Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Accounting Policies (Policies)

Accounting Policies (Policies)
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2016
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Revenue Recognition [Policy Text Block]
Revenue Recognition
We recognize net product revenue when the earnings process is complete, as evidenced by an agreement, delivery has occurred, pricing is deemed fixed, and collection is considered probable. We record pricing allowances, including discounts based on contractual arrangements with customers, when we recognize revenue as a reduction to both accounts receivable and net revenue. Because of frequent sales price reductions and rapid technology obsolescence in our industry, we defer product revenue and related costs of sales from component sales made to distributors under agreements allowing price protection or right of return until the distributors sell the merchandise. The right of return granted generally consists of a stock rotation program in which distributors are able to exchange certain products based on the number of qualified purchases made by the distributor. Under the price protection program, we give distributors credits for the difference between the original price paid and the current price that we offer. We include shipping charges billed to customers in net revenue, and include the related shipping costs in cost of sales.
Revenue from license agreements on our McAfee products generally includes service and support agreements for which the related revenue is deferred and recognized ratably over the performance period in which services are provided. Revenue derived from online subscription products is deferred and recognized ratably over the performance period. Professional services revenue is recognized as services are performed or, if required, upon customer acceptance. For arrangements with multiple elements, including software licenses, maintenance, and/or services, revenue is allocated across the separately identified deliverables and may be recognized or deferred. When vendor-specific objective evidence does not exist for undelivered elements such as maintenance and support, the entire arrangement fee is recognized ratably over the performance period. Direct costs, such as costs related to revenue-sharing and royalty arrangements associated with license arrangements, as well as component costs associated with product revenue and sales commissions, are deferred and recognized over the same period that the related revenue is recognized.
Inventories [Policy Text Block]
We compute inventory cost on a first-in, first-out basis. We apply judgment in the valuation of our inventory which includes the following critical accounting estimates.
Intel has a product development life cycle that corresponds with substantive engineering milestones. These engineering milestones are regularly and consistently applied in assessing the point at which our activities, and associated costs, change in nature from research and development (R&D) to cost of sales. This impacts the timing of when manufacturing costs can be capitalized as inventory. For a product to be manufactured in high volumes and sold to our customers under our standard warranty, it must meet our rigorous technical quality specifications. This milestone is known as product release qualification (PRQ). We have identified PRQ as the point at which the costs incurred to manufacture our products are included in the valuation of inventory. Prior to PRQ, costs that do not meet the criteria for R&D are included in cost of sales in the period incurred. If the point at which we estimate that inventory meets PRQ criteria changes in the future, the timing and recognition of the manufacturing costs would shift between R&D and costs of sales.
To determine which manufacturing overhead costs can be included in the valuation of inventory, we must determine what normal capacity levels are at our manufacturing and assembly and test facilities, based on historical loadings compared to total available capacity. If the factory loadings are below the established normal capacity level, a portion of our manufacturing overhead costs would not be included in the cost of inventory; therefore, it would be recognized as cost of sales in that period, which would negatively impact our gross margin. We refer to these costs as excess capacity charges.
Inventory is valued at the lower of cost or market, based upon assumptions about future demand and market conditions. Product-specific facts and circumstances reviewed in the inventory valuation process include a review of our customer base, the stage of the product life cycle of our products, and an assessment of selling price in relation to product cost. Inventory reserves increased by approximately $270 million in 2016 compared to 2015.
The valuation of inventory also requires us to estimate obsolete and excess inventory, as well as inventory that is not of saleable quality. The demand forecast is utilized in the development of our short-term manufacturing plans to enable consistency between inventory valuations and build decisions. The estimate of future demand is compared to work-in-process and finished goods inventory levels to determine the amount, if any, of obsolete or excess inventory. If our demand forecast for specific products is greater than actual demand and we fail to reduce manufacturing output accordingly, we could be required to write off inventory, which would negatively impact our gross margin.
Property, Plant and Equipment [Policy Text Block]
Property, Plant and Equipment
We compute depreciation using the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of the assets and we capitalize interest on borrowings related to eligible capital expenditures. Capitalized interest is added to the cost of qualified assets and depreciated together with that asset cost. We record capital-related government grants earned as a reduction to property, plant and equipment.
