|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2019
|Commitments And Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
The Company is from time to time engaged in routine litigation. The Company regularly reviews all pending litigation matters in which it is involved and establishes reserves deemed appropriate by management for these litigation matters when a probable loss estimate can be made.
The matters described in this Note may take several years to resolve. While the Company believes it has meritorious defenses, it cannot be sure of their ultimate resolution. Although the Company may reserve amounts for certain matters that the Company believes represent the most likely outcome of the resolution of these related disputes, if the Company is incorrect in its assessment, the Company may have to record additional expenses, when it becomes probable that an increased potential liability is warranted.
The Mexican Tax Administration Service commenced audits of the Company’s Mexican subsidiaries for the period from January to September 2007 and on May 10, 2013, the Company received an assessment related to that period. This assessment is subject to interest and inflationary adjustments. On July 11, 2013, the Company filed an administrative appeal disputing the assessment. On September 22, 2014, the Mexican Tax Administration Service denied the Company’s administrative appeal. The Company commenced litigation in the Tax Court of Mexico in November 2014 to dispute the assertions made by the Mexican Tax Administration Service in the case. On January 16, 2018, the Tax Court of Mexico issued a verdict upholding the assessment issued by the Mexican Tax Administration Service. On April 16, 2018, the Company filed an appeal of this verdict, and in July 2019, the Circuit Court issued a written verdict upholding the assessment and the judgment of the Tax Court of Mexico. On August 12, 2019, the Company filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Mexico. On October 16, 2019, the Supreme Court of Mexico refused to hear the Company’s appeal. On October 21, 2019, the Company filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Mexico, asking them to reconsider their previous decision. The Company has recognized a loss of $19.0 million in selling, general, and administrative expenses within the Company’s consolidated statement of income for the year ended December 31, 2019 and has recorded a corresponding accrued liability in that amount within its consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2019, as the Company believes a loss is probable pertaining to this VAT-related assessment. The Company has an issued but undrawn letter of credit through a bank to guarantee payment of the tax assessment as required, and the letter of credit continued to remain effective as of December 31, 2019.
The Mexican Tax Administration Service has delayed processing VAT refunds for companies operating in Mexico and the Company believes that the process for its Mexico subsidiary to receive VAT refunds may be delayed. As of December 31, 2019, the Company had $28.0 million of Mexico VAT related assets, of which $16.7 million was within other assets and $11.3 million was within prepaid expenses and other current assets on its consolidated balance sheet. This amount relates to VAT payments made over various periods and the Company believes these amounts are recoverable by refund or they may be applied against certain future tax liabilities. Effective January 1, 2019, a tax reform law changed the rules concerning possible use of VAT assets, specifically providing that, for VAT balances generated after December 31, 2018, those balances could not be offset against taxes other than VAT obligations currently due. The Company has not recognized any losses related to these VAT related assets as the Company does not believe a loss is probable.
The Company has received tax assessments for multiple years from the Federal Revenue Office of Brazil related to withholding/contributions based on payments to the Company’s Members. The aggregate combined amount of all these assessments is equivalent to approximately $14.1 million, translated at the December 31, 2019 spot rate. The Company is currently litigating these assessments at the tax administrative level. The Company has not accrued a loss for the majority of the assessments because the Company does not believe a loss is probable. The Company is currently unable to reasonably estimate the amount of the loss that may result from an unfavorable outcome if additional assessments for other periods were to be issued.
