My Mistake or Tesla’s

Take a look at the following graph:

http://xbrl.mybluemix.net/show/5bb9826826809a63184d9438ff8b66b2

We can see right away that something weird may be going on, there are two values at exactly the same time period. DeferredTaxAssetsNet can’t be two different values at the same time can it? Using the “Show XML” link on the two data points shows that Tesla’s 2012 10-K had the following:

<context id="eol_PE665410--1210-K0016_STD_0_20121231_0">
	<entity>
		<identifier scheme="http://www.sec.gov/CIK">
			0001318605
		</identifier>
	</entity>
	<period>
		<instant>
			2012-12-31
		</instant>
	</period>
</context>

<us-gaap:DeferredTaxAssetsNet 
contextRef="eol_PE665410--1210-K0016_STD_0_20121231_0" 
unitRef="iso4217_USD" 
decimals="-3" 
id="id_241467_82B22C37-AFA1-40BD-A569-D2FEA93C0951_1_8">
	387997000
</us-gaap:DeferredTaxAssetsNet>

Following on that, Tesla’s 2013 10-K had this instead:

<context id="eol_PE665410--1310-K0010_STD_0_20121231_0">
	<entity>
		<identifier scheme="http://www.sec.gov/CIK">
			0001318605
		</identifier>
	</entity>
	<period>
		<instant>
			2012-12-31
		</instant>
	</period>
</context>

<us-gaap:DeferredTaxAssetsNet 
contextRef="eol_PE665410--1310-K0010_STD_0_20121231_0" 
unitRef="iso4217_USD" 
decimals="-3" 
id="id_4522937_93BCB9A5-8733-4C68-82F8-C674BDB934EE_2_12">
16527000
</us-gaap:DeferredTaxAssetsNet>

It’s important to note that the first filing uses US-GAAP 2012, while the latter uses US-GAAP 2013. Is this the reason? Maybe DeferredTaxAssetsNet is calculated differently in the two systems? I’m not enough of an accountant to know. On the other hand maybe Tesla made some kind of mistake in reporting the value for the previous year when they were filing their 2013 10-K. On the other other hand maybe this data isn’t meant to be time contiguous and it doesn’t make sense to display it this way?

Anyone who knows please chime in.

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My Mistake or Tesla’s

One thought on “My Mistake or Tesla’s

  1. Charles Hoffman was nice enough to look into this for me. Long story short the 2013 filing contains the following footnote:

    “We have revised our deferred tax assets as of December 31, 2012 to correct immaterial errors. Such revisions did not change the amount of deferred tax assets, net of valuation allowance and deferred tax liabilities presented in the prior year.”

    He admits it’s rather odd, but certainly not prohibited.

    A time series graph of this data is still nice, because it gives a quick visual indication that something odd has happened, not requiring you to read through prose to find out. On the other hand the graph is not strictly “correct” as it is. It definitely shows how much more information is available, conceivably I could mark up that segment of the graph as “amends” and provide the reason why. This would be much easier if there was some kind of “amendment linkbase” or some such…

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