We apply judgment in the valuation of our property, plant and equipment, which includes the following critical accounting estimates.
The estimated economic useful lives of our property, plant and equipment can materially impact our depreciation expense. Accordingly, at least annually, we evaluate the period over which we expect to recover the economic value of these assets, considering factors such as the process technology cadence between node transitions and re-use of machinery and tools across each generation of process technology. We had a change in estimate in 2016 related to the useful lives of machinery and equipment in our wafer fabrication facilities. For further information, see "Note 1: Basis of Presentation."
As we make manufacturing process conversions and other factory planning decisions, we use assumptions involving the use of management judgments regarding the remaining useful lives of assets, primarily process-specific semiconductor manufacturing tools and building improvements. When we determine that the useful lives of assets are shorter than we had originally estimated, we accelerate the rate of depreciation to reflect the assets’ new, shorter useful lives.
We assess property, plant and equipment for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of the assets or the asset grouping may not be recoverable. Factors that we consider in deciding when to perform an impairment review include significant under-performance of a business or product line in relation to expectations, significant negative industry or economic trends, and significant changes or planned changes in our use of the assets. We measure the recoverability of assets that we will continue to use in our operations by comparing the carrying value of the asset grouping to our estimate of the related total future undiscounted net cash flows arising from the use of that asset grouping. If an asset grouping carrying value is not recoverable through the related undiscounted cash flows, the asset grouping is considered to be impaired. We measure the impairment by comparing the difference between the asset grouping carrying value and its fair value.
We have certain facilities, included within construction in progress, being held in a safe state and not currently in use that we have plans to place into service at a future date. The time at which these assets are placed into service depends on our existing manufacturing capacity, market demand for our products, and where we are in the transition of products on our roadmap. Management makes judgments about the timing of when these facilities will be readied for their intended use and placed into service for the manufacturing of our products. Depreciation is not recognized on these assets and they are not eligible for capitalized interest when construction is on hold.
Fair Value [Policy Text Block]
Fair Value
Fair value is the price that would be received from selling an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. When determining fair value, we consider the principal or most advantageous market in which we would transact, and we consider assumptions that market participants would use when pricing the asset or liability. Our financial assets are measured and recorded at fair value, except for cost method investments, cost method loans receivable, equity method investments, grants receivable, and reverse repurchase agreements with original maturities greater than three months.
The three levels of inputs that may be used to measure fair value are:
Level 1. Quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities. We evaluate security-specific market data when determining whether a market is active.
Level 2. Observable inputs other than Level 1 prices, such as quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities, quoted prices in less active markets, or model-derived valuations. All significant inputs used in our valuations, such as discounted cash flows, are observable or can be derived principally from or corroborated with observable market data for substantially the full term of the assets or liabilities. We use LIBOR-based yield curves, currency spot and forward rates, and credit ratings as significant inputs in our valuations. Level 2 inputs also include non-binding market consensus prices as well as quoted prices that were adjusted for security-specific restrictions. When we use non-binding market consensus prices, we corroborate them with quoted market prices for similar instruments or compare them to output from internally developed pricing models such as a discounted cash flow models.
Level 3. Unobservable inputs to the valuation methodology that are significant to the measurement of the fair value of assets or liabilities. We monitor and review the inputs and results of these valuation models to help ensure the fair value measurements are reasonable and consistent with market experience in similar asset classes. Level 3 inputs also include non-binding market consensus prices or non-binding broker quotes that we were unable to corroborate with observable market data.
Our policy is to reflect transfers between the fair value hierarchy levels at the beginning of the period.
Cash Equivalents [Policy Text Block]
Cash Equivalents
We consider all highly liquid debt investments with original maturities from the date of purchase of three months or less as cash equivalents. Cash equivalents can include investments such as corporate debt, financial institution instruments, government debt, and reverse repurchase agreements.
