For taxpayers who are required to file IRS Form 8865 (“Return of U.S. Persons with Respect to Certain Foreign partnerships”) is used to report required information under IRC section 6038 (reporting with respect to controlled foreign partnerships), IRC section 6038B (reporting of transfers to foreign partnerships), and IRC section 6046A (reporting of acquisitions, dispositions, and changes in foreign partnership interests). For purposes of these requirements, a “foreign partnership” is defined to be a partnership that is not created or organized in the United States or under the law of the United States or of any state.
Since the penalties for the failure to accurately file Form 8865 can be severe, it is important to recognize who is required to file the Form. This article examines which taxpayers are generally required to file the Form, and explores the four categories of filers who must report the required information.
Who Must File Form 8865
U.S. persons who meet one or more of the four categories of filers (explained below) must complete and file Form 8865. It is important to remember that the Form may require the taxpayer to file additional schedules and other information (the additional filing information will usually depend upon the taxpayer’s filing category). You should consult an international tax attorney on what information should be disclosed on Form 8865, including additional schedules and attachments.
Four Categories of Filers
Category 1 Filers
A category 1 filer is a U.S. person who controls a foreign partnership at any time during the partnership’s tax year. “Control” of a partnership is defined to be ownership of more than a 50% interest in the partnership. Under IRS rules, a 50% interest in a partnership is an interest equal to 50% of the capital, 50% of the profits, or 50% of the deductions or losses. Additionally, for purposes of determining a 50% interest, highly complex IRS indirect and constructive ownership rules may apply.
The various partnership control interest rules mean that it is possible to have multiple Category 1 filer in a foreign partnership.
Category 2 Filers
A category 2 filer is a U.S. person, who at any time during the foreign partnership’s tax-year, owned a 10% or greater interest in the partnership while the partnership was controlled by U.S. persons each owning at least 10% interests. A 10% interest in a partnership is an interest equal to 10% of the capital, 10% of the profits, or 10% of the deductions or losses. In addition, indirect and constructive ownership rules also apply to determining whether there is a 10% interest.
An interesting exception may apply where a partnership has a category 1 filer at any time during a tax year. You will need to consult an international tax attorney on whether such exception applies in your case and what are the consequences.
Category 3 Filers
A Category 3 filer is defined to be a U.S. person, who in exchange for an interest in the partnership, contributed property during that person’s tax year to a foreign partnership (an IRC section 721 transfer), if that person meets one of two requirements: 1) The taxpayer either owned, directly or constructively, at least a 10% interest in the foreign partnership immediately after the transfer, or 2) The value of the property contributed, when added to the value of any other property contributed to the partnership by such person (or related persons under IRS rules), during the 12-month period ending on the date of transfer, exceeded $100,000.
Additionally, U.S. persons who previously transferred appreciated property to the partnership (and were required to report that contribution under section 6038B) will qualify as category 3 filers if the foreign partnership disposed of such property while the U.S. person remained a direct or indirect partner in the partnership.
Furthermore, if a domestic (US) partnership contributes property to a foreign partnership, the domestic partnership’s partners are deemed to have transferred a proportionate share of the contributed property to the foreign partnership. The domestic partners, however, are not likely to be required to report the transfer provided that the domestic partnership files Form 8865 and properly reports all the required information with respect to the contribution.
Category 4 Filers
A Category 4 filer is a U.S. person who has a reportable event under IRC section 6046A during that person’s tax year. Under section 6046A, there are three categories of reportable events: acquisitions, changes in proportional interests, and dispositions.
A U.S. person who acquires a foreign partnership interest has a reportable event if: 1) That person did not previously own a 10% or greater direct interest in the partnership and as a result of the acquisition, the person now owns a 10% or greater direct interest in the partnership (for example, from 8% to 10%). For purposes of this rule, an acquisition includes an increase in a person’s “direct proportional interest” (defined below); or 2) Compared to the person’s direct interest when the person last had a reportable event, after the acquisition, the person’s direct interest has now increased by at least 10% (for example, from a 13% interest to a 23% interest).
B. Changes in a Proportional Interest
A partner’s proportional interest in a foreign partnership can change as a result of changes in other partners’ interests. Some examples include when another partner withdraws from a partnership, or by operation of the partnership agreement (i.e., a partnership agreement may state that a partner’s interest in profits will change on a set date or when the partnership has earned a specified amount of profits, thus changing the proportional interest in the partnership).
A U.S. person who disposes of a foreign partnership interest has a reportable event if: 1) The person previously owned a 10% or greater direct interest in the partnership before a disposition, and as a result of the disposition, the person now owns less than a 10% direct interest (for example, from 10% to 9%). (A disposition also includes a decrease in a person’s direct proportional interest for purposes of this rule); or 2) Compared to the person’s direct interest when the person last had a reportable event, after the disposition the person’s direct interest has now decreased by at least 10% (for example, from a 22% interest to a 12% interest).
While this is outside of the scope of this essay, I want to mention that there are certain exemptions from Form 8865 filing requirements may be applicable depending upon the facts of a US person’s case. You need to consult an international tax attorney to determine whether your situation is compatible with any of the exemption categories.
Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Legal Help With Form 8865
The filing of Form 8865 involves complex legal and tax issues, and this article only attempts to provide a very general background information that should not be relied upon in making the determination of your specific situation. Rather, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for legal help with this issue. Our experienced international tax firm will help you determine whether you need to file Form 8865, and help you to properly draft and file the Form. We can also help you with any voluntary disclosure matters involving Form 8865.