IRC §318 Family Attribution | International Tax Law Firm Minnesota

In a previous article, I outlined six main relationship categories of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §318. In this article, I will focus on the first of these categories: the IRC §318 family attribution rules.

§318 Family Attribution: General Rule

§318(a)(1)(A) describes the §318 family attribution rule . It states that an individual is a constructive owner of shares owned (directly and indirectly) by his spouse, children, grandchildren and parents. While it appears to be simple, this general rule has a number of exceptions and complications.

§318 Family Attribution: Certain Exceptions for Spouses

Under §318(a)(1)(A)(i), ownership of stock held by a spouse who is legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance is not attributed to her spouse. However, based on the §318 legislative history and Commissioner v. Ostler, 237 F.2d 501 (9th Cir. 1956), it appears that an interlocutory decree of divorce would not prevent the attribution of stock ownership between spouses, because such decree is not final.

§318 Family Attribution: Special Cases Involving Children and Grandchildren

§318(a)(1)(B) expands the attribution of shares from children to shares held by legally adopted children. Without legal adoption, however, shares owned by a step-child cannot be attributed to step-parents and step-grandparents. Similarly, absent legal adoption of a step-child, there is no attribution from a step-parent to the step-child.

Treas. Reg. §1.318-2(b) also makes it clear that there is no attribution of shares owned by grandparents to their grandchildren. Only shares owned by grandchildren can be attributed to their grandparents. For example, if a grandfather and a grandson each own 100 shares of X, a C-corporation, the grandfather will be deemed to own 200 shares while the grandson’s stock ownership will be based only on his actual ownership of 100 shares.

Also, note that great-grandchildren are not listed under §318(a)(1). Hence, the shares owned by great-grandchildren are not attributed to great-grandparents; this is different from §267.

§318 Family Attribution: Other Relatives

The §318 definition of family excludes aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins; this treatment is identical to that of §267. Moreover, unlike §267(c)(4), there is no attribution of stock between siblings under §318(a)(1).

§318 Family Attribution: Prohibition of Double Attribution

Treas. Reg. §1.318-4(b) explains that §318 family attribution rules do not allow double attribution of stock among family members. Under §318(a)(5)(B), stock deemed owned through a family member under §318(a)(1)(A) may not be re-attributed to another family member under the family attribution rules of §318.

For example, let’s say that mother M, daughter D and son S each own one-third of the outstanding shares of X corporation; each of them owns 100 shares. Under §318(a)(1)(A), M owns 100 shares and is deemed to own her children’s 200 shares. On the other hand, D actually owns 100 shares and is deemed to own her mother’s 100 shares – i.e. 200 shares total; under §318(a)(5)(B), while M is deemed to own 100 of S, there is no re-attribution of S’ 100 shares to D. In other words, §318(a)(5)(B) prevents the attribution of brother’s stock to his sister through the deemed ownership of brother’s stock by their mother. Also, as explained above, there is no family attribution of stocks between siblings.

§318 Family Attribution: Special Rule Concerning §302(c)(2)

IRC §302(c)(2) relates to redemptions of corporate stock and contains a special rule concerning the waiver of §318 family attribution of stocks. This section permits the termination of attribution of stock from family members when a shareholder severs ties with the corporation. The purpose of this rule is to allow such shareholder report capital gains instead of dividends upon the redemption of corporate stock.

§318 Family Attribution: Multiple Control of Corporation Possible

The upshot of the §318 rules is the expansion of stock ownership to an extent where multiple related parties may be deemed to be in control of a corporation (and even be deemed as owners of all shares of the corporation) at the same time.

For example, let’s suppose that there are five family members: husband (H), wife (W), son (S), H’s mother (i.e. grandmother – M) and son of S (i.e. grandson – G). Each of them actually owns 100 shares of corporation Y; there are 500 shares outstanding in total. Let’s analyze each of these person’s actual and constructive ownership of shares under the §318 family attribution rules.

H owns all 500 shares under the §318 family attribution rules. He actually owns 100 shares; the rest of the shares are attributed to him from his mother, his wife, son and grandson.

W owns 400 shares under the §318 family attribution rules. She actually owns 100 shares and constructively owns 300 shares that belong to her husband, son and grandson. However, she does not own 100 shares owned by her mother-in-law and the re-attribution of ownership of these shares through her husband is prevented by §318(a)(5)(B).

