Family Re-Attribution Limitation Under §318 | International Tax Lawyers

This article explores the second limitation on the IRC (Internal Revenue Code) §318 re-attribution rule – family re-attribution limitation.

Family Re-Attribution Limitation: General §318 Re-Attribution Rule

The general §318 re-attribution rule states that a constructively-owned corporate stock should be treated as actually owned for the purpose of further re-attribution of stock to other persons. §318(a)(5)(A). This re-attribution should occur with respect to other persons considered related persons under §318.

As I stated in another article, unless checked, the general §318 re-attribution rule may ultimately cause persons completely unrelated to the actual owners of corporate stock to be considered as constructive owners of this stock. For this reason, the IRS imposed a number of limitations on this re-attribution rule. One of the limitations concerns specifically §318 family attribution rules.

Family Re-Attribution Limitation: No Family Re-Attribution

Under §318(a)(5)(B), corporate stock constructively owned by a person pursuant to the §318 family attribution rules is not considered as owned by this person for the purpose of re-attributing stock ownership to another family member.

This rule is clear: stock attributed to one family member cannot be re-attributed for the second time to another family member. The idea of this rule is also very clear – to prevent re-attribution of stock to remote family members.

Family Re-Attribution Limitation: Examples

Let’s look at a couple of hypothetical examples to gain deeper understanding of the family re-attribution limitation.

First hypothetical: grandfather GF owns 100 shares of X corporation. Under the family attribution rules, this ownership is attributed to GF’s son, A. However, due to §318(a)(5)(B), this constructively-owned stock cannot be attributed for the second time to A’s wife and A’s son.

Second hypothetical: X, a C-corporation has 200 shares outstanding; A owns 100 shares, S (A’s son) owns 40 shares and D (A’s daughter) owns 60 shares. Under §318(a)(1)(A)(ii): A actually owns 100 shares and constructively owns his children’s 100 shares; S actually owns 40 shares and constructively owns his mother’s 100 shares; D actually owns 60 shares and constructively owns her mother’s 100 shares.

However, due to the re-attribution limitations under §318(a)(5)(B), the shares A constructively owns are not re-attributed from one child to another. Hence, 40 shares of S are not re-attributed to D through their father’s constructive ownership of shares actually owned by S. Similarly, D’s 60 shares are not re-attributed to S through A’s constructive ownership of D’s shares.

Family Re-Attribution Limitation: Interaction with the §318 Option Attribution Rule

It is important to understand that §318(a)(5)(B) does not per se prohibit the re-attribution of stock to another family member. Rather, this re-attribution limitation only applies to stock constructively owned under the §318 family attribution rules. However, the stock may still be re-attributed to another family member through the operation of another rule such as the §318 option attribution rule.

The most prominent example of such a situation is situations where ownership of stock is imputed under both §318 family attribution rule and §318 option attribution rule at the same time. Under §318(a)(5)(D), if a stock is attributed under both, §318 family attribution rules and §318 option attribution rules, then the option rules take priority. This means that, if both rules apply, the option rule governs and the person is deemed to own stock under the option rule rather than under the family rule.

In situations where corporate stock is deemed to be owned under both, family and option attribution rules, the option rule will allow the re-attribution of stock to another family member. In such cases, §318(a)(5)(B) is powerless to stop the application of re-attribution due to the precedence of the option rules.

Family Re-Attribution Limitation: Example of the Option Rule Family Re-Attribution

Let’s look at an example to illustrate the §318 option attribution rule and the §318 family attribution rules interaction with respect to family re-attribution limitation. Let’s suppose that S, son of F, directly owns 100 shares of X, a C-corporation; F has an option to buy all 100 shares from S; D, F’s daughter and S’ sister, does not actually own any shares of X or a contract to buy any shares of X. The issue is whether D is deemed to own any shares of X.

F constructively owns all of his son’s shares of X under the family attribution rules and the option attribution rules. Normally, no shares would be attributed to D due to the family re-attribution limitations, but, in this case, F actually owns an option to buy all 100 shares. The option attribution rule holds preeminence over the family re-attribution limitation. Hence, F is deemed to own S’ shares under the option rule first and foremost; as a consequence, these shares are then re-attributed to D. Thus, D is treated as an owner of all of S’ 100 shares of X.

Family Re-Attribution Limitation: Advanced Summary of Family Attribution Rules

Now that we have a more advanced understanding of the family attribution rules and the limits placed on the family re-attribution limitations, we can modify our earlier definition of the §318 family attribution rules in the following manner: where A and B are family members within the meaning of §318(a)(1), A is deemed to own: (1) all corporate stocks actually owned by B; (2) all corporate stocks constructively owned by B under the §318 option attribution rules; and (3) all stocks constructively owned by B pursuant to §318(a)(2) – i.e. due to the fact that he is a beneficiary of a trust, a partner in a partnership or a shareholder of a corporation.

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US international tax law is incredibly complex and the penalties for noncompliance are severe. This means that an attempt to navigate through the maze of US international tax laws without assistance of an experienced professional will most likely produce unfavorable and even catastrophic results.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with US international tax law. We are a highly experienced, creative and ethical team of tax professionals dedicated to helping our clients resolve US international tax compliance issues. Led by our founder, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen (an international tax attorney), we have helped hundreds of clients with assets in over 70 countries around the world, and we can help you!

