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It’s Time for Cayman Shell Entities to Come Out of Their Shells and Show Economic Substance

It’s Time for Cayman Shell Entities to Come Out of Their Shells and Show Economic Substance

·       It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  The same can be said about economic substance.  In a step to adopt a standardized definition in the context of business arrangements that are typical for Cayman Islands companies, the country enacted the International Tax Cooperation (Economic Substance) Law, 2018 (“E.S. Law”) on December 27, 2018, and issued supplemental guidance on February 22, 2019.  Neha Rastogi and Galia Antebi address relevant aspects of the new rules, including (i) entities that fall within the ambit of the E.S. Law, (ii) entities that are exempt, (iii) identified business activities under the E.S. Law, and (iv) steps that may be taken to meet the economic substance test.

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Insights Vol. 6 No. 1: Updates & Other Tidbits

Insights Vol. 6 No. 1: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, Rusudan Shervashidze and Stanley C. Ruchelman look at several interesting items, including (i) the publication of draft legislation by the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey, and Isle of Man calling for the existence of economic substance for resident companies engaged in certain businesses and defining what that means, (ii) the denial of benefits incident to foreign earned income for a military contractor in Afghanistan who maintained a place of abode in the U.S., (iii) an increase in fees charged by the I.R.S. to issue residency certificates, (iv) the establishment of a working group to combat transnational tax crime through increased enforcement collaboration among tax authorities in several countries, and (v) changes to China’s residency rules and the sharing of taxpayer financial information under C.R.S. 

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The Economic Substance Doctrine: A U.S. Anti-Abuse Rule

The Economic Substance Doctrine: A U.S. Anti-Abuse Rule

While the O.E.C.D. and the European Commission have only recently discovered the “principal purpose” test as a tool to combat aggressive tax planning, U.S. case law has enforced an economic substance rule for over 85 years and that rule was codified in 2010.  Fanny Karaman, Neha Rastogi, and Stanley C. Ruchelman explain the hurdles that must be achieved in order for a plan to have economic substance.

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S.T.A.R.S. Transactions – Jury Is In, Foreign Tax Credit Disallowed

S.T.A.R.S. Transactions – Jury Is In, Foreign Tax Credit Disallowed

As a litigation strategy, a large corporation that is important to a community may decide that it is better to pay the tax and demand a jury trial in U.S. District Court as part of its claim for refund, rather than to defer payment while it argues the case before the Tax Court. The basic theory is that the jury will not be sympathetic towards the I.R.S. In a recent jury trial involving Wells Fargo, it found that the strategy did not work when the issue involved a tax shelter knows as a S.T.A.R.S. (structured trust advantaged repackaged securities) transaction. Rusudan Shervashidze and Galia Antebi explain.

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S.T.A.R.S. Transactions – Interest Deduction Allowed but Foreign Tax Credit Disallowed

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In a partial reversal of the I.R.S. position, a U.S. financial institution was allowed to deduct interest expense on borrowings that formed part of a S.T.A.R.S. transaction in Salem Financial, Inc. v. United States. While the Appeals Cout held that the taxpayer could not claim foreign tax credits for the U.K. taxes paid pursuant to the S.T.A.R.S. transaction, it allowed deductions for interest paid on a loan.

Branch Banking & Trust Corporation (“BB&T”), a North Carolina financial holding company, and Barclays Bank PLC (“Barclays”), a U.K. bank were the participants in a financial product transaction BB&T entered into a structured trust advantaged repackaged securities (“S.T.A.R.S.”) transaction with Barclays from August 2002 through April 2007. Generally, the economic benefit of a S.T.A.R.S. transaction is to increase yields on investments by affixing an interest expense deduction and a double dip of foreign tax credits to the total return of the investor. Barclays invented the S.T.A.R.S. transaction structure along with the international accounting firm based in the U.K., KPMG L.L.P.