M owns 300 shares under the §318 family attribution rules. She actually owns 100 shares and is deemed to own 100 shares owned by her son and 100 shares owned by her grandson. M, however, is not deemed to own stocks held by her daughter-in-law W and her great-grandson G.

S owns 400 shares under the §318 family attribution rules. He actually owns 100 shares and constructively owns 200 shares owned by his parents and 100 shares owned by his son. S, however, does not constructively own shares held by his grandmother.

Finally, G owns 200 shares under the §318 family attribution rules. He actually owns 100 shares and constructively owns 100 shares held by his father S. G, however, does not constructively own shares held by his grandparents H and M as well as his great-grandmother M.

Thus, even though each family member actually owns only 100 shares, four of them (out of the total five) are deemed to be in control of the corporation and H is deemed to own the entire corporation. If we transfer this scenario to US international tax law, we can immediately see that the application of §318 constructive ownership rules through family attribution may greatly increase the tax compliance burden for this family.

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

IRC §318 is but a tiny part of the incredible voluminous US domestic and international tax law. US international tax law is not only very complex, but it is also very severe with respect to noncompliant taxpayers. In other words, it is very easy to get yourself into trouble with respect to US international tax compliance and, once this happens, you may be subject to high IRS penalties.

In order to avoid such an undesirable result, you need the help of Sherayzen Law Office. We are a highly-experienced US international tax law firm that has helped clients from over 70 countries with their US international tax compliance. We can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

§318 Relationship Categories | International Business Tax Lawyer & Attorney

In a previous article I discussed the importance of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §318 constructive stock ownership rules. Today, I would like to introduce the readers to the various §318 relationship categories – i.e. what types of taxpayers are affected by this section’s constructive ownership rules.

§318 Relationship Categories: Related Persons

The Congress created IRC §318 constructive ownership rules to prevent or minimize the possibility of using business transactions between related persons for tax avoidance purposes. In other words, in order for §318 to be relevant, there must be some type of a close relationship between persons engaged in a business transaction.

It is important to point out that one should not confuse §267 definition of related persons with the one described in §318. These are two completely separate sets of rules that apply to different situations.

§318 Relationship Categories: Six Main Categories

§318 deals specifically with six main categories of related individuals and entities. I will list them here with only a general description; in future articles, I will address each of these §318 relationship categories specifically.

  1. Family members: certain family members are treated as related persons for §318. Again, the §318 definition of “family” should not be confused with the §267 definition.
  2. Partnerships and partners: unlike §267, the constructive ownership rules of §318 are both “upstream” and “downstream”. In other words, the attribution of stock ownership works both ways: from partners to partnership and from partnership to partners. Additionally, one must remember that an S-corporation and its shareholders are treated respectively as a partnership and partners for the purposes of §318.
  3. Estates and beneficiaries: the IRS §318 constructive ownership rules with respect to estates and beneficiaries are quite unique and invasive. They also work downstream and upstream – i.e. the stocks owned by estate are attributed to its beneficiaries and vice-versa.
  4. Trusts and beneficiaries: again, the stock ownership attribution rules of §318 between a trust and its beneficiaries can be downstream and upstream. Stock owned, directly or indirectly, by or for a trust is considered owned by its beneficiaries in proportion to their actuarial interests in the trust. The upstream relationship is more complex: while generally all stocks owned directly or indirectly by a beneficiary of a trust is considered owned by the trust, there are important exceptions.
  5. Corporations and shareholders: surprisingly, §318 attribution rules between a corporation and its shareholders also contain both downstream and upstream provisions. The application of these rules, however, is limited to persons who own directly and indirectly 50% or more of the value of stocks in the corporation. Again, the corporate attribution rules under §318 apply only to C-corporations; S-corporations are treated as partnerships for the purposes of this section.
  6. Holders of stock options: unlike §267, the constructive stock ownership rules of §318 are expanded to options. §318(a)(4) classifies a holder of an option to acquire stock as the owner of that stock. There are detailed rules for defining what an “option” is for the §318 purposes. Interestingly, the stock option attribution rule supersedes the family member attribution rules (which often results in a more extensive constructive ownership).

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

US business tax law is incredibly complex. In fact, an ordinary taxpayer who attempts to decipher it on his own is likely to get himself into deep trouble; this is especially the case, if one deals with the international aspects of US business tax law.