Trading Assets [Policy Text Block]
Trading Assets
Marketable debt instruments are generally designated as trading assets when a market risk is economically hedged at inception with a related derivative instrument, or when the marketable debt instrument itself is used to economically hedge currency exchange rate risk from remeasurement. Investments designated as trading assets are reported at fair value. The gains or losses on these investments arising from changes in fair value due to interest rate and currency market fluctuations and credit market volatility, largely offset by losses or gains on the related derivative instruments and balance sheet remeasurement, are recorded in interest and other, net. We also designate certain floating-rate securitized financial instruments, primarily asset-backed securities, as trading assets.
Available-for-Sale Investments [Policy Text Block]
Available-for-Sale Investments
Available-for-sale investments are classified within cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments, or long-term investments based on the remaining maturity of the investment.
Investments designated as available-for-sale are reported at fair value, with unrealized gains or losses, net of tax, recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss), except as noted in the "Other-Than-Temporary Impairment" section. We determine the cost of the investment sold based on an average cost basis at the individual security level. Our available-for-sale investments include:
Marketable debt instruments when the interest rate and foreign currency risks are not hedged at the inception of the investment or when our criteria for designation as trading assets are not met. We record the interest income and realized gains or losses on the sale of these instruments in interest and other, net.
Marketable equity securities when there is no plan to sell or hedge the investment at the time of original classification. We acquire these equity investments to promote business and strategic objectives. We record the realized gains or losses on the sale or exchange of marketable equity securities in gains (losses) on equity investments, net.
Non-Marketable and Other Equity Investments [Policy Text Block]
Non-Marketable and Other Equity Investments
We regularly invest in non-marketable equity instruments of private companies, which range from early-stage companies that are often still defining their strategic direction to more mature companies with established revenue streams and business models. The carrying value of our non-marketable equity investment portfolio, excluding equity derivatives, totaled $4.4 billion as of December 31, 2016 ($4.5 billion as of December 26, 2015).
Our non-marketable equity and other equity investments are included in other long-term assets. We account for non-marketable equity and other equity investments for which we do not have control over the investee as:

Equity method investments when we have the ability to exercise significant influence, but not control, over the investee. Equity method investments include marketable and non-marketable investments. Our proportionate share of the income or loss is recognized on a one-quarter lag and is recorded in gains (losses) on equity investments, net.
Non-marketable cost method investments when the equity method does not apply.
Significant judgment is required to identify whether an impairment exists in the valuation of our non-marketable equity investments portfolio, and therefore we consider this a critical accounting estimate. Our quarterly analysis considers both qualitative and quantitative factors that may have a significant impact on the investee's fair value. Qualitative analysis of our investments involves understanding the financial performance and near-term prospects of the investee, changes in general market conditions in the investee’s industry or geographic area, and the management and governance structure of the investee. Quantitative assessments of the fair value of our investments are developed using the market and income approaches. The market approach includes the use of comparable financial metrics of private and public companies and recent financing rounds. The income approach includes the use of a discounted cash flow model, which requires significant estimates regarding the investees' revenue, costs, and discount rates. Our assessment of these factors in determining whether an impairment exists could change in the future due to new developments or changes in applied assumptions.
Other-Than-Temporary Impairment [Policy Text Block]
Other-Than-Temporary Impairment
Our available-for-sale investments and non-marketable and other equity investments are subject to a periodic impairment review. Impairments affect earnings as follows:

Marketable debt instruments when the fair value is below amortized cost and we intend to sell the instrument, or when it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell the instrument before recovery of its amortized cost basis, or when we do not expect to recover the entire amortized cost basis of the instrument (that is, a credit loss exists). When we do not expect to recover the entire amortized cost basis of the instrument, we separate other-than-temporary impairments into amounts representing credit losses, which are recognized in interest and other, net, and amounts not related to credit losses, which are recognized in other comprehensive income (loss).
Marketable equity securities include the consideration of general market conditions, the duration and extent to which the fair value is below cost, and our ability and intent to hold the investment for a sufficient period of time to allow for recovery of value in the foreseeable future. We also consider specific adverse conditions related to the financial health of, and the business outlook for, the investee, which may include industry and sector performance, changes in technology, operational and financing cash flow factors, and changes in the investee’s credit rating. We record other-than-temporary impairments on marketable equity securities and marketable equity method investments in gains (losses) on equity investments, net.
