The 2017 Tax Reform created the Internal Revenue Code Section 965, which requires US shareholders of foreign corporations to pay a new transition tax (hereinafter, “IRC 965 Tax”) in certain circumstances. In this short article, I will introduce the readers to the IRC 965 Tax.
IRC 965 Tax: Taxpayers Who Are Targeted by the New Tax
The IRC 965 Tax targets US shareholders of specified foreign corporations. In very general terms, a specified foreign corporation means either a controlled foreign corporation, as defined under the IRC Section 957 (“CFC”), or a foreign corporation (other than a passive foreign investment company (“PFIC”), as defined under the IRC Section 1297, that is not also a CFC) that has a US shareholder that is a domestic corporation.
The term “US shareholders” includes all individuals who are considered to be US tax residents, domestic corporations (including S-corporations), domestic partnerships (including LLC, LP, LLP and LLLP), domestic estates, domestic trusts, domestic cooperatives, REITs, RICs and even US tax-exempt organizations. All US shareholders of a CFC who previously filed a Form 5471 are in a particular danger of being subject to the IRC 965 Tax. Note, however, that even if you are a US shareholder who has not filed Form 5471 before, you may still be subject to the new tax.
IRC 965 Tax: What It Taxes and How
Generally, IRC 965 Tax imposes a special tax on untaxed foreign earnings of specified foreign corporations as if these earnings had been repatriated to the United States. In other words, if a specified foreign corporation has a positive accumulated Earnings & Profits (“E&P”), its US shareholders will have to pay the new tax on it unless the E&P had been already taxed under a different provision of the Internal Revenue Code.
The effective tax rates applicable to income inclusions are adjusted by way of a participation deduction set out in IRC Section 965©. A reduced foreign tax credit applies to the inclusion under the IRC Section 965(g). Interestingly, in certain situations, a US shareholder may reduce the amount of the income inclusion for the purposes of the new tax based on deficits in earnings and profits of other specified foreign corporations (of which he is a US shareholder as well).
The new tax applies to the last taxable year of a specified foreign corporations beginning before January 1, 2018; a US shareholder must include the new tax in the tax year in which the specified foreign corporation’s year ends (in other words, a US shareholder may need to pay the tax on his 2017 and/or 2018 US tax returns). If a US shareholder must pay the IRC 965 Tax, he may either pay it in full when he files the relevant US tax return or choose to do it in installments over an eight-year period.
IRC 965 Tax: IRS Closely Monitors Compliance with the New Tax
Any US taxpayers’ noncompliance with the IRC 965 Tax faces a high risk of IRS detection. The reason for it is the IRS pledge to closely monitor potential noncompliance with the new tax. In fact, the IRS even launched a special compliance campaign dedicated to the IRC Section 965 compliance.
IRC 965 Tax: What to Do if You Did Not Timely Pay the Tax
If you failed to properly comply with your reporting and payment obligations under the IRC Section 965, you will most likely face additional IRS tax penalties as well as the interest on the tax. If you also did not file the required Form 5471 and/or Form 8938 to disclose your interest in a foreign corporation, you are also at a high risk of being subject to Form 5471 penalties as well as Form 8938 penalties. Additional penalties may also apply, including the draconian FBAR criminal and civil penalties (for example, if you are the majority shareholder of a controlled foreign corporation and you did not disclose the foreign bank and financial accounts of this corporation on your FBAR).
Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help If You Are Not in Compliance with the IRC 965 Tax
If you have not complied with your payment requirement with respect to IRC 965 Tax and other related US international tax forms, contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible.
Sherayzen Law Office is an international tax law firm that specializes in US international tax compliance and offshore voluntary disclosures. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers to resolve their past US tax noncompliance issues, and We Can Help You!