This excerpt taken from the HSY 10-K filed Mar 7, 2005.
The Companys effective income tax rate was 29.3% in 2004, 36.6% in 2003 and 36.7% in 2002. The effective income tax rate for 2004 is not comparable with the rates for 2003 and 2002 because the Companys provision for income taxes was reduced by the $61.1 million adjustment to income tax contingency reserves recorded in the second quarter of 2004. The non-cash reduction of income tax expense resulted from the settlement of Federal tax audits for the 1999 and 2000 tax years, as well as the resolution of a number of state tax audit issues. Based upon the results of the audits, the income tax contingency reserves were adjusted, resulting in a reduction of $61.1 million in income tax expense. The income tax contingency reserve adjustments related primarily to the deductibility and timing of certain expenses, interest on potential assessments, and acquisition and divestiture matters.
The reduction in the 2004 provision for income taxes resulting from the adjustment to income tax contingency reserves reduced the effective income tax rate by 7.3 percentage points. The decrease in the effective income tax rate from 2002 to 2003 reflected the impact of the effective tax rates on business rationalization and realignment initiatives and the gain on sale of business in 2003.