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ConocoPhillips's tax expense for the three months ended in Dec. 2014 was $-297 Mil. Its tax expense for the trailing twelve months (TTM) ended in Dec. 2014 was $3,583 Mil.
Tax paid by the company. It is computed in by multiplying the income before tax number, as reported to shareholders, by the appropriate tax rate. In reality, the computation is typically considerably more complex due to things such as expenses considered not deductible by taxing authorities ("add backs"), the range of tax rates applicable to various levels of income, different tax rates in different jurisdictions, multiple layers of tax on income, and other issues.
ConocoPhillips Tax Expense for the trailing twelve months (TTM) ended in Dec. 2014 was 1581 (Mar. 2014 ) + 1395 (Jun. 2014 ) + 904 (Sep. 2014 ) + -297 (Dec. 2014 ) = $3,583 Mil.
In the long run, income before tax and taxable income will likely be more similar than they are in any given period. If the one is less in earlier years, then it will be greater in later years. Deferred taxes will reverse themselves in the long run and in total will zero out, unless there is something like a change in tax rates in the intervening period. A deferred tax payable results from a tax break in the early years and will reverse itself in later years; a deferred tax receivable results from more taxes being paid in early years than the tax expense reported to shareholders and will again reverse itself in later years. The deferred tax amount is computed by estimating the amount and the timing of the reversal and multiplying that by the appropriate tax rates.
ConocoPhillips Annual Data
ConocoPhillips Quarterly Data