This is why you need to contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We have helped business owners around the world with their US tax planning and US tax compliance, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Related Person Definition – IRC §267 | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §267 imposes significant restrictions on the ability of related persons to recognize loss from a transaction that involves a sale or exchange of property. Hence, it is important for a tax attorney who advises on such a transaction to understand the concept of a “related person” in order to properly advise his client. In this article, I will discuss the general related person definition; in a future article, I will discuss the related person definition in a more specific context.

Related Person Definition: IRC §267(b) and IRC §267(a)(2)

The related person definition is set forth in two part of IRC §267. The first and most comprehensive description of related persons can be found in IRC §267(b) – this description is used throughout IRC §267. The second part is found §267(a)(2) and it applies for the purposes of §267(a)(2) only. Let’s discuss both parts of the related party definition in more detail.

Related Person Definition: Thirteen Categories of IRC §267(b)

IRC §267(b) describes the following thirteen categories of related persons:

1). Family Members;

2). A corporation and an individual shareholder who owns more than 50% of the value of the stock;

3). Two corporations which are members of the same controlled group. Pursuant to §267(b)(3), the term “controlled group” is similar to the definition used for the purposes of the affiliated corporation rules, but with merely a 50% instead of 80% common ownership requirement;

4). A grantor and a fiduciary of any trust;

5). Fiduciaries of different trusts if the same person is the grantor of both trusts;

6). A fiduciary of a trust and a beneficiary of that trust;

7). A fiduciary of a trust and a beneficiary of another trust as long as the same person is the grantor of both trusts;

8). A corporation and a fiduciary of a trust that owns more than 50% of the value of the stock (also, if the trust’s grantor owns more than 50% of the value of the stock);

9). A tax-exempt organization and a person or individual or the individual’s family member who controls the organization;

10). A corporation and a partnership if the same person owns more than 50% of the value of the corporate stock and more than 50% of the capital or profits interest in the partnership;

11). Two or more S-corporations owned more than 50% by the same person;

12). An S-corporation and a C-corporation if the same person owns more than 50% of the value of each; and

13). An executor and a beneficiary of an estate (there is an exception where a sale of property is made to satisfy a pecuniary bequest).

Related Person Definition: IRC §267(a)(2) Category

As it was mentioned above, the fourteenth category of related persons is described in §267(a)(2). This section contains the income-deduction matching provision (i.e. deduction can be taken in a related party transaction by a related party only when an income is recognized by the second party). For the purposes of §267(a)(2), a personal service corporation (within the meaning of IRC §441(i)(2)) and any employee-owner (within the meaning of §269A(b)(2), as modified by §441(i)(2)) are related as persons under IRC §267.

Related Person Definition: Special Rules for Pass-Through Entities

While I will not cover them over here, it is important to note that special rules exist with respect to pass-through entities such as partnerships and S-corporation. These rules can be found in two separate code provisions. IRC §707(b)(1) governs disallowance of losses on transactions between a partnership and its members. IRC §267(a)(1) governs losses on sales or exchanges between a partnership and any person other than a member of the partnership (a third party).

Related Person Definition: Constructive Ownership Rules

Moreover, I would like to emphasize that the determination of whether a person or entity satisfies any of the IRC §267 categories of the related person definition is not limited to the actual ownership percentage of such person or entity. Rather, §267(c) contains elaborate constructive ownership rules that force one to include in the analysis the ownership by closely connected individuals or entities.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With IRC §267 Related Person Definition and Other Business Tax Issues

US tax law is incredibly complex; the related person definition of IRC §267 is just one example of this complexity. In order to safely navigate through the labyrinth of US tax laws, you need an experienced tax attorney.

This is why you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. Our legal team, headed by an international tax attorney Eugene Sherayzen, is highly experienced in helping US taxpayers with proper individual and business tax planning and tax compliance. We can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Happy New Year 2020 from Sherayzen Law Office!

Sherayzen Law Office wishes everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year 2020! We also wish you stay in full US tax compliance with US international tax laws while your tax burden decreases!

And, we are here to help our clients to turn these wishes into reality! In the year 2020, Sherayzen Law Office will continue to help its clients with all US international tax law issues, including compliance with FATCA, FBAR and all US international information returns such as Forms 3520, 5471, 8621, 8865 and others.

