base erosion and anti-abuse tax

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of March 4 – 8, 2019.

March 4, 2019: The IRS issued proposed regulations under Section 250 of the Code for determining domestic corporations’ deductions for foreign-derived intangible income (FDII) and global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI).

March 4, 2019: The IRS issued a news release kicking off the annual list of what the agency terms the most prevalent or “Dirty Dozen” tax scams.

March 5, 2019: The IRS released Notice 2019-18 informing taxpayers that the Treasury Department and the IRS no longer intend to amend the required minimum distribution regulations under § 401(a)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code.

March 6, 2019: The IRS scheduled a public hearing for March 25, 2019, on proposed regulations relating to the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax.

March 6, 2019: The IRS released Notice 2019-20 providing a waiver of penalties under Sections 6722 and 6698 to certain partnerships for the 2018 tax year.

March 8, 2019: The IRS issued a news release postponing tax return filing and payment deadlines for victims of tornadoes and severe storms in parts of Alabama.

March 9, 2019: The IRS issued a news release advising business owners and self-employed individuals that Publication 5318 contains information of recent tax law changes that might affect their bottom line.

March 9, 2019: The IRS scheduled a March 20 public hearing on proposed regulations on hybrid entities and transactions under section 267A, and scheduled an April 10 public hearing on proposed regulations regarding withholding requirements.

Special thanks to Terence McAllister in our New York office for this week’s roundup.

On December 13, 2018, US Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released proposed regulations for the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (the BEAT), which was added to the Code as part of the 2017 Tax Act. The proposed regulations provide helpful guidance on a range of important topics and generally go a long way toward a reasonable implementation of a very challenging statute. There is one aspect of the proposed regulations, however, that may be an unwelcome surprise for many taxpayers; the proposed regulations treat stock consideration in non-cash transactions as BEAT “payments,” thereby creating the potential for BEAT liability in situations involving certain liquidations, tax-free reorganizations and other non-cash transactions.

Located in section 59A, the BEAT imposes a minimum tax on US corporations (and certain foreign corporations, which are not the focus of this Insight) that consistently have annual gross receipts of $500 million or more and claim more than a de minimis amount of “base erosion tax benefits” for a taxable year. In general, as base erosion tax benefits increase, a corporate taxpayer’s BEAT liability increases.

The proposed regulations, which are generally proposed to be effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, include guidance for determining the base erosion payments that will give rise to annual base erosion tax benefits. Prop. Reg. § 1.59A-3(b) applies the same four categories of base erosion payments found in section 59A(d) for amounts paid or accrued to a related foreign party. The two categories that should affect the most taxpayers are the general category for currently deductible items and the special category for the acquisition of depreciable or amortizable property. With respect to this latter category, the acquisition price of the property will constitute the base erosion payment, but only the amount of any depreciation or amortization deductions claimed in a tax year will produce a base erosion tax benefit for purposes of computing the BEAT.

Continue Reading Proposed BEAT Regulations | Tax-Free Transactions May Give Rise to a Liability

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of December 10 –14, 2018:

December 10, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2018-99, providing interim guidance on sections 274 and 512 of the Code, as amended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, dealing with nondeductibile expenses for employer-provided parking.

December 10, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2018-100, providing relief to tax-exempt organizations from penalties for underpayments related to nondeductible expenses for employer-provided parking under section 512 of the Code, as amended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

December 12, 2018: The IRS posted a set of FAQs to its website, answering questions regarding return filing and payment obligations under the transition tax of section 965 of the Code.

December 13, 2018: The IRS issued proposed regulations revising withholding requirements under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

December 13, 2018: The IRS issued proposed regulations providing guidance on the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) of section 59A of the Code, enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

December 13, 2018: The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2019-10, providing procedures for an insurance company to obtain automatic consent to change its accounting method to comply with section 807(f) of the Code, as amended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

December 14, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2018-96, providing a phase-out schedule for the qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicle credit on vehicles sold by Tesla, Inc.

December 14, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2019-01, providing initial guidance on issues, arising from the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, related to previously taxed earnings and profits under section 959 of the Code.

December 14, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2019-02, providing the 2019 optional standard mileage rates for use in computing deductible expenses in operating an automobile, plus related information.

December 14, 2018: The IRS issued Notice 2019-03, providing the monthly update to interest rates used for pension plan funding and distribution purposes.

December 14, 2018: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Le Chen in our DC office for this week’s roundup.

On September 12, 2018, McDermott held the second Tax in the City® Seattle event this year and was pleased to welcome our partner Nina Siewert from our Frankfurt office to join US panelists Elizabeth Chao, Britt Haxton, Kristen Hazel, Sandra McGill and Diann Smith. The team’s key takeaways include:

  • Taxation of the Digital Economy – In March, the European Union proposed a 3 percent interim tax on digital services and a long-term expansion to the definition of a permanent establishment to include a “significant digital presence.” These proposals are unlikely to be passed during 2018. In the meantime, individual countries have passed or are considering unilateral measures to tax digital services.
  • Post-Wayfair – The Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision is good news for states, brick and mortar retailers and software compliance companies, and bad news for online retailers, start-ups and marketplace providers. Its impact on localities and foreign sellers remain to be seen.
  • Taxation of Multinationals: New Developments in US Tax Reform – Taxpayers should consider issues related to the new Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT), including whether royalties can be excluded from the BEAT, whether netting or a look-through concept should apply to BEAT; and how BEAT applies to cost-sharing agreements. The section 965 proposed regulations provide guidance about how basis adjustments apply to controlled foreign corporations (CFCs).
  • The Multilateral Instrument (MLI) – US taxpayers should be familiar with the MLI, which goes into effect in 2019. In order for the MLI to apply, both countries must sign the MLI and must opt into the same treaty provisions.

