US and international accounting standards have introduced the CAM process into the audit process, some of which include income tax accounts as a selected disclosure due to their materiality and the nature of being especially complex, challenging, subjective or complex auditor judgment (which is increasingly the norm for international tax rules)
For each CAM communicated in the auditor’s report, the auditor must:
Identify the CAM, describe the principal considerations that led the auditor to determine that the matter is a CAM,
Describe how the CAM was addressed in the audit, and
Refer to the relevant financial accounts/disclosures that relate to the CAM
As income taxes become more complex and subjective, including the effect of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), MLI amendments to double tax treaties including permanent establishment (PE), OECD guidance and tax audit issues, a tax CAM may become more significant going forward, as it is an annual determination.
To the extent income tax is a CAM, there will be specific disclosures, preceded by more diligent review of the tax accounts, subjective determinations, etc. as part of the normal tax provision process.
PCAOB summary guidance and the relevant guidance links are referenced.
The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) completed its review of final and temporary foreign tax credit (FTC) regulations on 29 October, including R&D expense allocation. These rules are imminent.
Final Sec. 385 regulations were issued, removing the final documentation requirements
Sec. 385 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was issued re: Distribution Regulations
The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation staff released the General Explanation of Certain Tax Legislation Enacted in the 115th Congress (JCS-2-19) on 31 October. Colloquially known as the Blue Book, the publication includes a description of all tax legislation enacted in the 115th Congress, with the exception of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Public Law 115-97), which was covered in a separate General Explanation released in December 2018.
A Brexit extension was approved this week, with the UK’s Article 50 period (after which the UK will leave the EU) legally extended by the EU until 31 January 2020.
EY’s Global Tax Alert provides more details, with a reference link.
The FTC regulations, to be issued in final and proposed form, will be complex, long and will provide certainty, as well as more questions into this complex area.
As 2019 year-end is quickly approaching, there are important items of legislation still pending, including the following:
US Tax Act (TCJA) technical corrections, including the ability to apply transition tax overpayments (several Republicans and Democrats have already agreed to sponsor a relevant bill), and CFC downward attribution rules
Tax extenders, including the important look-through rules for CFC’s, which expires at the end of this year
Additional tax treaties will be reviewed, following the recent ratification of Spain and Japan treaties with the US
Final BEAT regulations, with new proposed regulations in some areas
Section 163(j) rules for application to CFC’s
GILTI high-tax exclusions
Final foreign tax credit regulations
Section 245A dividends received deduction regulations
FDII and anti-hybrid regulations
The above items are important as stand-alone items, and represent a significant amount of regulations to absorb prior to year-end if they can be issued this year.
These changes may significantly impact the annual ETR of multinationals in the fourth quarter, as well as introduce new TCJA concepts into treaties and complex Limitation of Benefit (LOB) clauses therein.
The TCJA complexities, and interpretations thereto, continue this year and next, posing compliance and planning uncertainties going forward.
EY’s Global Tax Alert provided additional details, as referenced.
IRS and Treasury released, on June 14th, a set of proposed and final Regulations on GILT, in addition to Temporary and Proposed Regulations on Section 245A that relate, partly, to GILTI. A copy of the proposals are provided for reference, with some highlights to date:
REG 106282-18 is a Notice of proposed rule making with temporary regulations that limit the dividends received deduction available for certain dividends received from current or former controlled foreign corporations (CFCs). Per the Notice, “only small U.S. taxpayers with fiscal year CFCs that transfer assets in related party transactions during the gap period, or U.S. taxpayers that transfer more than 10 percent of their stock of a CFC in a taxable year or U.S. taxpayers that reduce their ownership of stock of a CFC by more than 10 percent, have the potential to be affected by these regulations.”
REG 101828-19, Notice of proposed rule making re: domestic partnership treatment ( adopting an aggregate approach), and proposed GILTI regulations for gross income subject to a high rate of foreign tax. Note the GILTI final regulations adopt the GILTI high tax exclusions of the original proposed regulations without change, however the proposed regulations would allow an expanded election whereby the high-tax determination is made at the QBU level. An election made with respect to a CFC applies with respect to each high-taxed QBU of the CFC, and a U.S. shareholder must make the same election with respect to each of its CFCs. This high-tax change would apply to taxable years of foreign corporations beginning on or after the date that final regulations are published in the Federal Register.
