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).

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.


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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.


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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

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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