Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. ( PPD)

Q3 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

October 27, 2010 8:30 am ET

Executives

Randy Harp – Co-CEO, President, and COO

Steve Williamson – CFO

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Pre-Paid Legal Services third quarter earnings results conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, today's conference call is being recorded. I'd now like to turn your conference call over to your host, Mr. Randy Harp. Please go ahead.

Randy Harp

Well thank you, and good morning, everyone. This is Randy Harp, Co-CEO, President, and Chief Operating Officer of the company. And I want to welcome you to the 2010 third quarter earnings conference call for Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc. Joining me here at our home office is our CFO, Steve Williamson.

Before we begin, I want to remind everybody that the conference call will contain forward-looking statements, including our expectations of future results and future plans. Actual results might differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning risk factors that could cause the results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements are contained in our press release announcing our earnings as well from disclosures in our public reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q, and 8-K and any amendments filed with the SEC; and always available at the SEC Edgar Web site as well as our own Pre-Paid Legal Services Web site.

We did file our 10-Q yesterday evening – yesterday afternoon. I think it was released this morning at 6 o'clock, so it is available. We'll point out a couple of updates to our contingencies, one, the FTC matter, which we had previously disclosed, but has been on a long-standing disclosure in our three-plus years, a long-standing disclosure in our documents. And just to remind everybody, on July the 28th, the FTC issued a closing letter with no findings against the company. So that disclosure will go away.

We're still the subject of an informal inquiry by the SEC. And the update there to that disclosure is really we continue to respond to the SEC's request and discussion with the staff to clarify previous requests, continue to cooperate with the staff of the SEC, and certainly expect to do so, and still unable to predict what the outcome of this inquiry maybe or when it might be resolved.

Also have, at least in great part, resolved the Canadian tax issue that's been disclosed. And Steve, if you would cover the Canadian tax update, and then step through any of the more significant financial highlights for the 2010 third quarter.

Steve Williamson

Okay. On the Canadian tax issue, if you'll recall, we did a blow-by-blow that we've had since back around 2006, as I recall, had G&A allocation questions that were resolved a few years ago. We're able to take all of those deductions on either the Canadian and the US tax return let – primarily be commission issue.

We went into settlement discussions the third quarter of last year with the Canadian taxing authorities. They said, "Yes, we'd like to get it settled." And just in the last couple of weeks, they said, yes, they did agree with the basis of the settlement offer that we had made. We were trying to come up with a way that makes sense within the kinds of discussions that we were having.

And basically, what it allowed is to all the conditions that we had taken as a deduction in years 1999 through 2002, they were going to allow a deduction in those years. And also, so everything closed in those same years. They moved around a little bit within the years. But one of the big things and as I said in the 10-Q that we believe this settlement provides a basis for a full deduction of commissions when paid in tax years 2003 and forward. And that's due to the settlement offer included in years 2001 and 2002 of full deductions. That was the – 2001 was the year that we did the REIT statement. And under Canadian Tax Law, they start with GAAP-based financial statements in order to provide the basis for deduction under their tax code.

We resolved that issue. It'll take us a while to taper it off. And then they'll push it through their systems to settle up. But we expect to receive the $3.2 million in cash taxes as refund for those years where we had already paid the taxes under those reassessments that they had.

Randy Harp

That $3.2 million we've been carrying in other assets is now a refundable income tax–

Steve Williamson

Right, just moved it up for an asset. But we'd expect to receive it in the next 90 days or so, just the amount of time that it takes for them to push it through their systems and compute the amount of tax that they'll owe back to us on that issue.

And again, don't expect that based on the basis of this settlement to have this issue any time in the future to – gone through the G&A allocation. We've gone through the commission issue. The benefit payments were never questioned. So I feel good that we should have a good understanding on both sides of the table whit the Canadian taxing authorities and us on how we push through our income statements on their tax returns.

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