The recent American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 passed by Congress and signed by the president on January 2, 2013 extended the temporary exceptions for “active financing income” from subpart F foreign personal holding company income, foreign base company services income, and insurance income. The same act also extended the subpart F look-through rule of IRC Section 954(c)(6).
This article will briefly explain the active financing exception to the subpart F rules and the look-through rule of Section 954(c)(6) and detail the extensions of such provisions provided for by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The article is not intended to convey tax or legal advice.
IRS Subpart F rules and the IRC sections covering Controlled Foreign Corporations involve many complex tax and legal issues, so it is advisable to seek an experienced attorney in these matters. Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC can assist you in all of your tax and legal needs, and help you avoid making costly mistakes.
Active Financing Income Exception to Subpart F Rules
IRC Section 954(h) provides for a special exception from IRS subpart F rules for “[I]ncome derived in the active conduct of banking, financing, or similar businesses.” In general, a controlled foreign corporation (“CFC”) will be treated as being predominately engaged in the active conduct of banking, financing, or similar businesses if more than 70% of the gross income of the CFC is derived directly from the, “[A]ctive and regular conduct of a lending or finance business from transactions with customers which are not related persons.”
The active financing exception was originally included in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997; the same act also modified Passive Foreign Investment Company (“PFIC”) rules to eliminate overlap between Subpart F and PFIC provisions as a special one-year exception (President Clinton vetoed this provision under the Line Item Veto Act, but it was reinstated after the US Supreme Court ruled that the Line Item Veto Act was unconstitutional). IRC Section 954(h)(3) was later amended by the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-357) to provide for the temporary exception, and the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 subsequently extended the exception for tax years ending in 2007 and 2008. The Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 further extended the active financing exception through 2011. Under the new American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the exception was retroactively extended through the end of 2013.
Subpart F Look-Through Rule of IRC Section 954(c)(6)
IRC Section 954(c)(6)(A) (“Look-thru rule for related controlled foreign corporations “) provides that, in general, “For purposes of this subsection, dividends, interest, rents, and royalties received or accrued from a controlled foreign corporation which is a related person shall not be treated as foreign personal holding company income to the extent attributable or properly allocable (determined under rules similar to the rules of subparagraphs (C) and (D) of section 904(d)(3)) to income of the related person which is neither subpart F income nor income treated as effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States.” Treatment of other types of equivalent interest is also addressed in the section.
The Look-Through Rule was part of Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 and originally applied to tax years beginning after December 31, 2005, and before January 1, 2009. Certain parts of the original look-through rule were subsequently modified by later acts, and the rule itself was extended through the end of 2011 by the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010. Under the new American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the rule now applies to foreign corporation tax years beginning after December 31, 2005, and before January 1, 2014.