Non-marketable equity investments based on our assessment of the severity and duration of the impairment, and qualitative and quantitative analysis of the operating performance of the investee; adverse changes in market conditions and the regulatory or economic environment; changes in operating structure or management of the investee; additional funding requirements; and the investee’s ability to remain in business. Impairments of non-marketable equity investments were $184 million in 2016 ($166 million in 2015 and $140 million in 2014).
We record other-than-temporary impairments for non-marketable cost method investments and equity method investments in gains (losses) on equity investments, net.
Derivative Financial Instruments [Policy Text Block]
Derivative Financial Instruments
Our primary objective for holding derivative financial instruments is to manage currency exchange rate risk and interest rate risk, and, to a lesser extent, equity market risk, commodity price risk, and credit risk. We may enter into master netting arrangements to mitigate credit risk in derivative transactions by permitting net settlement of transactions with the same counterparty. A master netting arrangement may allow counterparties to net settle amounts owed to each other as a result of multiple, separate derivative transactions. We may also enter into collateral security arrangements with certain of our counterparties to exchange cash collateral when the net fair value of certain derivative instruments fluctuates from contractually established thresholds. For presentation on our consolidated balance sheets, we do not offset fair value amounts recognized for derivative instruments under master netting arrangements. Our derivative financial instruments are presented at fair value on a gross basis and are included in other current assets, other long-term assets, other accrued liabilities, or other long-term liabilities.
Cash Flow Hedges
We may use foreign currency contracts, such as currency forwards and currency interest rate swaps, to hedge exposures for the following items:
variability in the U.S.-dollar equivalent of non-U.S.-dollar-denominated cash flows associated with our forecasted operating and capital purchases spending; and
coupon and principal payments for our non-U.S.-dollar-denominated indebtedness.
We may use commodity derivatives to hedge future cash flow exposures to the variability in commodity prices as well as interest rate contracts, such as treasury rate lock agreements or interest rate swaps, to hedge the variability in cash flows driven by interest rate risk for our future or existing indebtedness.
The after-tax gains or losses from the effective portion of a cash flow hedge is reported as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) and reclassified into earnings in the same period or periods in which the hedged transaction affects earnings, and in the same line item on the consolidated statements of income as the impact of the hedge transaction. For foreign currency contracts hedging our capital purchases, forward points are excluded from the hedge effectiveness assessment. For options, time value is generally excluded from the hedge effectiveness assessment. Ineffective portions of cash flow hedges, as well as amounts excluded from the hedge effectiveness assessment, are recognized in earnings in interest and other, net. If the cash flow hedge transactions become probable not to occur, the corresponding amounts deferred in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) would be immediately reclassified to interest and other, net. These derivatives are classified in the consolidated statements of cash flows in the same section as the underlying item.
Fair Value Hedges
We may use interest rate contracts, such as interest rate swaps, to hedge against changes in the fair value on certain of our fixed-rate indebtedness attributable to the changes in the benchmark interest rate. The gains or losses on these hedges, as well as the offsetting losses or gains related to the changes in the fair value of the underlying hedged item attributable to the hedged risk, are recognized in earnings in the current period, primarily in interest and other, net. These derivatives are classified in the consolidated statements of cash flows in the same section as the underlying item, primarily within cash flows from financing activities.

Non-Designated Hedges
We may use foreign currency contracts to economically hedge the functional currency equivalent cash flows of recognized monetary assets and liabilities, non-U.S.-dollar-denominated debt instruments classified as trading assets, and non-U.S.-dollar-denominated loans receivables recognized at fair value. We may also use interest rate contracts to hedge interest rate risk related to our U.S.-dollar-denominated fixed-rate debt instruments classified as trading assets.
The change in fair value of these derivatives is recorded through earnings in the line item on the consolidated statements of income to which the derivatives most closely relate, primarily in interest and other, net. Changes in the fair value of the underlying assets and liabilities associated with the hedged risk are generally offset by the changes in the fair value of the related derivatives.
We may use total return swaps to offset changes in liabilities related to the equity market risks of certain deferred compensation arrangements. Gains or losses from changes in fair value of total return swaps are generally offset by the losses or gains on the related deferred compensation liabilities, both of which are recorded in cost of sales and operating expenses. Deferred compensation liabilities are included in other accrued liabilities.
