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§318 Sidewise Attribution Limitation | US International Tax Attorney

This article explores the third main limitation on the general IRC (Internal Revenue Code) §318 corporate stock re-attribution rules – §318 Sidewise Attribution Limitation.

§318 Sidewise Attribution Limitation: What is “Sidewise Attribution”?

A sidewise attribution occurs when corporate stock owned by an owner of a business entity (or a beneficiary of a trust or estate) is first attributed to this business entity (or estate or trust) and then re-attributed again to another owner of the same business entity (or another beneficiary of the same trust or estate). In other words, stock deemed to be owned by an entity due to the ownership of that stock by an owner or beneficiary of the entity is re-attributed “sidewise” to another owner or beneficiary of the same entity.

Sidewise attribution may have far-reaching income tax and tax reporting consequences, because it may result in a person with no real ownership of a corporation being treated as an owner of this corporation’s stock simply because a member of another entity (in which the first person also has an ownership interest) happens to own corporate stock of this corporation.

§318 Sidewise Attribution Limitation: §318(a)(5)(C) Prohibition

§318(a)(5)(C) describes the §318 Sidewise Attribution Limitation. Under §318(a)(5)(C), stock constructively owned by a partnership, estate, trust or corporation pursuant to §318(a)(3) is not treated as owned by this partnership, estate, trust or corporation for the purpose of treating a partner, beneficiary, or shareholder as owner of the stock. In other words, the sidewise attribution limitation prevents re-attribution of corporate stock to an owner of an entity where such stock is constructively-owned by an entity solely by virtue of ownership of this stock by another owner of the entity.

Let’s look at the following example to illustrate the §318 Sidewise Attribution Limitation: A and B are unrelated persons, they equally own a partnership P and A owns 100 shares of corporation X’s stock. In this situation, partnership P is a constructive owner of A’s 100 shares of X under §318(a)(3)(A). Without any sideways limitation, B would have been also treated as an owner of these 100 shares of X due to §318(a)(2)(A). Under §318(a)(5)(C), however, none of these stocks are attributed to B.

§318 Sidewise Attribution Limitation: Attribution from Actual Ownership Not Affected

It is important to emphasize that §318(a)(5)(C) applies only to the re-attribution of stock constructively owned as a result of the application of §318(a)(3). This prohibition does not affect the §318(a)(2) attribution of stock actually owned by an entity to its beneficiary, partner, or shareholder.

§318 Sidewise Attribution Limitation: Re-Attribution Under Other Rules

Additionally, stock constructively owned under §318(a)(3) may still be re-attributed under an attribution rule other than §318(a)(2). In other words, stock constructively owned under §318(a)(3) may still be re-attributed under the upstream corporate attribution rules or the option attribution rules of §318(a)(4) (see Treas. Reg. §1.318-4(c)(2)).

Moreover, re-attribution under the §318 family attribution rules still possible. A potential situation for such re-attribution would arise in a situation where corporate stock is attributed from an entity to its member and from this member to a qualified family member of the same entity. Berenbaum v. Commissioner, 369 F.2d 337 (10th Cir. 1966), rev’g T.C. Memo 1965-147.

Let’s look at a couple of examples to understand better the interaction between the §318 Sidewise Attribution Limitation and the re-attribution rules other than §318(a)(2).

Here is the first hypothetical fact pattern: A is a beneficiary of a trust T, B is another beneficiary of T, T is a beneficiary of an estate, and A owns 100 shares of a C-corporation X. Under §318(a)(3)(B), T is a constructive owner of 100 shares of X. Since T is a constructive owner of A’s shares of X, these shares are re-attributed to the estate under §318(a)(3)(A); §318(a)(5)(C) does not apply to this type of a re-attribution since it is not a sidewise attribution. On the other hand, the §318 Sidewise Attribution Limitation would prevent the re-attribution of A’s shares of X to B that otherwise would have occurred under §318(a)(2)(B).

Note, however, that, if B is A’s son (or other qualified relative under the §318 family attribution rules), then the re-attribution of A’s stocks of X to B is possible under §318(a)(1)(A).

Let’s now look at another fact pattern to understand the power of the option rule attribution vis-a-vis §318(a)(5)(C): A and B are beneficiaries of a trust T; T has an option to buy corporate stock from A. The most important point to understand here is the fact that T is considered here as an owner of A’s stock not under the upstream trust attribution rules of §318(a)(3)(B), but under the option attribution rules of §318(a)(4). Hence, the sidewise attribution limitation under §318(a)(5)(C) does not apply and B becomes a constructive owner of a his proportional part of A’s stock under the downstream trust attribution rules of §318(a)(2)(B).