The Company is under examination in several Brazilian states related to ICMS and ICMS-ST taxation. Some of these examinations have resulted in assessments for underpaid tax that the Company has appealed. The State of São Paulo has audited the Company for the 2013 and 2014 tax years. During July 2016, for the State of São Paulo, the Company received an assessment in the aggregate amount of approximately $40.0 million, translated at the December 31, 2019 spot rate, relating to various ICMS issues for its 2013 tax year. In August 2016, the Company filed a first-level administrative appeal which was denied in February 2017. The Company filed a further appeal on March 9, 2017. On March 20, 2018, the Court held a hearing and a verdict was issued in June 2019, remanding the case back to the first-level administrative court. During August 2017, for the State of São Paulo, the Company received an assessment in the aggregate amount of approximately $14.8 million, translated at the December 31, 2019 spot rate, relating to various ICMS issues for its 2014 tax year. In September 2017, the Company filed a first-level administrative appeal for the 2014 tax year. The first-level administrative appeal was denied. The Company filed an appeal at the second-level administrative court in December 2018 and a verdict was issued in April 2019, remanding the case back to the first-level administrative court. During September 2018, for the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Company received an assessment in the aggregate amount of approximately $8.8 million, translated at the December 31, 2019 spot rate, relating to various ICMS-ST issues for its 2016 and 2017 tax years. On November 8, 2018, the Company filed a first-level administrative appeal, which was subsequently denied. On April 5, 2019, the Company appealed this tax assessment to the Administrative Council of Tax Appeals (second-level administrative appeal). The Company has also received other ICMS tax assessments in Brazil. During the fourth quarter of 2015, the Company filed appeals with state judicial courts against three of the assessments. The Company had issued surety bonds in the aggregate amount of $12.4 million, translated at the December 31, 2019 spot rate, to guarantee payment of some of the tax assessments as required while the Company pursues the appeals. In addition, the Company has received several ICMS tax assessments in the aggregate amount of $7.4 million, translated at the December 31, 2019 spot rate, from several other Brazilian states where surety bonds have not been issued. Litigation in all these cases is currently ongoing. The Company has not recognized a loss as the Company does not believe a loss is probable.
The Company has received various tax assessments in multiple states in India for multiple years from the Indian VAT authorities in an amount equivalent to approximately $10.1 million, translated at the December 31, 2019 spot rate. These assessments are for underpaid VAT. The Company is litigating these cases at the tax administrative level and the tax tribunal levels as it believes it has meritorious defenses. The Company has not recognized a loss as it does not believe a loss is probable.
The Korea Customs Service audited the importation activities of Herbalife Korea for the period January 2011 through May 2013. The total assessment for the audit period is $30.7 million, translated at the December 31, 2019 spot rate. The Company has paid the assessment and has recognized these payments within other assets on its consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2019. The Company lodged a first-level administrative appeal, which was denied on October 21, 2016. On January 31, 2017, the Company filed a further appeal to the National Tax Tribunal of Korea. In November 2018, the Company received an unfavorable decision from the National Tax Tribunal of Korea. In February 2019, the Company submitted an appeal to the Seoul Administrative Court. The Korea Customs Service audited the importation activities of Herbalife Korea for the period May 2013 through December 2013. The total assessment for the audit period is $10.0 million, translated at the December 31, 2019 spot rate. The Company has paid the assessment and has recognized this payment within other assets on its consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2019. In July 2019, the Company filed an appeal to the National Tax Tribunal of Korea. The Company disagrees with the assertions made in the assessments, as well as the calculation methodology used in the assessments. The Company has not recognized a loss as the Company does not believe a loss is probable.
During the course of 2016, the Company received various questions from the Greek Social Security Agency and on December 29, 2016, the Greek Social Security Agency issued an assessment with respect to Social Security Contributions on Member earnings for the 2006 year. For Social Security issues, the statute of limitations is open for 2007 and later years in Greece. Despite the assessment amount being immaterial, the Company could receive similar assessments covering other years. The Company continues to litigate the assessment. The Company has not recognized a loss as it does not believe a loss is probable. The Company is currently unable to reasonably estimate the amount of the loss that may result from an unfavorable outcome if additional assessments for other periods were to be issued.
The Italian tax authorities audited the Company for the periods 2014 and 2015. The Company responded to the various points relating to income tax and non-income tax matters raised by the tax authorities. In December 2019, the Company reached an agreement with Italian tax authorities on all issues related to the 2014 audit and paid an immaterial amount during December 2019. The Company still has not fully settled any potential additional liabilities with the tax authorities with respect to the 2015 year. In regards to both income and non-income tax matters, the Company believes that it has accrued the appropriate amounts relating to the 2015 year. At the present time, the Company is unable to reasonably estimate the amount of any potential loss in excess of the amount already accrued relating to these matters.
During March 2018, the Chinese Customs Service began an audit of the Company’s Chinese importations covering the periods 2015 through 2017. The Company has responded to the initial questions from the Customs Service and the audit is ongoing. The Company is currently unable to determine the outcome of this audit and reasonably estimate the amount of loss if an assessment is issued.
U.S. Federal Trade Commission Consent Order
On July 15, 2016, the Company and the Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, entered into a proposed Stipulation to Entry of Order for Permanent Injunction and Monetary Judgment, or the Consent Order. The Consent Order was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on July 15, 2016 and became effective on July 25, 2016, or the Effective Date. The Consent Order resolved the FTC’s multi-year investigation of the Company.
