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Preferred Yet Neglected — A Plea for Guidance on Redemptions of C.F.C. Preferred Stock in the Wake of U.S. Tax Reform

Preferred Yet Neglected — A Plea for Guidance on Redemptions of C.F.C. Preferred Stock in the Wake of U.S. Tax Reform

Most tax advisers in the U.S. view Code §1248 as a supporting part of U.S. C.F.C. rules. Under the provision, capital gain derived by a 10% shareholder of a C.F.C. from the sale or disposition of shares of the C.F.C. may be converted into dividend income to the extent of some or all of the accumulated earnings of the C.F.C. Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Code §1248 applied to all 10% U.S. Shareholders of a C.F.C. However, that is no longer the case. Whether the delinking was intentional is not clear. What is clear is that some U.S. Shareholders are not subject to Code §1248, and the tax consequences may be sub-optimal for the U.S. Shareholder. Neha Rastogi, Andreas A. Apostolides, and Stanley C. Ruchelman explain the pitfalls that may occur.

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Debt Characterization and Deductibility Under Domesticated International Rules

Debt Characterization and Deductibility Under Domesticated International Rules

The limitation of interest deductibility to 30% of adjusted E.B.I.T.D.A. has focused the attention of U.S. corporations and their lenders on new constraints. How does a borrower demonstrate the capacity to carry and service debt, and how do related parties demonstrate that the rate of interest and other terms attaching to a cross-border loan are arm’s length? Michael Peggs and Stanley C. Ruchelman address these issues, explaining the three methods used to identify the boundary between debt and equity: (i) the qualitative approach of case law (I know it when a I see it, although I can’t agree to a uniform standard of application), (ii) the data-driven approach of comparative analysis (I know it when I can measure the effect, much like gravity), and (iii) the procedural approach for borrowers as set out in the Code §385 regulations which were in effect for a short period of time (I know it when I follow the recipe in the regulatory cookbook).

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Is the 100% Dividend Received Deduction Under Code §245A About as Useful as a Chocolate Teapot?

Is the 100% Dividend Received Deduction Under Code §245A About as Useful as a Chocolate Teapot?

Remember when Code §1248 was intended to right an economic wrong by converting low-taxed capital gain to highly-taxed dividend income? (If you do, you probably remember the maximum tax on earned income (50% rather than 70%) and income averaging over three years designed to eliminate the effect of spiked income in a particular year.) Tax law has changed, and dividend income no longer is taxed at high rates. Indeed, for C-corporations receiving foreign-source dividends from certain 10%-owned corporations, there is no tax whatsoever. This is a much better tax result than that extended to capital gains, which are taxed at 21% for corporations. Neha Rastogi and Stanley C. Ruchelman evaluate whether the conversion of capital gains into dividend income produces a meaningful benefit in many instances, given the likelihood of prior taxation under Subpart F or G.I.L.T.I. rules for the U.S. parent of a multinational group. Hence the question, is the conversion of taxable capital gains into dividend income under Code §1248 a real benefit, or is it simply a glistening

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Grecian Magnesite Put to Bed: Tax Court Ruling Affirmed on Appeal

Grecian Magnesite Put to Bed: Tax Court Ruling Affirmed on Appeal

The battle is over. It is agreed that the emporer’s new clothes are made of fairy dust, and Rev. Rul. 91-32 is not worth the paper on which it was printed in the I.R.S. Cumulative Bulletin for 1991. In June, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed the 2017 Tax Court ruling in the matter of Grecian Magnesite Mining v. Commr., which held that a foreign corporation was not liable for U.S. tax on the gain arising from a redemption of its membership interest in a U.S. L.L.C. treated as a partnership. In their article, Galia Antebi and Stanley C. Ruchelman address the history of the I.R.S. position and the disdain given to it by the courts. However, they caution that the taxpayer victory applies only to sales, exchanges, and dispositions effected through November 26, 2017. Thereafter, new Code §864(c)(8) modifies the law by adopting a look-thru rule when determining the character of gain from the sale of a membership interest. Win some, lose some.

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Updates & Other Tidbits

Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, Fanny Karaman, Galia Antebi, and Stanley C. Ruchelman look at interesting items of tax news, including (i) the I.R.S. announcement that French contribution sociale généralisée ("C.S.G.") and contribution au remboursement de la dette sociale ("C.R.D.S.") are now considered creditable foreign income taxes as they are no longer considered to fall under the provisions of the France-U.S. Totalization Agreement, (ii) the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has recommended approval of protocols to income tax treaties with Japan, Luxembourg, Spain, and Switzerland, paving the way for Senate approval, and (iii) proposed regulations under Code §951A now allow taxpayers to claim the benefit of the high-tax kickout to limit the inclusion of G.I.L.T.I. income, thereby allowing individuals to avoid current taxation of net tested income when the controlled foreign corporation incurs foreign income taxes imposed at a rate that exceeds 18.9%.

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Peeling the Onion to Allocate Subpart F Income – This Will Make You Cry!

Peeling the Onion to Allocate Subpart F Income – This Will Make You Cry!