Moreover, Sherayzen Law Office will continue its leadership in the area of offshore voluntary disclosures, helping its clients to bring themselves into full compliance with US tax laws while lowering and, in some cases, even eliminating numerous IRS penalties. We will continue to do all types of offshore voluntary disclosures, including: Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures (“SDOP”), Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures (“SFOP”), Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures, Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures, Modified Traditional Voluntary Disclosure, Reasonable Cause Disclosures and others.

If you are audited by the IRS with respect to your compliance with FBAR, FATCA or any other international information return filing requirements during any point of the new year 2020, then you can advantage of Sherayzen Law Office’s services with respect to IRS audits. We have helped clients throughout the worldwide with IRS audits, including audits related to foreign corporations and offshore voluntary disclosures (e.g. SDOP IRS audit or SFOP IRS audit).

Furthermore, during the new year 2020, Sherayzen Law Office will continue to create new creative and ethical tax plans and implement the old ones in order to allow our clients to take full advantage of the benefits offered by the Internal Revenue Code.

At Sherayzen Law Office, we look at the new year 2020 as an exciting opportunity to continue to deliver top-quality US international tax services to our clients around the globe. Helping people and their businesses with their US international tax issues is our goal!

Contact us directly by phone or email to schedule your confidential consultation!

Happy New Year 2020 to you and your family!

Attribution Rules: Introduction | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

One of the most popular tax reduction strategies is based on shifting an ownership interest in an entity or property to related persons or related entities. In order to prevent the abuse of this strategy, the US Congress has enacted a large number of attribution rules. In this brief essay, I will introduce the concept of attribution rules and list the most important attribution rules in the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”).

Attribution Rules: Definition and Purpose

The IRC attribution rules are designed to prevent taxpayers from shifting an ownership interest to related persons or entities. They achieve this result through a set of indirect and constructive ownership rules that shift the ownership interest assigned to third parties back to the taxpayer. In other words, the rules disregard the formal assignment of an ownership interest to a related third party and re-assign the ownership interest back to the assignor for specific determination purposes.

For example, in the context of determining whether a foreign corporation is a Controlled Foreign Corporation, all shares owned by the spouse of a taxpayer are deemed to be owned by the taxpayer if both spouses are US persons.

Attribution Rules: Design Similarities and Differences

The IRC contains a great variety of attribution rules. All of them are very detailed and have achieved a remarkable degree of specificity. Behind this specificity, all of the rules are always concerned with the substance of a transaction rather than its form. Hence, there always lurks a general question of whether there was a tax avoidance motive when a taxpayer entered into a transaction.

In spite of the fact that they share similar goals, the rules differ from each other in design. Most of these differences can be traced back to legislative history.

List of Most Important Attribution Rules

Here is a list of the most important attribution rules in the IRC (all section references are to the IRC):

1. The constructive ownership rules of §267, which apply to disallow certain deductions and losses incurred in transactions between related parties;

2. The constructive ownership rules of §318, which apply in corporate-shareholder transactions and other transactions, including certain foreign transactions expressly referenced in §6038(e).

3. The constructive ownership rules of §544; these are the personal holding company rules which apply to determine when a corporation will be subject to income tax on undistributed income.

3a. While they are now repealed, the foreign personal holding company rules of §554 are still important. In the past, they applied to determine whether US shareholders of a foreign corporation would be taxed on deemed distributions which were not actually made;

4. Highly important Subpart F constructive ownership rules of §958, which apply to determine when US shareholders of a Controlled Foreign Corporation should be taxed on deemed distributions which are not actually made;

5. The PFIC constructive ownership rules of §1298, which apply to determine whether a US shareholder is subject to the unfavorable rules concerning certain distributions by a PFIC and sales of PFIC stock; and

6. The controlled group constructive ownership rules of §1563 which determine whether related corporations are subject to the limitations and benefits prescribed for commonly controlled groups.

This is not a comprehensive list of all attribution rules, there are other rules which apply in more specific situations.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With the Attribution Rules

The rules of ownership attribution are highly complex. A failure to comply with them may result in the imposition of high IRS penalties.

This is why you need to contact the highly experienced international tax law firm of Sherayzen Law Office. We have helped US taxpayers around the globe to deal with the US tax rules concerning ownership attribution, and We Can Help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!