Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)


9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2020
Income Tax Disclosure [Abstract]  
The Company records its quarterly tax provision based on an estimate of the annual effective tax rate expected to apply to continuing operations for the various jurisdictions in which it operates. The tax effects of certain items, such as tax rate changes, significant unusual or infrequent items, and certain changes in the assessment of the realizability of deferred taxes, are recognized as discrete items in the period in which they occur and are excluded from the estimated annual effective tax rate.
For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020, the Company's estimated annual effective tax rate before discrete items remained near zero as a result of the valuation allowance on its deferred tax assets. During the first quarter of 2020, the Company recognized $7.3 million of income tax expense discretely in the quarter as a result of the sale of assets and a corresponding adjustment to the valuation allowance on remaining state net operating loss carryforwards.
The Company anticipates remaining in a net deferred tax asset position based on the analysis performed for three and nine months ended September 30, 2020. The Company expects a full valuation allowance against its deferred tax assets based on its conclusion, considering all available evidence (both positive and negative), that it was more likely than not that the deferred tax assets would not be realized. A valuation allowance for deferred tax assets, including net operating losses, is recognized when it is more likely than not that some or all of the benefit from the deferred tax assets will not be realized. To assess that likelihood, the Company uses estimates and judgment regarding future taxable income, and considers the tax laws in the jurisdiction where such taxable income is generated, to determine whether a valuation allowance is required. Such evidence can include current financial position, results of operations, both actual and forecasted, the reversal of deferred tax liabilities and tax planning strategies as well as the current and forecasted business economics of the oil and gas industry.
On March 27, 2020, the CARES Act was enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act includes several significant provisions for corporations including allowing companies to carryback certain NOLs, increasing the amount of NOLs that corporations can use to offset income, and increasing the amount of deductible interest under section 163(j). The Company does not expect to be materially impacted by the CARES Act provision and does not anticipate the CARES Act to have a material effect on its ability to realized deferred tax assets.
The Company’s ability to utilize NOL carryforwards and other tax attributes to reduce future federal taxable income is subject to potential limitations under Internal Revenue Code Section 382 (“Section 382”) and its related tax regulations. The utilization of these attributes may be limited if certain ownership changes by 5% stockholders (as defined in Treasury regulations pursuant to Section 382) and the effects of stock issuances by the Company during any three-year period result in a cumulative change of more than 50% in the beneficial ownership of Gulfport. The Company updates its Section 382 analysis to determine if an ownership change has occurred at each reporting period. If it is determined that an ownership change has occurred under these rules, the Company would generally be subject to an annual limitation on the use of pre-ownership change NOL carryforwards and certain other losses and/or credits. In addition, certain future transactions regarding the Company's equity, including the cumulative effects of small transactions as well as transactions beyond the Company’s control, could cause an ownership change and therefore a potential limitation on the annual utilization of its deferred tax assets. On April 30, 2020, the board of directors of the Company adopted a tax benefits preservation plan in order to protect against a possible limitation on the Company’s ability to use its tax net operating losses and certain other tax benefits to reduce potential future U.S. federal income tax obligations. The Tax Benefits Preservation Plan is intended to prevent against such an ownership change by deterring any person or group from acquiring beneficial ownership of 4.9% or more of the Company’s securities.