The review of these regulations by the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review is progressing, with over 500 pages of proposed regulations to be released publicly this week.
Lafayette G. “Chip” Harter III, Treasury deputy assistance secretary for international tax affairs, provided comments on Nov. 9 at the Federal Tax Conference sponsored by the University of Chicago Law School.
The business interest expense limitation, currently applied by many at the individual CFC level, would be determined on a look-through method, with net external interest calculated at the CFC group level and allocated to CFC’s, with a tiering-up approach.
The proposed Reg’s will be very complex and long, with over 500 additional pages of BEAT, FTC, etc. also to be issued later this month.
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.
Alot of guidance is virtually rolling off the press!
- PTI guidance for year-end financial statements
- Foreign tax credits, including application of GILTI
- Section 163(j) interest guidance
- Proposed regulations on PTI application
- Section 250 guidance
The guidance will be complex and lengthy, and it represents only one step towards achieving more certainty into the complex nuances of the US Tax Act. EY’s Global Tax Alert provides a summary 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
- Anti-abuse rules
- 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!)
- Penalty protection
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.
The latest US tax updates are summarized in EY’s Global Tax Alert, with a referenced link
- Tax Reform 2.0: House is moving forward with three separate bills, hoping at least one will pass, although Senate will not review prior to Nov. midterm elections
- GILTI: Additional rules re: interaction of Foreign Tax Credit and GILTI by Dec. 31, 2018 (It is hoped that the calculation of Sec. 163(j) interest limitations will be addressed re: application on a separate CFC basis, consolidated basis, or other method)
- GILTI: Final regulations June 2019
- IRS plans to establish separate webpages for the major international tax provisions enacted by the 2017 tax reform to provide informal taxpayer guidance. The webpages will follow a similar format that was adopted by the IRS to offer informal information regarding the TCJA’s transition tax.
- IRS: Restructuring the Advance Pricing and Mutual Agreement program (APMA) to consolidate resources and improve internal processes, including economists.
There is still significant uncertainty re: Sec. 965 repatriation tax, GILTI, FDII and BEAT provisions by taxpayers. It is hopeful that meaningful guidance will be issued shortly.
The US Tax Act GILTI regulations are under review, and should be released before the end of Q3, that will require review and incorporation into the annual ETR. The regulations are expected to address a consolidated, vs. separate shareholder, approach for the calculation as well as some guidance re: US expense allocation. EY’s Global Tax Alert summarizes the status of this guidance.
Additionally, guidance was recently released on Sec. 162(m) compensation, also necessitating review for Q3 reporting.
The proposed regulations that were released for Sec. 965, deemed repatriation tax, are expected to be followed up by final regulations by June 2019. The third quarter 2018 marks the end of the SAB 118 period to finalize such amounts, notwithstanding additional guidance in the future. Note, these regulations should provide definitive guidance on some pending items (inclusion of PTI for a E&P deficit foreign corporation; calculation of Sec. 986 gain for Sec. 965b E&P) that may require amending 2017 corporate income tax returns.
Significant tax developments have recently transpired for US / international tax.
- Section 965 Proposed Regulations have been issued, including discussion of potential stock basis elections that are critical to review (reference link).
- Proposed Regulations issued for capital expensing provisions of US Tax Act (reference link)
- IRS has published its statutory interpretation of their previously issued FAQ Q&A that 2017 overpayments of federal income tax are allocated solely to transitional tax liability in its entirety prior to allocating such amount to its 2018 federal income tax liability without transition tax. In summary, the reasoning is that the transition tax is a 2017 liability, notwithstanding the ability to make an election to pay in installments. Considerable debate is currently ongoing re: this latest development, as it seemingly obviates the election methodology solely for one instance of overpayments, yet preserving the ability of deferred payments if a prior year overpayment is not present.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the Tax Court’s holding in Altera v. Commissioner, and upheld a 2003 regulation that requires participants in a cost sharing arrangement (CSA) to treat stock-based compensation costs (SBC costs) as compensable. The Appellate Court concluded that the regulations were valid under general administrative law principles and that under current law, SBC costs should be treated as shared by participants in a CSA. It is important to note that the Tax Court’s taxpayer-favorable opinion is still precedent and authority for taxpayers located in geographical areas outside of the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction.
The IRS Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) certification portal is now live. The FATCA Registration System has been updated to allow for the completion and submission of the certification of pre-existing accounts and periodic certifications. The IRS is recommending that all FATCA registered entities should monitor their message board for notifications. The registration system allows for the establishment of an online account for financial institutions to register with the IRS, renew their agreement, and complete and submit FATCA certifications.
EY’s Global Tax Alert discusses some of the latest developments.
Technical and lengthy documentation re: the above highlights will need critical reading and review in the very near future for US / international tax professionals.