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.

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!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

New July 15 Deadline for 2019 Tax Compliance | International Tax News

On March 21, 2020, the IRS moved the federal income tax filing and tax payment due date from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Let’s discuss the new July 15 deadline in more detail.

July 15 Deadline: Why the IRS Moved the Tax Deadline to July 15, 2020?

The IRS moved the deadline because of the huge logistical problems that have arisen as a result of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. The coronavirus panic as well as the imposition of what can be described as curfew and other restrictive safety measures in many states have dramatically reduced the ability of tax professionals to effectively and timely help their clients.

It would have been unfair and unreasonable to require taxpayers to file their tax returns by April 15 during this unprecedented national crisis. Hence, President Trump and the IRS decided to prevent this injustice and moved the tax filing and tax payment deadlines to July 15, 2020. This was the right move to make and it is applauded by tax professionals around the country.

The legal authority for the deferral of the April 15 deadline came from President Trump’s emergency declaration last week pursuant to the Stafford Act. The Stafford Act (enacted in 1988) is a federal law designed to bring an orderly and systematic means of federal natural disaster and emergency assistance for state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens.

July 15 Deadline: What Returns Are Affected?

The deferment of the April 15 deadline applies to all taxpayers – individuals, corporations, trusts, estates and other non-corporate filers, including those who pay self-employment tax. In other words, all Forms 1040, 1041, 1120, et cetera are now due on July 15.

All international information returns which are filed separately or together with the income tax returns are also now due on July 15, 2020. This includes FBAR, Forms 8938, 3520, 5471, 5472, 8865 and other US international information returns.

July 15 Deadline: When are the Tax Payments Due?

All tax payments which are generally due on April 15 are now due on July 15, 2020.

July 15 Deadline: Do I Need to Do Anything Else to Obtain Tax Return Deferral?

Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this federal tax filing and payment relief. This deferral to July 15, 2020, automatically applies to all of the aforementioned taxpayers.

July 15 Deadline: Is Extension to October Still Possible?

This automatic deferral does not affect the ability of taxpayers to request extension of the July 15 deadline to October 15. Individuals will need to file a Form 4868 in order to request such an extension. Businesses will need to file a Form 7004 to request this extension.

July 15 Deadline: Can I file Before July 15, 2020?

Taxpayers can still file their tax returns prior to July 15, 2020. The IRS promises to issue most refunds within 21 days if returns are e-filed.

New IRS Updates Possible

The IRS will continue to monitor issues related to the COVID-19 virus. New updates will be posted on a special coronavirus page on IRS.gov.

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

The extended July 15 deadline is especially welcome for US taxpayers with foreign assets. The delays caused by coronavirus now become irrelevant and there is plenty of time to finalize both, 2019 US international tax compliance forms and offshore voluntary disclosures.

If you have undisclosed foreign assets and foreign income, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional assistance. We have successfully helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to bring their US tax affairs into full compliance with US tax laws, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

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.

The IRS Hiring Spree in 2019 and 2020 | Tax Lawyer & Attorney

The IRS stated in December of 2019 that it hired about 9,500 people during the fiscal year 2019 and it is trying to add another about 5,300 employees as soon as possible. This new IRS hiring spree is meant to reverse the long-term declining trend in IRS employment.

The IRS Hiring Spree: 2009-2018 Trend

Between 2009 and 2017, the IRS suffered a spectacular loss in employees. From about 95,000 employees in 2009, the number of employees dropped to less than 75,000 in 2018. In other words, the IRS lost about 20,000 employees during these years. These losses were mostly due to budget cuts.

The IRS Hiring Spree: 2019-2020 Trend Change

While the IRS did not receive all of the funds it requested, the Trump administration was able to secure sufficient funds for the agency to start hiring again. The fiscal year 2019 saw a complete reversal in the trend with about 9,500 employees added. This is definitely not the end of the IRS hiring spree – the IRS is planning to add another 5,300 employees in early 2020.

The IRS Hiring Spree: What It Means to US Taxpayers

This huge hiring spree at the IRS will have a direct impact on US taxpayers. On the one hand, the IRS customer service should improve with the larger number of representatives.

On the other hand, such a huge inflow of future IRS agents means an inevitable rise in IRS enforcement efforts, particularly IRS audits. Reinforced by hundreds of additional examiners, the IRS will be able to expand audits everywhere, including international tax audits concerning FBAR and FATCA compliance.

