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What is Cash Flow After Taxes?

Cash flow after taxes (CFAT) is a key measure of financial performance that assesses a company's ability to generate cash flow through its operations, taking into account the impact of taxes on profits. In this article, we will delve into the concept of cash flow after taxes, its calculation, and its significance in evaluating a company's financial health and performance.

What is Cash Flow After Taxes?

Cash flow after taxes (CFAT) is a financial metric that indicates the amount of cash generated by a company's operations after accounting for taxes. It provides insights into the cash flow potential of a business by adding back non-cash charges such as amortization, depreciation, restructuring costs, and impairment to net income.

To calculate CFAT, these non-cash charges are added back to net income, representing the amount of cash that the company generates from its core operations. CFAT is also known as after-tax cash flow, as it considers the impact of taxes on profitability.

Importance of Cash Flow After Taxes

Cash flow after taxes is an essential measure for assessing a company's financial health and performance. Here are some key reasons why CFAT is important:

1. Assessing Cash Flow Generation: CFAT helps evaluate a company's ability to generate cash flow from its day-to-day operations. By considering the impact of taxes, CFAT provides a more accurate representation of a company's cash flow potential compared to other metrics that do not account for tax effects.

2. Evaluating Dividend Capacity: CFAT is often used to gauge a company's ability to pay dividends. By analyzing the CFAT in relation to the total amount of debt the company carries, investors and analysts can assess the company's capacity to service its debt or make cash distributions to shareholders.

3. Comparing Financial Performance: CFAT allows for comparisons of a company's financial performance over time and against competitors within the same industry. Analyzing CFAT trends can provide insights into a company's ability to generate consistent cash flow and its relative performance compared to industry peers.

4. Assessing Investment Viability: CFAT is valuable in evaluating the cash flow potential of an investment or project undertaken by a corporation. Investors can calculate the present value of CFAT to determine the profitability and viability of an investment in a business.

Considerations and Limitations of Cash Flow After Taxes

While CFAT provides valuable insights, it is important to consider its limitations and use it in conjunction with other financial metrics. Here are a few considerations:

1. Cash Expenditures for Fixed Assets: CFAT does not account for cash expenditures to acquire fixed assets. While CFAT assesses cash flow from operations, it may not capture the cash outflows associated with investing activities, such as the purchase of property, plant, and equipment.

2. Debt Service Capacity: Although CFAT can indicate a company's ability to meet its cash obligations, it does not provide a comprehensive view of the company's debt service capacity. Other financial metrics, such as interest coverage ratio and debt-to-equity ratio, should be considered to assess the company's ability to manage its debt.

3. Dividend Distribution Considerations: While a positive CFAT indicates the potential for cash distributions, it does not guarantee that a company is in a healthy financial position to make such distributions. Other factors, such as working capital requirements, growth plans, and capital expenditure needs, should be evaluated alongside CFAT to make informed dividend decisions.

Cash flow after taxes (CFAT) is a crucial measure of a company's cash flow generation, incorporating the impact of taxes on profitability. By considering non-cash charges and taxes, CFAT provides insights into a company's ability to generate cash flow from its operations. It is a valuable tool for assessing dividend capacity, evaluating investment viability, and comparing financial performance. However, it is important to recognize its limitations and use it in conjunction with other financial metrics to gain a comprehensive understanding of a company's financial health and performance.


Cash flow after taxes (CFAT) is nearly the same thing as EBITDA, but with taxes left in.

One way to arrive at Cash Flow After Taxes is to take the net income of the business and add in interest, amortization, depreciation and other non-cash expenses. This is one item away from the formula for EBITDA, which also adds tax back in to arrive at the Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization.

CFAT is primarily used to gauge a company’s ability to pay a dividend. Cash Flow After Taxes can be used for a debt ratio calculation, where this cash flow is represented over the total amount of debt a business carries, to get an idea of how long it would take the business to pay off the debt if they had to, or just how capable they are of servicing their debt, based on the size of their cash flow.

Some alternative methods of computing debt ratios use EBITDA or Free Cash Flow. Free cash flow is essentially the same as operating cash flow, but it reduces the cash flow by the amount of capital expenditures.

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