Following our post, The (Potential) Demise of Auer Deference?, we wrote an expanded article on tax reform and deference for Law360. The Law360 article, “Deference Principles: Tax Litigation’s Next Battleground,” can be accessed here.
On January 2, 2019, the outgoing Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady (R-TX), released the Tax Technical and Clerical Corrections Act (the Bill), addressing several technical issues associated with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97) (TCJA). The Bill includes certain provisions that, if enacted, would affirm Congress’ intent that taxpayers with an overpayment with respect to an installment payment of the transition tax under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 965 should be able to claim a credit or refund with respect to such amount. The provisions in the Bill with respect to Code Section 965 overpayments are largely consistent with similar draft legislation introduced on November 26, 2018 (the Retirement, Savings and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018 and the Taxpayer First Act of 2018, or H.R. 88; see prior discussion here). In particular, the Bill provides that where a taxpayer that made an election under Code Section 965(h)(1) to pay the net tax liability under Section 965 in installments has filed a request for a credit or refund with respect to an overpayment, the Internal Revenue Service cannot take any installment into account as a liability for purposes of determining whether an overpayment exists. If enacted, the Bill would permit taxpayers to claim a refund or credit with respect to an installment payment of the taxpayer’s transition tax under Code Section 965. Continue Reading Section 965 Transition Tax Overpayment Addressed in Technical Corrections
On November 26, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed regulations (Proposed Regulations) pursuant to section 163(j). Public Law 115-97, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), amended Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 163 by modifying paragraph (j) to limit the amount of business interest a taxpayer may deduct for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. The amendment generally limits the deduction for business interest to the sum of a taxpayer’s business interest income and thirty percent of a taxpayer’s adjusted taxable income (ATI) for the taxable year.
The Code Section 163(j) limit is also increased by a taxpayer’s “floor plan financing interest,” which is certain interest used to finance the acquisition of motor vehicles held for sale or lease. Code Section 163(j)(8) defines ATI as a taxpayer’s taxable income computed without regard to: any item of income, gain, deduction, or loss which is not properly allocable to a trade or business; any business interest or business interest income; any net operating loss deduction under Code Section 172; the amount of any deduction for qualified business income under Code Section 199A; and in the case of taxable years beginning before January 1, 2022, any deduction allowable for depreciation, amortization, or depletion.
The Proposed Regulations address a variety of issues, including the following:
- Trade or Business. New Code Section 163(j) defines business interest income and expense as amounts that are “properly allocable to a trade or business,” but it does not define trade or business.” The Proposed Regulations define a “trade or business” by reference to Code Section 162 because Code Section 162(a) provides the “most established and developed definition of trade or business.”
- Interest. The Proposed Regulations define “interest” broadly to include other ordinary income items similar to interest, such as substitute interest payments in securities lending transactions, loan commitment fees, debt issuance costs, Code Section 707(c) guaranteed payments for the use of capital, and factoring income. Proposed Regulation § 1.163(j)-3 introduces rules, including ordering rules, for the relationship between Code Section 163(j) and other provisions affecting interest.
- S Corporations. Proposed Regulation § 1.163(j)-6 provides guidance regarding the application of the Code Section 163(j) deduction to partnerships and S corporations.
- CFCs. The Proposed Regulations provide that Code Section 163(j) may apply to limit the deductibility of a controlled foreign corporation’s (CFC’s) business interest expense, thereby potentially limiting a CFC’s deduction of business interest for purposes of computing subpart F income and tested income under Code Section 951A(c)(2)(A).
- ECI. The Proposed Regulations also provide that Code Section 163(j) applies to foreign corporations and other foreign persons for purposes of computing income effectively connected with a US trade or business.
The Proposed Regulations provide a variety of other rules. Some of the notable provisions include rules applicable to REITs, RICs, tax-exempt entities and consolidated group members. They also provide rules regarding the disallowed business interest expense carryforwards of C corporations and rules regarding elections for excepted trades or businesses and rules for allocating expenses and income between non-excepted and excepted trades or businesses.
Practice Point: With the amendment of Code Section 163(j), the ability of some taxpayers to deduct interest on intercompany debt has been diminished substantially. This may require a taxpayer to reevaluate funding and capital structures, and may necessitate a new strategy.
On August 21, 2018, the IRS issued guidance regarding recent statutory changes made to Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code. Overall, Notice 2018-68 strictly interprets the Section 162(m) grandfathering rule under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Public companies and other issuers subject to these deduction limitations will want to closely consider this guidance in connection with filing upcoming periodic reports with securities regulators. Further action to support existing tax positions or adjustments to deferred tax asset reporting in financial statements may be warranted in light of this guidance.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been busy in recent months working on implementing the recent tax reform legislation. The latest announcement by the IRS focuses on the $10,000 cap on the amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted for federal income tax purposes. In a press release and release of guidance in the form of Notice 2018-54, the IRS announced that proposed regulations will be issued addressing this issue to help taxpayers understand the relationship between federal charitable contribution deductions in exchange for a tax credit against state and local taxes owed. The press release, Notice and forthcoming proposed regulations are in response to workarounds by various high property tax states allowing local governments to set up charitable organizations that can accept property tax statements. Based on these materials, it is anticipated that the IRS will disagree with the workarounds:
The Treasury Department and the IRS intend to propose regulations addressing the federal income tax treatment of transfers to funds controlled by state and local governments (or other state-specified transferees) that the transferor can treat in whole or in part as satisfying state and local tax obligations. The proposed regulations will make clear that the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, informed by substance-over-form principles, govern the federal income tax treatment of such transfers. The proposed regulations will assist taxpayers in understanding the relationship between the federal charitable contribution deduction and the new statutory limitation on the deduction for state and local tax payments.
The IRS’s website provides information on the latest IRS news releases, fact sheets and statements. Additionally, we have a dedicated webpage with insights on significant developments related to tax reform.
As the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has rolled out at the federal level, its impacts have been felt widely in the field of state and local taxation. McDermott’s Inside Salt blog has published a series of posts over the last few months addressing the different effects of the TCJA at the state level throughout the country, which can be found here. This week, Inside Salt addresses TCJA’s effects in New York, Idaho, Iowa and Minnesota.
For McDermott’s comprehensive insights into federal tax reform, please visit our federal tax reform website.
On February 7, 2018, the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) released its second quarter update to the 2017-2018 Priority Guidance Plan to identify tax issues it believes should be addressed through regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, notices and other published administrative guidance. The Priority Guidance Plan contains projects the Treasury hopes to complete during the 12-month period from July 2, 2017 through June 30, 2018. We previously posted on the first quarter 2017-2018 Priority Guidance plan here.
Most of the projects do not involve the issuance of new regulations, instead focus on guidance to taxpayers on a variety of tax issues important to individuals and businesses in the form of: (1) revocations of final, temporary, or proposed regulations (for our prior coverage, see here); (2) notices, revenue rulings and revenue procedures; (3) simplifying and burden reducing amendments to existing regulations; (4) proposed regulations; or (5) final regulations adopting proposed regulations. The initial 2017-2108 Priority Guidance Plan consisted of 198 guidance projects, 30 of which have already been completed. The second quarter update reflects 29 additional projects, including priority items as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) legislation enacted on December 22, 2017, and guidance published or released from October 13, 2017 through December 31, 2017.