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.