We may use warrants, equity options, or other equity derivatives as part of our equity market risk management program. We recognize changes in the fair value of such derivatives in gains (losses) on equity investments, net.
These types of derivatives are either classified in the consolidated statements of cash flows within cash flows from operating activities or investing activities, depending on the activity the exposure is most closely associated with.
Securities Lending [Policy Text Block]
Securities Lending
We may enter into securities lending agreements with financial institutions, generally to facilitate hedging and certain investment and financing transactions. Selected securities may be loaned, secured by collateral in the form of cash or securities. The loaned securities continue to be carried as investment assets on our consolidated balance sheets. For lending agreements collateralized by cash and cash equivalents, collateral is recorded as an asset with a corresponding liability. For lending agreements collateralized by other securities, we do not record the collateral as an asset or a liability, unless the collateral is repledged.
Loans Receivable [Policy Text Block]
Loans Receivable
We may enter into loan transactions with third parties. These loans are classified within other current assets or other long-term assets. We may elect the fair value option when the interest rate or foreign currency exchange rate risk is economically hedged at the inception of the loan with a related derivative instrument. When the fair value option is not elected, the loans are carried at amortized cost. We measure interest income for all loans receivable using the interest method, which is based on the effective yield of the loans rather than the stated coupon rate.
Credit Risk [Policy Text Block]
Credit Risk
Financial instruments that potentially subject us to concentrations of credit risk consist principally of investments in debt instruments, derivative financial instruments, loans receivable, reverse repurchase agreements, and trade receivables. We may enter into master netting arrangements to mitigate credit risk in derivative transactions by permitting net settlement of transactions with the same counterparty.
We generally place investments with high-credit-quality counterparties and, by policy, we limit the amount of credit exposure to any one counterparty based on our analysis of that counterparty’s relative credit standing. As required per our investment policy, substantially all of our investments in debt instruments and financing receivables are in investment-grade instruments. Credit-rating criteria for derivative instruments are similar to those for other investments. Due to master netting arrangements, the amounts subject to credit risk related to derivative instruments are generally limited to the amounts, if any, by which the counterparty’s obligations exceed our obligations with that counterparty. As of December 31, 2016, our total credit exposure to any single counterparty, excluding money market funds invested in U.S. treasury and U.S. agency securities and reverse repurchase agreements collateralized by treasury and agency securities, did not exceed $700 million. To further reduce credit risk, we obtain and secure available collateral from counterparties against obligations, including securities lending transactions, when we deem it appropriate.
A substantial majority of our trade receivables are derived from sales to original equipment manufacturers and original design manufacturers. We also have accounts receivable derived from sales to industrial and communications equipment manufacturers in the computing and communications industries. We believe that the net accounts receivable balances from our three largest customers (31% in 2016) do not represent a significant credit risk, based on cash flow forecasts, balance sheet analysis, and past collection experience. For more information about the customers that represent our accounts receivable balance, see "Note 4: Operating Segments and Geographic Information" in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
We have adopted credit policies and standards intended to accommodate industry growth and inherent risk. We believe that credit risks are moderated by the financial stability of our major customers. We assess credit risk through quantitative and qualitative analysis. From this analysis, we establish shipping and credit limits, and determine whether we will seek to use one or more credit support protection devices, such as obtaining a parent guarantee, standby letter of credit, or credit insurance.
Business Combinations Policy [Policy Text Block]
Business Combinations
We allocate the purchase price paid for assets acquired and liabilities assumed in connection with our acquisitions based on their estimated fair values at the time of acquisition. We consider this a critical accounting estimate because it involves a number of assumptions, estimates, and judgments that could materially affect the timing or amounts recognized in our financial statements. The most subjective areas include determining the fair value of the following:
intangible assets, including valuation methodology, estimations of future cash flows, and discount rates, as well as the estimated useful life of the intangible assets;
deferred tax assets and liabilities, uncertain tax positions, and tax-related valuation allowances, which are initially estimated as of the acquisition date;
inventory; property, plant and equipment; pre-existing liabilities or legal claims; deferred revenue; and contingent consideration, each as may be applicable; and
goodwill as measured as the excess of consideration transferred over the net of the acquisition date fair values of the assets acquired and the liabilities assumed.