When Congress expanded the definition of a “U.S. Shareholder” in the T.C.J.A. by requiring the measurement of value as an alternative to voting power, it opened a Pandora’s box of issues.  First, more U.S. Persons became U.S. Shareholders.  Second, it imposed a difficult task for shareholders and corporations to measure relative value of all classes of shares and all holdings of shareholders.  Finally, many plans based on the existence of direct or direct or indirect dividend rights of foreign shareholders were shut down. Proposed regulations will modify the way Subpart F Income is allocated to various classes of shares having discretionary dividend rights. Neha Rastogi and Stanley C. Ruchelman explain the broadened scope of income inclusions under Subpart F.

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Who’s Got the B.E.A.T.? Special Treatment for Certain Expenses and Industries

Who’s Got the B.E.A.T.? Special Treatment for Certain Expenses and Industries

Code §59A imposes tax on U.S. corporations with substantial gross receipts when base erosion payments to related entities significantly reduce regular corporate income tax.  The new tax is known as the base erosion and anti-abuse tax (“B.E.A.T.”).  In the second of a two-part series, Rusudan Shervashidze and Stanley C. Ruchelman address (i) the coordination of two sets of limitations on deductions when payments are subject to B.E.A.T. and the Code §163(j) limitation on business interest expense deductions, (ii) the computation of modified taxable income in years when an N.O.L. carryover can reduce taxable income, (iii) application of B.E.A.T. to partnerships and their partners, and (iv) the application of the B.E.A.T. to banks and insurance companies. 

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Can Tax Authorities Demand Access to Audit Workpapers? Canadian Experience Follows U.S. Rule

Can Tax Authorities Demand Access to Audit Workpapers? Canadian Experience Follows U.S. Rule

Recent victories in litigation have allowed the Canada Revenue Agency to review tax accrual workpapers of Canadian corporations, provided the request for access is not a “fishing expedition” attempting to find issues.In the U.S., the I.R.S. has enjoyed that power for many years. Sunita Doobay of Blaney McMurtry L.L.P., Toronto, examines the scope and limitations of the Canadian decisions. Stanley C. Ruchelman reviews case law in the U.S., the role of FIN 48, and the purpose behind Schedule UTP (reporting uncertain tax positions), which surprisingly is designed to limit examinations of tax accrual workpapers.

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O.E.C.D. on Digital Business – Seriously?!

O.E.C.D. on Digital Business – Seriously?!

On February 13, 2019, the O.E.C.D. issued a discussion draft addressing the tax challenges of the dig- italization of the economy and asked for feedback in a shockingly brief time- frame. Is the discussion draft – which, in many respects, mimics G.I.L.T.I.provisions and highlights the value of a market as a key determiner of profitallocation – a move away from value of functions? In a stealth way, it may be a precursor to a global B.E.A.T. Christian Shoppe of Deloitte Deutschland, Frankfurt, cautions that the ultimate destination of B.E.P.S. may be added complexity in tax laws and expanded opportunity for double taxation. Bad news for taxpayers; more work for tax advisers.

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Who’s Got the B.E.A.T.? A Playbook for Determining Applicable Taxpayers and Payments

   Who’s Got the B.E.A.T.? A Playbook for Determining Applicable Taxpayers and Payments

Code §59A imposes tax on U.S. corporations with substantial gross receipts when base erosion payments to related entities significantly reduce regular corporate income tax. The new tax is known as the base erosion and anti-abuse tax (“B.E.A.T.”). In late December 2019, the I.R.S. proposed regulations that provide guidance for affected taxpayers. The proposed regulations provide a playbook for making required computations including (i) the gross receipts test to determine if the taxpayer meets the $500 million gross receipts requirement, (ii) the base erosion percentage test, (iii) how to apply the tests when a taxpayer is member of an Aggregate Group having members with differing year-ends, (iv) various computations to determine whether a non-cash transaction is considered to be a payment to a related party outside the U.S. or is outside the scope of the B.E.A.T., and (v) other exceptions from the B.E.A.T. In the first of a multi-part series, Rusudan Shervashidze and Stanley C. Ruchelman tell all.

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Attorney-Client Privilege Extends to Accountants Retained by Legal Counsel

Attorney-Client Privilege Extends to Accountants Retained by Legal Counsel

Over time, the attorney-client privilege, which protects information disclosed by a client, has been extended to include certain client communications to accountants retained by legal counsel to provide input regarding the application of accounting rules. However, the privilege does not apply when a client retains the accountant prepare tax returns. In U.S. v. Adams, the I.R.S. challenged the extension of the privilege to an accountant who provided advice to the client’s defense counsel and later prepared U.S. tax returns for the client. The decision likely satisfies neither the I.R.S. nor the taxpayer. Rusudan Shervashidze and Stanley C. Ruchelman explain the I.R.S. challenge and the Solomon-like solution reached by the court.