TD9865, Final temporary regulations under Section 245A
TD9866, Final and temporary regulations re: GILTI guidance, pro-rata shares of Subpart F income and certain foreign tax credit provisions. Note that future guidance is reserved re: allocation and apportionment of expenses for the foreign tax credit limitation under Section 904.
Future guidance is expected to clarify that Sec. 250 does not apply to CFCs as an allocable deduction
Final regulations retain the current GILTI high tax exclusion, noting that the rules prescribed by a separate notice of proposed rule making for an expanded exclusion cannot be used until the relevant regulations are effective.
De minimis and full inclusion rules are clarified
The effect of a qualified deficit or a chain deficit in determining gross tested income is disregarded, and the final regulations are revised accordingly
Final regulations retain the tested loss QBAI exclusion, although there is a reduction to tested interest expense of a CFC for a “tested loss QBAI amount”
Final regulations retain the netting approach for determining specified interest expense, with certain modifications
Final regulations define “interest expense” and “interest income” by reference to Section 163(j)
Rules for basis adjustment of tested loss CFCs will be a separate project
The regulations/notice of proposed rule making are extensive, complex and represent over 500 pages of guidance, although certain provisions and clarifications represent favorable rules based on comments received.
The rules clarify current law, comments received and explanations why they were, or were not, considered. Thus, a detailed review refreshes such insights into the long history of the international tax provisions.
Complex new guidance continually is rolling off the press for scrutiny, especially for year-end compliance. EY’s Global Tax Alert provides a summary of recent developments, references to IRS Notice 2019-01, IRS FAQ’s, and Proposed Regulations for BEAT are provided for reference.
Proposed BEAT Regulations provide certainty re: Service Cost Method payments and the mark-up component that would be includable. BEAT is not limited to cash payments, and would also include amounts paid or accrued using any other form of consideration including property, stock or the assumption of a liability.
Notice 2019-01 was issued to address the rules for repatriations, generally arising from Sec. 959(c)(1), (2) and (3) in that order based on a LIFO approach. Compliance complexity has expanded significantly, demanding more time from multinational tax departments that will require added resources, technology demands and external advisor costs.
A new House Ways and Means tax package was introduced Dec. 10th, preserving the (correct) notion that tax year 2017 overpayments would not exclusively be attributed to the deemed repatriation tax without offset to 2018 regular tax liability. The package would also provide technical guidance for downward attribution rules.
IRS FAQ’s have been updated, attached for reference.
The IRS on 13 December issued proposed regulations (REG-132881-17) under Code Sections 1471–1474 (FATCA) and Sections 1441–1461.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will release a major update on its work on the taxation of the digital economy at the end of January 2019, according to Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration.
The Tax Executives Institute (TEI) provided insgihtful comments to the recently issued GILTI Proposed Regulations, addressing the following main points:
Proposed regulation section 1.951A-3(h)(1) (the “temporarily held property rule”) provides that temporarily held property acquired with “a principal purpose” of reducing a U.S. shareholder’s GILTI inclusion will be disregarded
Basis adjustment rule for tested losses
Only used tested losses should increase Subpart F E&P
Basis reductions should only apply to actual transfers of stock
Deemed Sec. 367(d) expense should reduce tested income
Prop. Reg. § 1.951A-2(c)(5) anti-abuse rule (and authority to issue such rule)
TEI’s comments are well reasoned and should be reviewed to further understand the complexities, and need for added clarification going forward.
Links to the proposed Foreign Tax Credit Regulations, and EY’s detailed Global Tax Alert, are provided for reference.
To the extent there are perceived favorable items, (i.e. including GILTI income and stock as subject to exemption rules), there are unfavorable items (i.e. exemption rules also affecting the FDII calculation and overall complexity).
From a multinational company perspective, these complex rules require almost immediate application for financial statement purposes while regular tax compliance/provision systems struggle to catch up. Thus, new technology will be required to prepare non-intuitive calculations that are still uncertain for many to fully comprehend and apply.