Our assumptions and estimates are based upon comparable market data and information obtained from our management and the management of the acquired companies. We allocate goodwill to the reporting units of the business that are expected to benefit from the business combination.
Goodwill and Intangible Assets, Goodwill, Policy [Policy Text Block]
Application of the goodwill impairment test is considered a critical accounting estimate, including the identification of reporting units, assignment of assets and liabilities to reporting units, assignment of goodwill to reporting units, and determination of fair value for each reporting unit. We perform an annual impairment assessment of goodwill in the fourth quarter of each year, or more frequently if indicators of potential impairment exist, which includes evaluating qualitative and quantitative factors to assess the likelihood of an impairment of a reporting unit’s goodwill. The reporting unit’s carrying value used in an impairment test represents the assignment of various assets and liabilities, excluding certain corporate assets and liabilities, such as cash, investments, and debt. For reporting units in which this assessment concludes that it is more likely than not that the fair value is more than its carrying value, goodwill is not considered impaired and we are not required to perform the two-step goodwill impairment test.
Qualitative factors considered in this assessment include industry and market considerations, overall financial performance, and other relevant events and factors affecting the reporting unit. Additionally, as part of this assessment, we may perform a quantitative analysis to support the qualitative factors above by applying sensitivities to assumptions and inputs used in measuring a reporting unit’s fair value. For reporting units in which the impairment assessment concludes that it is more likely than not that the fair value is less than its carrying value, we perform the first step of the goodwill impairment test, which compares the fair value of the reporting unit to its carrying value. If the carrying value of the net assets assigned to the reporting unit exceeds the fair value of the reporting unit, then we must perform the second step of the goodwill impairment test to determine the implied fair value of the reporting unit’s goodwill.
Our goodwill impairment test considers both the income method and the market method to estimate a reporting unit’s fair value. The income method is based on a discounted future cash flow approach that uses the following major assumptions and inputs: revenue, based on assumed market segment growth rates and our assumed market segment share; estimated costs; and appropriate discount rates based on a reporting unit's weighted average cost of capital as determined by considering the observable weighted average cost of capital of comparable companies. Our estimates of market segment growth, our market segment share, and costs are based on historical data, various internal estimates, and a variety of external sources. The same estimates are also used in our business planning and forecasting process. We test the reasonableness of the inputs and outcomes of our discounted cash flow analysis against available comparable market data. The market method is based on financial multiples and transaction prices of comparable companies. Although there were no specific qualitative indicators of impairment for our reporting units, we elected to perform a step 1 impairment test in the fourth quarter of 2016. These reporting units were all deemed to have fair values that substantially exceeded their carrying value.
Upon any reorganization of our operating segments, we re-evaluate our reporting units and, if necessary, reassign goodwill using a relative fair value approach.
Identified Intangible Assets [Policy Text Block]
Identified Intangible Assets
We amortize all acquisition-related intangible assets that are subject to amortization over their estimated useful life based on economic benefit. Acquisition-related in-process R&D assets represent the fair value of incomplete R&D projects that had not reached technological feasibility as of the date of acquisition; initially, these are classified as "in-process research and development" that are not subject to amortization. Once these R&D projects are completed, the asset balances are transferred from "in-process research and development" to "acquisition-related developed technology" and are subject to amortization from this point forward. The asset balances relating to projects that are abandoned after acquisition are impaired and expensed to R&D.
We perform a quarterly review of significant finite–lived identified intangible assets to determine whether facts and circumstances indicate that the useful life is shorter than we had originally estimated or that the carrying amount of assets may not be recoverable. We consider the assumptions and estimates used to determine future values and remaining useful lives of our intangible and other long-lived assets a critical accounting estimate. They can be affected by various factors, including external factors such as industry and economic trends, and internal factors such as changes in our business strategy and our forecasts for specific product lines.
