Last quarter, IBM - once again - almost fooled the market when it "beat" but only thanks to using the lowest (until then) effective non-GAAP tax rate in recent history (excluding one charge-filled quarter when the rate was negative and thus N/M). Fast forward to this quarter when IBM has done it, or at least tried it, again: in the three months ended Sept 30, IBM reported Non-GAAP EPS of $3.30, above the expected $3.28. How did IBM "beat" again? By once again applying a lower tax rate than a year ago: a paltry 11.0%, down from the already laughable 12.5% in Sept 30, 2016. Had IBM used even last quarter's 12.5% tax rate, it would have missed.