authorities disputing uncertain tax positions. We have taken and we believe we have made adequate provisions for income taxes for all years that are subject to audit based upon the latest information available. A more complete description of our income taxes and the future benefits of our net operating loss and credit carryforwards is disclosed in Note 4, "INCOME TAXES," to our Consolidated Financial Statements.
We sponsor a number of pension plans globally, with the majority of assets in the U.S. and the U.K. In the U.S. and the U.K., we have several major defined benefit plans that are separately funded. We account for our pension programs in accordance with employers' accounting for defined benefit pension plans under GAAP. GAAP requires that amounts recognized in financial statements be determined using an actuarial basis. As a result, our pension benefit programs are based on a number of statistical and judgmental assumptions that attempt to anticipate future events and are used in calculating the expense and liability related to our plans each year at December 31. These assumptions include discount rates used to value liabilities, assumed rates of return on plan assets, future compensation increases, employee turnover rates, actuarial assumptions relating to retirement age, mortality rates and participant withdrawals. The actuarial assumptions we use may differ significantly from actual results due to changing economic conditions, participant life span and withdrawal rates. These differences may result in a material impact to the amount of net periodic pension cost to be recorded in our Consolidated Financial Statements in the future.