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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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C-Corps Exempt from Full Scope of Foreign Income Inclusion

C-Corps Exempt from Full Scope of Foreign Income Inclusion

One of the principal highlights of the T.C.J.A. is the 100% dividends received deduction ("D.R.D.") allowed to U.S. corporations that are U.S. Shareholders of foreign corporations. At the time of enactment, many U.S. tax advisers questioned why Congress did not repeal the investment in U.S. property rules of Subpart F. Under those rules, investment in many different items of U.S. tangible and intangible property are treated as disguised distribution. In proposed regulations issued in October, the I.R.S. announced that U.S. corporations that are U.S. Shareholders of C.F.C.'s are no longer subject to tax on investments in U.S. property made by the C.F.C. Stanley C. Ruchelman explains the new rules and their simple logic – if the C.F.C. were to distribute a hypothetical dividend to a U.S. Shareholder that would benefit from the 100% D.R.D., the taxable investment in U.S. property will be reduced by an amount that is equivalent to the D.R.D. allowed in connection with the hypothetical dividend.

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A Deep Dive into G.I.L.T.I. Guidance

A Deep Dive into G.I.L.T.I. Guidance

The I.R.S. has published proposed regulations on the global intangible low-taxed income ("G.I.L.T.I.") regime, which is applicable to those controlled foreign corporations that manage to operate globally without generating effectively connected income taxable to the foreign corporation or Subpart F Income taxable to its U.S. Shareholders. In a detailed article, Rusudan Shervashidze, Elizabeth V. Zanet, and Stanley C. Ruchelman examine the proposed regulations and all their complexity.

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Tax Considerations of I.P. When Expanding a Business Offshore

Tax Considerations of I.P. When Expanding a Business Offshore

If a client asks a U.S. tax adviser about the U.S. tax cost of contributing intangible property (“I.P.”) to a foreign corporation for use in an active business, the response can be a dizzying array of bad tax consequences beginning with a deemed sale in a transaction that results in an ongoing income stream. While that is a correct answer, it need not be the only answer. Elizabeth V. Zanet and Stanley C. Ruchelman explore alternatives to a capital contribution of I.P. to a foreign corporation, including (i) the use of a foreign hybrid entity and (ii) licensing the I.P. to a foreign entity in order to benefit from the F.D.I.I. tax deduction. Each alternative may provide interesting tax results, but attention to detail will be required.

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Tax Basics of Intellectual Property

Published in Landslide Volume 10 Issue 6, © 2018 by the American Bar Association.

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A New Tax Regime for CFCs: Who Is GILTI?

Published by the Civil Research Institute in the Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions, vol. 31, no. 03 (Spring 2018): pp. 17-28.

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Foreign Investor in a U.S. L.L.C. – How to Minimize Withholding Tax on Sale of L.L.C. Interest

Foreign Investor in a U.S. L.L.C. – How to Minimize Withholding Tax on Sale of L.L.C. Interest

U.S. tax law was revised in last year’s tax reform legislation to impose tax on non-U.S. persons recognizing a gain from the sale of a partnership that engages in a U.S. business.  Worse, purchasers must collect and pay over to the I.R.S. a withholding tax equal to 10% of the amount realized by the seller.  Because of the way U.S. tax law treats partners of partnerships financed with debt, the withholding tax can be greater than the cash that is set to be paid to the foreign seller.  In April, the I.R.S. issued guidance on the problem, leading some to recommend a two-step plan to align the withholding tax with the ultimate income tax that will be due.  Fanny Karaman and Stanley C. Ruchelman explain the I.R.S. guidance and the two-step plan.

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A Comparative View of the Principal Purpose Test – U.S. Tax Court v. B.E.P.S.

A Comparative View of the Principal Purpose Test – U.S. Tax Court v. B.E.P.S.

In a post-B.E.P.S. world, aggressive tax planning is a mortal sin.  If a principal purpose or a main purpose of entering a transaction is tax avoidance, the tax benefits are lost.  A ruling in a recent pre-trial hearing in the U.S. Tax Court addressed a clearly abusive transaction aimed at importing high-basis, low-value assets into a U.S. partnership so that the U.S. investors could benefit from losses on nonperforming loans.  The I.R.S. moved for summary judgment in its favor, but the motion was denied.  Under applicable case law, a transaction can be respected even if it is tax motivated as long as economic substance is present.  Consequently, the taxpayer is entitled to a day in court, even if the prospect of victory is slim.  Rusudan Shervashidze and Stanley C. Ruchelman compare the approach followed by the U.S. Tax Court with the principal purpose test rules of the A.T.A.D. and B.E.P.S.

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I.R.S. Offers Additional Guidance on Code §965 Transition Tax

I.R.S. Offers Additional Guidance on Code §965 Transition Tax

On the way toward a dividends received deduction for certain dividends paid by foreign subsidiaries, Congress enacted a one-shot income inclusion of all post-1986 earnings from C.F.C.’s and foreign corporations having 10% U.S. Shareholders that are corporations.  In March, the I.R.S. issued an F.A.Q. providing additional guidance on open issues for 2017 tax returns.  Rusudan Shervashidze and Stanley C. Ruchelman explain the mechanics of the income inclusion and an election to defer payments for eight years, sometimes more.

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