Pursuant to the Consent Order, under which the Company neither admitted nor denied the FTC’s allegations (except as to the Court having jurisdiction over the matter), the Company made, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Herbalife International of America, Inc., a $200 million payment to the FTC. Additionally, the Company implemented and continues to enhance certain existing procedures in the U.S. Among other requirements, the Consent Order requires the Company to categorize all existing and future Members in the U.S. as either “preferred members” – who are simply consumers who only wish to purchase products for their own household use, or “distributors” – who are Members who wish to resell some products or build a sales organization. The Company also agreed to compensate distributors on eligible U.S. sales within their downline organization, which include purchases by preferred members, purchases by a distributor for his or her personal consumption within allowable limits and sales of product by a distributor to his or her customers. The Consent Order also imposes restrictions on a distributor’s ability to open Nutrition Clubs in the United States. The Consent Order subjects the Company to certain audits by an independent compliance auditor for a period of seven years; imposes requirements on the Company regarding compliance certification and record creation and maintenance; and prohibits the Company, its affiliates and its distributors from making misrepresentations and misleading claims regarding, among other things, income and lavish lifestyles. The FTC and the independent compliance auditor have the right to inspect Company records and request additional compliance reports for purposes of conducting audits pursuant to the Consent Order. In September 2016, the Company and the FTC mutually selected Affiliated Monitors, Inc. to serve as the independent compliance auditor. The Company continues to monitor the impact of the Consent Order and, while the Company currently does not expect the settlement to have a long-term and materially adverse impact on its business and its Member base, the Company’s business and its Member base, particularly in the United States, may be negatively impacted. If the Company is unable to comply with the Consent Order then this could result in a material and adverse impact to the Company’s results of operations and financial condition.
As a marketer of foods, dietary and nutritional supplements, and other products that are ingested by consumers or applied to their bodies, the Company has been and is currently subjected to various product liability claims. The effects of these claims to date have not been material to the Company. The Company currently maintains product liability insurance with an annual deductible of $12.5 million.
As previously disclosed, the SEC and the Department of Justice, or DOJ, have been conducting investigations into the Company’s compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, in China, which are mainly focused on the Company’s China external affairs expenditures, its China business activities, adequacy of and compliance with the Company’s internal controls in China, and accuracy of the Company’s books and records relating to its China operations. The Company conducted its own review and implemented remedial and improvement measures based upon this review, including but not limited to replacement of a number of employees and enhancements of Company policies and procedures in China. The Company is continuing to cooperate with the SEC and DOJ and is continuing to discuss with them possible resolution, including settlement, of these matters. Based on these discussions to date and as required by U.S. GAAP, the Company has recognized an estimated aggregate accrued liability for these matters of $40 million within its consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2019. However, the Company cannot predict the eventual scope, duration, or outcome of the government investigations at this time, including whether a settlement will be reached, the amount of any potential monetary payments, or injunctive or other relief, the results of which may be materially adverse to the Company, its financial condition, its results of operations, and its operations. At the present time, the Company is unable to reasonably estimate nor provide any assurance regarding the amount of any potential loss in excess of the amount accrued relating to these matters.
As previously disclosed, the SEC had also requested from the Company documents and other information relating to the Company’s disclosures regarding its marketing plan in China. On September 27, 2019, the Company and the SEC entered into a settlement resolving this matter. Pursuant to the administrative order settling this matter, under which the Company neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s allegations (except as to the SEC’s jurisdiction), the Company agreed to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations and any future violations of Sections 17(a)(2) and 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act and Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, and 13a-13 thereunder, and pay a $20 million civil penalty. The $20 million settlement amount, which had previously been recorded as an accrued liability within the Company’s condensed consolidated balance sheet as of June 30, 2019, was paid in October 2019.
On September 18, 2017, the Company and certain of its subsidiaries and Members were named as defendants in a purported class action lawsuit, titled Rodgers, et al. v Herbalife Ltd., et al. and filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, which alleges violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices statute and federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statutes, unjust enrichment, and negligent misrepresentation. On August 23, 2018, the Court issued an order transferring the action to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California as to four of the putative class plaintiffs and ordering the remaining four plaintiffs to arbitration, thereby terminating the Company defendants from the Florida action. The plaintiffs seek damages in an unspecified amount. The Company believes the lawsuit is without merit and will vigorously defend itself against the claims in the lawsuit.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef