Tax Reform and Its Effect on IP

Tax reform typically has many implications for businesses and people in general. In terms of the 2018 tax reform specifically, the new changes will have positive effects for a lot of businesses and people as tax rates will be lower. This reform presents a positive outcome for intellectual property (IP) owners as well. Since many valuation analysts use the income-based approach for determining IP value, the tax reform changes the value of IP for the better. Read more to understand how the tax reform changes IP value for IP owners.

Generally, the income-based approach is a common and accurate approach for determining value of IP. A valuation analyst using the income approach bases his or her opinion on the intellectual property owner’s business plan, marketing and operational inputs, and other external references. Using this method, the valuation analyst projects the economic income generated solely from the intellectual property over a discrete period, known as the remaining economic life (REL) as well as any residual value after the REL.

To determine economic income, the valuation analyst projects the revenue (or cost savings or other economic benefit) generated from the intellectual property over the REL, and then offsets that revenue with costs related directly to the intellectual property’s exploitation such as labor, materials, required capital investment, and any appropriate economic rents or capital charges.

With cash flows for each discrete year in the REL and a calculated residual value, the valuation analyst discounts the cash flows and the residual value using an appropriate discount rate to the present value. The present value becomes the intellectual property’s value before the valuation analyst applies any applicable value adjustments.

As indicated, a valuation analyst has to discount cash flows to determine the present value of IP. The tax reform directly affects the value of IP as income tax places a direct burden on cash flows. Since the tax reform now has a lower tax rate, the value of the cash flow is higher. For instance, if a patent owner has an asset that generates $1,000 and $100 in profits, the owner will now pay a lower percentage in taxes. For instance, the owner may have paid 40% of the $100 in 2017 versus 20% of the $100 in 2018. Therefore, the patent owner generates more cash flow as they pay fewer taxes, making their IP worth more.