Our annual impairment assessment occurs in the fourth quarter of each year for indefinite-lived intangible assets, or more frequently if indicators of potential impairment exist, to determine whether it is more likely than not that the carrying value of the assets may not be recoverable. If necessary, a quantitative impairment test is performed to compare the fair value of the indefinite–lived intangible asset with its carrying value. Impairments, if any, are based on the excess of the carrying amount over the fair value of those assets.
Advertising [Policy Text Block]
Cooperative advertising programs reimburse customers for marketing activities for certain of our products. We accrue cooperative advertising obligations and record the costs at the same time that the related revenue is recognized. We record cooperative advertising costs as marketing, general and administrative (MG&A) expenses to the extent that an advertising benefit separate from the revenue transaction can be identified and the fair value of that advertising benefit received is determinable. We record any excess in cash paid to customers over the fair value of the advertising benefit we receive as a reduction in revenue. Advertising costs, including direct marketing costs, recorded within MG&A expenses were $1.8 billion in 2016 ($1.8 billion in 2015 and $1.8 billion in 2014).
Employee Equity Incentive Plans [Policy Text Block]
Employee Equity Incentive Plans
We use the straight-line attribution method to recognize share-based compensation over the service period of the award. Upon exercise, cancellation, forfeiture, or expiration of stock options, or upon vesting or forfeiture of restricted stock units (RSUs), we eliminate deferred tax assets for options and RSUs with multiple vesting dates for each vesting period on a first-in, first-out basis as if each vesting period were a separate award.
Income Taxes [Policy Text Block]
Income Taxes
We compute the provision for income taxes using the asset and liability method, under which deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the expected future tax consequences of temporary differences between the financial reporting and tax bases of assets and liabilities, and for operating losses and tax credit carryforwards. We measure deferred tax assets and liabilities using the currently enacted tax rates that apply to taxable income in effect for the years in which those tax assets are expected to be realized or settled.
We apply judgment in the recognition and measurement of current and deferred income taxes which includes the following critical accounting estimates. We assess the likelihood that we will be able to recover our deferred tax assets. If recovery is not likely, we must increase our provision for taxes by recording a valuation allowance against the deferred tax assets that we estimate will not ultimately be recoverable. We believe that we will ultimately recover the deferred tax assets recorded on our consolidated balance sheets. Recovery of a portion of our deferred tax assets is impacted by management’s plans with respect to holding or disposing of certain investments; therefore, changes in management’s plans with respect to holding or disposing of investments could affect our future provision for taxes.
We use a two-step process to recognize liabilities for uncertain tax positions. The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining whether, based on the technical merits of the position, the weight of available evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities, including resolution of related appeals or litigation processes, if any. If we determine that a tax position will more likely than not be sustained on examination, the second step requires us to estimate and measure the tax benefit as the largest amount that is more than 50% likely to be realized upon ultimate settlement. We consider many factors when evaluating and estimating our tax positions and tax benefits, which may require periodic adjustments and may not accurately forecast actual outcomes. We recognize interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits within the provision for taxes on the consolidated statements of income. Determining whether an uncertain tax position is effectively settled requires judgment. Such a change in recognition or measurement would result in the recognition of a tax benefit or an additional charge to the tax provision.
We have not recognized U.S. deferred income taxes on certain undistributed non-U.S. earnings because we plan to indefinitely reinvest such earnings outside the U.S. Remittances of non-U.S. earnings are based on estimates and judgments of projected cash flow needs, as well as the working capital and investment requirements of our non-U.S. and U.S. operations. Material changes in our estimates of cash, working capital, and investment needs in various jurisdictions could require repatriation of indefinitely reinvested non-U.S. earnings, which would be subject to U.S. income taxes and applicable non-U.S. income and withholding taxes.
Loss Contingencies [Policy Text Block]
Loss Contingencies
We are subject to loss contingencies, including various legal and regulatory proceedings, asserted and potential claims, liabilities related to repair or replacement of parts in connection with product defects, as well as product warranties and potential asset impairments that arise in the ordinary course of business. An estimated loss from such contingencies is recognized as a charge to income if it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. Judgment is required in both the determination of probability and the determination as to whether a loss is reasonably estimable as a critical accounting estimate. We review the status of each significant matter quarterly and we may revise our estimates.