Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Financial Bailout Package Contains International Tax Provisions

Excerpt from Practical US/International Tax Strategies by Lilo Hester, Ken Wood, Karen Jacobs, Eric Oman, Staci A. Scott and Carlos Probus (Ernst & Young LLP)

Earlier this month, President Bush signed into law the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Division A), the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (Division B), and the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008 (Division C) (H.R.1424), herein collectively referred to as the Act. The Act was passed by the Senate on October 1, 2008, and by the House of Representatives on October 3, 2008. The Act has been widely publicized as the “bailout bill” because it provides the U.S. government with authority to purchase up to $700 billion in “troubled,” illiquid assets owned by various financial institutions.

International tax provisions of the Act include:

• Elimination of the distinction between foreign oil and gas extraction income (FOGEI) and foreign oil related income (FORI) and the combination of FOGEI and FORI into one foreign oil basket, applying the existing FOGEI limitation.

• Extension for an additional tax year (through December 31, 2009) of the controlled foreign corporation (CFC) look-through provision of Section 954(c)(6).

• Extension for an additional tax year (through December 31, 2009) of the exception to treatment as foreign personal holding company income for income derived in the active conduct of a banking, finance, or similar business.

• Extension for an additional tax year (through December 31, 2009) of the exception to treatment of certain insurance income as subpart F income.

Read more on international tax provisions with respect to individuals

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

IRS Enhances Opportunity for U.S. Multinationals to Access Cash from Controlled Foreign Corporations

Excerpt from Practical US/International Tax Strategies by Douglas S. Stransky, Lewis J. Greenwald, Ameek Ashok Ponda and Eric J. Fuselier (Sullivan & Worcester)

On October 3, 2008, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2008-91, which expands the ability of a controlled foreign corporation (CFC) to make short-term loans to its U.S. parent to fund operations without creating an income inclusion for U.S. federal income tax purposes. This Notice applies for a CFC’s first two taxable years ending after October 3, 2008. Thus, for a CFC with a calendar taxable year, the Notice applies for calendar years 2008 and 2009. On October 16, 2008, the IRS issued a correction to provide that Notice 2008-91 will not apply to the taxable year of a CFC beginning after December 31, 2009.

Current Law
Generally, under Internal Revenue Code (Code) section 956, a loan made from a CFC to its U.S. parent is considered to be an investment in U.S. property because the CFC holds an “obligation” of the U.S. parent. Under this Code section, the average amount of the CFC’s investment in U.S. property held at the end of each quarter of the taxable year is potentially treated as a “deemed dividend” to the U.S. parent and, thus, taxable on the U.S. parent’s federal income tax return.
In some circumstances, however, the U.S. parent can have a loan outstanding from its CFC without triggering any income inclusion. Under Notice 88-108, for example, even if a CFC makes a loan to its U.S. parent that extends over a quarter end, there should be no income inclusion provided that this loan is outstanding less than 30 days.

But if the CFC were to hold any number of obligations that would (without regard to the 30-day exception) constitute U.S. property for aggregate periods totaling 60 or more days during a taxable year, this 30-day exception would not apply.

Notice 2008-91
In Notice 2008-91, the IRS has supplemented Notice 88- 108 so that a loan from a CFC to its U.S. parent would only constitute an obligation that results in an income inclusion if the loan is held for more than 60 days from the time it is incurred. Notice 2008-91 further provides that if a CFC holds obligations that would (without regard to the 60-day exception) constitute U.S. property for aggregate periods totaling 180 or more days during a taxable year, then this 60-day exception would not apply. Thus, Notice 2008-91 effectively extends the periods within which a taxpayer can hold an obligation without triggering the application of Code section 956. A CFC can apply Notice 2008-91 or Notice 88-108, but not both.

Read Related Articles

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Proposed Section 108 Regulations May Result in Disparate Treatment of S Corporation Shareholders

Excerpt from Practical US/Domestic Tax Strategies by Jeanne Sullivan (KPMG LLP)

Recently, Treasury published proposed regulations under section 108 on the reduction of tax attributes for S corporations (73 FR 45656-01). The proposed regulations provide guidance on the manner in which an S corporation applies the rules of section 108(b) in a year in which the S corporation has discharge of indebtedness income (COD income) that is excluded from gross income under section 108(a). In particular, the proposed regulations address situations in which S corporation losses and deductions that are treated as net operating losses (NOLs) for purposes of section 108 exceed the amount of the S corporation’s excluded COD income (Excess Deemed NOL). The proposed regulations provide rules whereby the Excess Deemed NOLs are apportioned among the S corporation’s shareholders after tax attribute reduction. As we shall see, the rules may result in potentially disparate treatment of the S corporation shareholders.

Subchapter S generally provides simplified pass-through treatment for corporations that meet its eligibility requirements. To avoid the complexities that can result from the variations in economic rights associated with partnerships, subchapter S requires that each shareholder be allocated a pro rata share of an S corporation’s items of income (including tax-exempt income), loss, deduction and credit as well as a pro rata share of nonseparately computed income and loss (section 1366(a)) and that the S corporation issue only a single class of stock (section 1361(b)(1)(D)). Nevertheless, the S corporation is a separate entity that also retains certain corporate characteristics and the rules of section 108 are applied at the corporate entity level.

Read More: Discharge of Indebtedness and Section 108