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Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) US Tax Classification | Foreign Trust Lawyer

This article continues a series of articles concerning US tax classification of unusual foreign entities; our focus is on the determination whether these entities should be classified as foreign business entities or foreign trusts. Today’s topic is the Hindu Undivided Family, the preferred legal entity for managing family estates for a large number of wealthy Indian families.

A word of caution, the description of the Hindu Undivided Family (“HUF”) provided below is necessarily a general one. This article sacrifices detail for the sake of clarity.

Hindu Undivided Family: Purpose

The main purpose of HUF is to manage family-owned property. I want to emphasize that this is not a property owned by one or two members individually or jointly; rather, the entire family owns the property.

Hindu Undivided Family: Lineal Descendants From a Common Ancestor

HUF is an entity that applies to and gives rights only to lineal descendants from a common ancestor as well as their wives and unmarried daughters. Married daughters are not considered members of their fathers’ families; instead, upon marriage, they become members of their husbands’ families.

These lineal descendants are called coparceners. They have the right to enjoy distributions from HUF and even have a right to demand partition in the HUF property.

Hindu Undivided Family: Management

The head of the family (called “karta”) manages the HUF property on behalf of the family. Usually, karta is a senior male, but recently women also started to occupy this role. Karta is prohibited from contributing property to HUF.

Hindu Undivided Family: Legal Classification Under Indian Law

HUF exists as a separate juridical entity for Indian tax purposes. It is defined on the basis of Hindu personal law. The Hindu personal law states that the joint and undivided family is a normal condition of Hindu society where all members of a Hindu family are living in a state of union.

It is important to emphasize this special legal position of HUF, because all other Indian entities are defined in the Indian company law. HUF is an exception in having Hindu personal law as its legal basis.

Hindu Undivided Family: Potential US Tax Classification

As of the time of this writing, the IRS has not ruled on the proper US tax classification of HUF. Therefore, at this time, we can only speculate about how the IRS will treat HUF under US tax law.

Under 26 CFR §301.7701-4(a) “trust” is defined as an arrangement created by will or by an inter vivos declaration whereby trustees take title to property for the purpose of protecting or conserving it for the beneficiaries under the ordinary rules provided in chancery or probate courts. Usually the beneficiaries of such a trust do no more than accept the benefits thereof and are not the voluntary planners or creators of the trust arrangement. However, the beneficiaries of such a trust may be the persons who create it and it will be recognized as a trust if it was created for the purposes of protecting or conserving the trust property for beneficiaries who stand in the same relation to the trust as they would if the trust had been created by others for them. Generally, an arrangement will be treated as a trust if it can be shown that the purpose of the arrangement is to vest in trustees responsibility for the protection and conservation of property for beneficiaries who cannot share in the discharge of this responsibility and, therefore, are not associates in a joint enterprise for the conduct of business for profit.

Thus, if it is established that HUF was created for the purpose of vesting trustees responsibility for the protection and conservation of property for beneficiaries and not to carry out business, then, it should be classified as a foreign trust under US tax law. If, however, the facts and circumstances in a particular case indicate that a HUF was established primarily for commercial purposes as opposed to the purpose of protecting or conserving property on behalf of the beneficiaries, then this HUF will most likely be classified as a business entity under §301.7701-2(a).

Additionally, there are certain additional features of HUF that may further support its classification as a foreign trust. For example, the role of karta appears to be analogous to a trustee in most cases, whereas coparceners are likely to be considered beneficiaries for US tax purposes (especially if they do not take any active role in the management of HUF property).

Thus, based on the analysis above, it appears that, in most cases, the IRS is likely to rule that HUF is a trust under US tax law. I want to emphasize the limitation “in most cases”; I believe that a US tax treatment of HUF will depend on the specific facts and circumstances concerning a specific HUF.

Hindu Undivided Family: US International Tax Compliance Implications

The precise US tax classification of HUF may have far-reaching consequences for US international tax compliance of coparceners who are US tax residents (i.e. green card holders or persons who satisfied the substantial presence test) and US citizens (collectively “US Persons”). A whole host of US international tax reporting requirements as well income tax requirements will apply to such individuals.

For example, if HUF is classified as a trust, then coparceners who are US persons may have to file Forms 3520 and 8938 as well as FBARs. Moreover, they may have to deal with the onerous consequences of the “throwback tax” on distributions of accumulated trust income. Other requirements may also apply in this situation.

If, however, HUF is classified as a corporation, then such coparceners may have to file Form 5471 and 8938. If this is a Controlled Foreign Corporation (“CFC”), they will have to deal with all kinds of anti-deferral regimes, including GILTI tax. If this is not a CFC, then the PFIC regime may be a problem. Again, additional requirements may apply in such situations.