The IRS recently released Proposed Regulations on Section 163(j): an interest limitation that is applicable for the calculation of Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (“GILTI”) under the US Tax Act (“TCJA”). A copy of the Proposed Regulations are provided for reference, highlighting some areas of clarity/surprise. Comments are due within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register, with a public hearing set for Feb. 25, 2019.
Former Proposed Regulations for Sec. 163(j), never finalized, are withdrawn
Proposed Regulations may be elected for 2018
General rule-Same as C corp; election (alternative method) for a CFC group
One limit for a consolidated group (affiliated, non-cons. group, or partnership n/a)
Adjusted Taxable Income (“ATI”) requires an adjustment for:
Capitalizable Sec. 263A costs re: inventory/sales
sales/dispositions of certain property
Sec. 78 gross-up, Sec. 951(a) Subpart F, Sec. 951A GILTI, Sec. 250(a)(1)(B) deduction, without regard to Sec. 250(a)(2) limitation, related to GILTI
Upper tier CFC members include “excess interest” of lower tier CFC’s
Further guidance re: ordering of Code provisions, including BEAT, will be issued
A “new” definition of interest is provided, including:
Sec. 1275(a) and Reg. Sec. 1.1275-1(d) instruments
Accrued market discount
Guaranteed payments of Sec. 702(c)
Income/loss re: hedges of interest-bearing assets/liabilities
Swaps, separated into a loan and payment swap (collateralized swap n/a)
Debt issuance costs
Sec. 382 attribution for pre/post-change periods
Sec. 381 includes the attribute for disallowed interest expense carryovers
No effect on E&P
Sec. 163(j) limit at partnership level
Intercompany CFC debt is included as interest income and expense, thus resulting in a net -0-; other debt will be a net adjustment to be allocated to separate CFC’s
New Form 8990 will be required
The most contentious items, as noted in recent days, are the adjustment of Sec. 263A depreciation (thus a factory does not add back depreciation in EBITDA), add back of Sec. 78, Sec. 951(a), Sec. 951A as reduced by the relevant Sec. 250 amount, complexity including excess ATI adjustments, and the new definition of interest, which includes interest equivalent instruments/transactions that will be included as a potential limitation.
The 439 pages require several readings for a general comprehension, aided by webinars and summaries from various advisory firms.
IRS recently published proposed regulations under Section 956 (deemed dividend provision), with both good and bad news in further alignment with the US Tax Act enacted at the end of 2017. At that time, it was hoped that Section 956 would be abolished, but a late-breaking change in the final law was put in place for Section 956 to remain. This update achieves parity with the participation exemption system provided for dividend distributions.
Good news: Corporate US shareholders are excluded from the application of Section 956 to the extent necessary to maintain symmetry between the taxation of actual repatriations and effective repatriations. Thus, the amount otherwise determined under Section 956 is reduced to the extent that the US shareholder had received a distribution qualifying for a Section 245A deduction from the CFC in an amount equal to the Section 956 amount. (i.e. the distribution still needs to be a dividend)
Bad news: Section 956 is still in the Code, along with potential direct/indirect tax consequences from guarantees, loans, etc. To the extent such amount is not a “dividend” for US tax purposes, there are traps still present to warily avoid.
There are planning opportunities (i.e. tax consequences from a loan vs. an actual dividend, etc.), however there are also traps to avoid, so it is safe to assume that diligence is still required for this Code section.
A reference to the proposed Regulations are provided for reference.
The Tax Executives Institute (TEI) has provided numerous comments re: Sec 965 positions as written in the law, supplemented by additional guidance.
Summary of comments:
Cash position definition
Foreign Tax Credit, double-counting of Earnings & Profits
Dividends paid from a CFC to another CFC or a third party
Hovering deficit taxes
Stock basis election should be extended to 180 days, vs. 90 days per IRS guidance
Changes in methods of accounting
CFC attribute mismatches
Foreign tax credit adjustment
“Applicable percentage” guidance
Average FX rate, vs. year-end spot rate, used for measurement
2017 overpayments applied automatically to transition tax (Still an issue!)
The letter provides background and examples related to the comment areas, and should be reviewed to gain a further understanding of the complex dynamics that will hopefully be mitigated via the suggestions.