Continue Reading European Partner Joins Tax in the City® for Last Seattle Event of 2018

The second meeting of McDermott’s Tax in the City® initiative in Seattle was held on May 22, 2018 at the Amazon headquarters. McDermott established Tax in the City® in 2014 as a discussion and networking group for women in tax aimed to foster collaboration and mentorship, and to facilitate in-person connections and roundtable events around the country. With the highest attendance rate of any Tax in the City® event to date, the May meeting featured a CLE/CPE presentation about Ethical Considerations around Tax Reform by Elizabeth Chao, Kirsten Hazel, Jane May and Erin Turley, followed by a roundtable discussion about recent tax reform insights led by Britt HaxtonSandra McGill and Diann Smith.

Here’s what we covered at last week’s Tax in the City® Seattle:

  • Tax Reform: Ethical Considerations – Because of tax reform, taxpayers face increased uncertainty and will likely face increased IRS/state scrutiny for their 2017 & 2018 returns. Therefore, it’s crucial for taxpayers to be intentional about post-reform planning and compliance, including by coordinating among various departments (federal tax, state and local tax, employee benefits, treasury, operations, etc.). Taxpayers should understand the weight of various IRS/state revenue authority guidance, the IRS’s authority to issue retroactive regulations within 18 months of passing legislation, and how to take reasonable positions in the absence of guidance. They should also understand when the IRS has longer than three years to assess tax, including when there is an omission of global intangible low taxed income (GILTI) or when the tax relates to the section 965 transition tax.
  • Tax Reform Changes to Employee Compensation and Benefit Deductions – Post-tax reform, all employees of US public companies, private companies with US publicly traded debt, and foreign issuers with ADRs traded on the US market are covered employees subject to the $1 million limit for deductible compensation. Though a grandfather rule applies if existing contracts are not materially modified, key questions about how to apply this rule remain. Tax reform eliminated the employer deduction for transportation subsidies (other than bicycle subsidies). It also reduced employers’ ability to deduct meal and entertainment expenses, and removed employers’ and employees’ ability to deduct moving expenses.
  • Supreme Court Update: Wayfair – Jurisdiction to Tax – Following the Wayfair oral arguments, it is difficult to predict whether the Supreme Court will uphold as constitutional South Dakota’s tax on online retailers. Wayfair raises the fundamental question of when the courts should settle tax issues, and when they should wait for Congress to act.
  • Interaction of Cross-Border Tax Reform Provisions – Income of a US multinational is subject to varying rates of US tax depending on where it is earned. The US parent’s income from selling to US customers will be subject to the full rate of 21 percent and its income from selling to foreign customers will generally be subject to the foreign derived intangible income (FDII) rate of 13.125 percent. If the income is earned by a controlled foreign corporation (CFC), then amounts above a deemed tangible asset return generally will be subject to 10.5 percent US tax as GILTI. Taxpayers cannot analyze these provisions in isolation. Because the new provisions sometimes interact in unintuitive ways, it is crucial to do models to determine the impact of various transactions. For instance, if the US parent must pay a royalty to a CFC, then that payment may cause the base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT) to apply, which could eliminate any tax benefit from having an intangible return earned by the CFC.
  • Tax Reform: Spotlight on Partnerships – Several tax reform provisions do not clearly indicate how they apply to partnerships. One key question is whether the 50 percent GILTI deduction should be applied at the partner or partnership level.
  • EU Proposal to Tax Income from Digital Commerce – On March 21, the European Commission made two proposals regarding the taxation of digital activities in the EU. First, it proposed expanding the definition of permanent establishment (PE) to include companies that have no physical presence in a country but meet a minimum threshold of annual revenues or users there (a digital PE).  Second, it proposed a 3 percent tax on gross revenues from the sale of data generated from user-provided information, digital activities which allow users to interact with one another, and online advertising.

We invite all tax professionals who identify as female to continue the conversation and share tax developments with the official LinkedIn group for Tax in the City®! Click here to join.

The next Tax in the City® meeting will take place in New York on June 21. Please contact Mia Dubinets if you’d like to be added to the New York Tax in the City® mailing list, and register for the June event. Additionally, stay tuned for information regarding an inaugural Dallas Tax in the City® meeting in fall 2018!

The recently enacted 2017 tax reform act imposes a new “base erosion and anti-abuse tax” (BEAT) on large corporations. The BEAT operates as a limited-scope alternative minimum tax, applied by adding back to taxable income certain deductible payments made to related foreign persons. Although positioned as an anti-abuse rule, the BEAT presents challenges for a wide range of common business structures employed by both non-US-based and US-based multinationals.

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A House-Senate conference committee has reached agreement on a compromise version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which includes substantial changes to the corporate and international business taxation rules. The stage now appears to be set for final passage and enactment of the legislation before the end of 2017.

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