US taxpayers with undisclosed foreign assets and foreign income should keep in mind this impending wave of IRS FBAR and FATCA audits. Rather than just wait for the IRS to discover their prior noncompliance with US tax laws, these taxpayers should explore their offshore voluntary disclosure options with an experienced international tax attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help with IRS International Tax Audits

Mr. Eugene Sherayzen is a highly experienced international tax attorney and owner of international tax law firm, Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. He and his law firm have successfully helped hundreds of US taxpayers to resolve their prior noncompliance with US international tax laws. We can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

On July 19, 2019, the IRS Large Business and International division (LB&I) announced the approval of another six compliance campaigns. Let’s discuss in more detail these July 2019 IRS compliance campaigns.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Background Information

In the mid-2010s, after extensive tax planning, the IRS decided to restructure LB&I in a way that would focus the division on issue-based examinations and compliance campaign processes. The idea was to let LB&I itself decide which compliance issues presented the most risk and required a response in the form of one or multiple treatment streams to achieve compliance objectives. The IRS came to the conclusion that this was the most efficient approach that assured the best use of IRS knowledge and appropriately deployed the right resources to address specific noncompliance issues.

The first thirteen campaigns were announced by LB&I on January 13, 2017. Then, the IRS added eleven campaigns on November 3, 2017, five campaigns on March 13, 2018, six campaigns on May 21, 2018, five campaigns on July 2, 2018, five campaigns on September 10, 2018, five campaigns on October 30, 2018 and three campaigns on April 16, 2019. With the additional six July 2019 IRS compliance campaigns, the IRS has created a total of fifty-nine total IRS compliance campaigns.

Six New July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns

The six new campaigns are: S-Corporations Built-in Gains Tax, Post-OVDP Compliance, Expatriation, High Income Non-Filers, US Territories – Erroneous Refundable Credits and Section 457A Deferred Compensation Attributable to Services Performed before January 1, 2009. As you can see, the new campaigns continue to maintain the IRS focus on US international tax compliance. Let’s discuss each campaign in more detail.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: S-Corporations Built-in Gains Tax

This campaign actually focuses on a C-corporation that converted to S-corporation. The main issue here is the Built-in Gains (“BIG”) tax. If a C-corporation has a net unrealized built-in gain, converts to S-corporation and sells assets within five years after the conversion, then it will likely be subject to the BIG tax. The BIG tax is assessed to the S-corporation (this is why the campaign is named in this manner).

LB&I has found that S corporations are not always paying this tax when they sell the C-corporation’s assets after the conversion. LB&I has developed comprehensive technical content for this campaign that will aid revenue agents as they examine the issue. The goal of this campaign is to increase awareness and compliance with the law as supported by several court decisions. Treatment streams for this campaign will be issue-based examinations, soft letters, and outreach to practitioners.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Post-OVDP Compliance

This is an IRS campaign of an especially high interest for international tax lawyers, because it targets specifically taxpayers who went through the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”). The IRS noticed that some taxpayers again became noncompliant after they went through the OVDP.

The campaign will specifically target post-OVDP taxpayers who failed to remain compliant with their foreign income and asset reporting requirements. The IRS will address tax noncompliance through soft letters and examinations.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Expatriation

This is another IRS campaign of high interest to international tax attorneys. US citizens and long-term residents (defined as lawful permanent residents in eight out of the last fifteen taxable years) who expatriated on or after June 17, 2008, may not have met their filing requirements or tax obligations. The Internal Revenue Service will address noncompliance through a variety of treatment streams, including outreach, soft letters, and examination.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: High Income Non-Filers

This campaign again focuses on US international tax law. In particular, the campaign targets high-income US citizens and resident aliens who receive compensation from overseas that is not reported on a Form W-2 or Form 1099. IRS audits are going to be the main treatment stream for this campaign.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: US Territories – Erroneous Refundable Credits

Some bona fide residents of US territories are erroneously claiming refundable tax credits on Form 1040. This campaign will address noncompliance through a variety of treatment streams including outreach and traditional examinations.

July 2019 IRS Compliance Campaigns: Section 457A Deferred Compensation Attributable to Services Performed before January 1, 2009

This campaign addresses compensation deferred from nonqualified entities attributable to services performed before January 1, 2009. In general, IRC Section 457A requires that any compensation deferred under a nonqualified deferred compensation plan shall be includible in gross income when there is no substantial risk of forfeiture of the rights to such compensation. The campaign objective is to verify taxpayer compliance with the requirements of IRC Section 457A through issue-based examinations.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Tax Help

If you have been contacted by the IRS as part of any of its campaigns, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world with their US tax compliance issues, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!