If HUF is classified as a partnership, then Form 8865 will have to be filed every year and income from 8865 Schedule K-1 will have to be reported on such a coparcener’s US federal income tax return. Once again, additional requirements may apply in such situations.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Your US International Tax Obligations Concerning Hindu Undivided Family

If you are a coparcener who is a US Person, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help concerning your US international tax compliance. Sherayzen Law Office is a US-based tax law firm dedicated to helping clients in the United States and throughout the world with their US international tax compliance issues.

We have successfully helped hundreds of Indian clients with their US income tax compliance issues, and we can help you!

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§318 Double-Inclusion Prohibition | International Tax Lawyers Tampa FL

In a previous article, I discussed the IRC (Internal Revenue Code) §318 general rule on the re-attribution of corporate stock; in that context, I mentioned that there are certain restrictions on §318 re-attribution. Today, I would like to discuss one of such restrictions – §318 double-inclusion prohibition.

§318 Double-Inclusion Prohibition: General Re-Attribution Rule

Before we discuss the §318 double-inclusion prohibition, let’s recall the general §318 re-attribution rule. Under §318(a)(5)(A), stock constructively owned by a shareholder under any of the §318 attribution rules is deemed to be actually owned for the purposes of re-attribution to others.

The problem with this rule is that it can allow the re-attribution of stock to spread uncontrollably to include persons who have little to no relationship to the actual stock owners. This is precisely why Congress chose to impose certain limitations on the general rule so that the §318 re-attribution applies only to related persons with a real connection to the actual owners. One of these limitations is the prohibition on double-inclusion.

§318 Double-Inclusion Prohibition: Re-Attribution is Counted Only Once

Under Treas. Reg. §1.318-1(b)(2), corporate stock held by any one person will be included only once in the computation of ownership. This is the §318 double-inclusion prohibition rule.

It is important to note, however, that even though the stock ownership is counted only once, it should be counted “in the manner in which it will impute to the person concerned the largest total stock ownership”. Id.

§318 Double-Inclusion Prohibition: Example

The best way to understand the §318 double-inclusion prohibition is to look at the following example. Assume that husband and wife, H and W, equally own a partnership P (i.e. 50% each); H also owns 100% of the outstanding stocks of a C-corporation X.

Under §318(a)(1)(A)(i), W constructively owns all of her husband’s shares of X. Since H and W are partners of P, under the partnership upstream attribution rules, all stock owned by them is attributed to P. Since each spouse owns 100% of X (one actually and one constructively), does it mean that P owns 200% of X? No, this absurd result is prevented by Treas. Reg. §1.318-1(b)(2), which limits the attribution of X’s shares from H and W to P to a total of 100%.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With US International Tax Law Compliance

US international tax law is incredibly complex and the penalties for noncompliance are exceptionally severe. This means that an attempt to navigate through the maze of US international tax laws without assistance of an experienced professional will most likely produce unfavorable and even catastrophic results.

This is why you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with US international tax law. We are a highly experienced, creative and ethical team of professionals dedicated to helping our clients resolve their past, present and future US international tax compliance issues. We have helped clients with assets in over 70 countries around the world, and we can help you!

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2020 2Q IRS Interest Rates | US International Tax Law Firm

On February 28, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced that the 2020 Second Quarter IRS underpayment and overpayment interest rates (“2020 2Q IRS Interest Rates”) will not change from the first quarter of 2020. This means that, the 2020 2Q IRS interest rates will be as follows:

  • five (5) percent for overpayments (four (4) percent in the case of a corporation);
  • two and one-half (2.5) percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000;
  • five (5) percent for underpayments; and
  • seven (7) percent for large corporate underpayments.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, these interest rates are determined on a quarterly basis. The IRS used the federal short-term rate for February of 2020 to determine the 2020 2Q IRS interest rates. The IRS interest is compounded on a daily basis.

The 2020 2Q IRS interest rates are important to not just US domestic tax law, but also US international tax law. For example, the IRS will use these rates to determine how much interest a taxpayer needs to pay on an additional tax liability that arose as a result of an amendment of his US tax return through Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures and Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures. The IRS will also utilize 2020 2Q IRS interest rates with respect to the calculation of PFIC interest on Section 1291 tax.

As an international tax law firm, Sherayzen Law Office keeps track of the IRS underpayment and overpayment interest rates on a regular basis. Since our specialty is offshore voluntary disclosures, we often amend our client’s tax returns as part of an offshore voluntary disclosure process and calculate the interest owed on any additional US tax liability. We also need to take interest payments into account with respect to additional tax liability that arises out of an IRS audit.

Moreover, we very often have to do PFIC calculations for our clients under the default IRC Section 1291 methodology. This calculation requires the usage of the IRS underpayment interest rates in order to determine the amount of PFIC interest on the IRC Section 1291 tax.

Finally, it is important to point out that the IRS will use the 2020 2Q IRS interest rates to determine the amount of interest that needs to be paid to a taxpayer who is due a tax refund as a result of an IRS audit or amendment of the taxpayer’s US tax return. This situation may also often arise in the context of offshore voluntary disclosures.

Thus, the IRS underpayment and overpayment interest rates have an impact on a lot of basic items in US tax law. Hence, it is important to keep track of changes in these rates on a quarterly basis.