Posts

§318 Estate Beneficiary Definition | US International Tax Law Firm

The Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §318 contains corporate stock attribution rules between an estate and its beneficiaries. In order to apply these rules correctly, one must understand how §318 defines “beneficiary” for the purposes of upstream and downstream estate attribution rules. This articles will introduce the readers to this §318 estate beneficiary definition.

§318 Estate Beneficiary Definition: General Rule

Treas. Regs. §1.318-3(a) defines “beneficiary” for the purposes of §318 attribution rules (on a separate note, pursuant to Rev. Rul. 71-353, the attribution rules for the personal holding company provisions, collapsible corporation provisions (now repealed), and affiliated group provisions also use this definition of a beneficiary).

Treas. Regs. §1.318-3(a) states that “the term beneficiary includes any person entitled to receive property of a decedent pursuant to a will or pursuant to laws of descent and distribution.” Hence, in order to be considered a beneficiary under §318 , a person must have a direct present interest in the property of the estate or in income generated by that property.

Moreover, a person entitled to property not subject to administration by the executor is not a beneficiary for purposes of the §318 estate attribution rules unless the property is subject to the executor’s claim for a share of the federal estate tax.

§318 Estate Beneficiary Definition: Certain Specific Cases

This definition of beneficiary produces interesting results in some specific cases which are actually quite common.

Let’s first see the result of the application of the §318 estate beneficiary definition to life estates. A person with a life estate in estate property is a beneficiary. On the other hand, if a person owns only a remainder interest (i.e. an interest that vests only after the death of the life tenant), then he is not a beneficiary.

A beneficiary of life insurance proceeds is not considered a beneficiary for the §318 estate attribution rule purposes. This is because this is not a property subject to administration by the executor.

Similarly, an executor or administrator is usually not a beneficiary simply by virtue of occupying either of these positions. The main exception to this rule is a situation where an executor or administrator is otherwise considered a beneficiary.

Finally, a residuary testamentary trust presents a very interesting and complex issue. Under Rev. Rul. 67-24, it may be treated as a beneficiary of an estate before the residue of the estate is actually transferred to it. Moreover, it appears that such a trust (in that case, it was an unfunded testamentary trust) needs to worry about the §318(a)(3)(B) trust attribution rules.

§318 Estate Beneficiary Definition: Cessation of Beneficiary Status

It is important to note that §318 estate attribution rules cease to operate with respect to a person who stops being a beneficiary. See Tres. Reg. §1.318-3(a). There is an exception to this rule though: pursuant to Rev. Rul. 60-18, a residuary legatee does not stop being a beneficiary until the estate is closed. “Residual legatee” is a person named in a will to receive any residue left in an estate after the bequests of specific items are made.

When does a person stop being a beneficiary for the purposes of §318? Treas. Reg. Reg. §1.318-3(a) sets forth the following criteria that must be met for a person to no longer be considered a beneficiary: (a) the person has received all property to which he is entitled; (b) ”when he no longer has a claim against the estate arising out of having been a beneficiary”; and (c) “when there is only a remote possibility that it will be necessary for the estate to seek the return of property or to seek payment from him by contribution or otherwise to satisfy claims against the estate or expenses of administration”.

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

If you have questions concerning US business tax in general and US international business tax law specifically, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We are a highly-experienced tax law firm that specializes in US international tax law, including offshore voluntary disclosures, US international tax compliance for businesses and individuals and US international tax planning.

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

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!

IRC §318 Importance | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

It is difficult to overstate the significant role the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §318 plays in US corporate tax law and US international tax law. In this article, I will explain the §318 importance and list out major IRC provisions which reference §318.

IRC §318 Importance: Fundamental Purpose

§318 sets forth the circumstances when the ownership of stock is attributed from one person or entity to another. This is one of the most important sections of the Internal Revenue Code, because it contains a set of constructive stock ownership rules which affect a bewildering variety of IRC tax provisions.

It is important to point out that §318 constructive ownership rules do not apply throughout the IRC. Rather, §318 applies only when it is expressly adopted by a specific tax section.

IRC §318 Importance: Non-Exclusive List of IRC Sections

The IRC §318 importance is extensive in both domestic and international tax provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. The CFC (controlled foreign corporation) rules, FIRPTA, FTC (foreign tax credit rules), BEAT, FATCA and so on – all of these US international tax laws adopted §318 for at least one purpose. The §318 importance can even be seen in the 2017 tax reform (for example, the FDII rules).

The following is a non-exclusive list of major IRC sections which adopted the §318 constructive stock ownership rules:

• §59A(g)(3) (related party under BEAT rules)
• §105(h)(5)(B)
• §168(h)(6)(F)(iii)(III)
• §250(b)(5)(D) (sales or services to related party under FDII rules by reference to §954(d)(3) and §958)
• §263A(e)(2)(B)(ii)
• §267A(b)(2) (related party amounts in hybrid transaction by reference to §954(d)(3) and §958)
• §269A(b)(2)
• §269B(e)(2)(B)
• §301(e)(2)
• §302(c) (stock redemptions)
• §304 (redemptions by related corporations)
• §306(b)(1)(A) (disposition or redemption of §306 stock)
• §338(h)(3)
• §355(d)(8)(A)
• §356(a)(2)
• §367(c)(2)
• §382(l)(3)(A) (net operating loss carryovers)
• §409(n)(1)
• §409(p)(3)(B)
• §414(m)(6)(B)
• §416(i)(1)(B) (key employee for top heavy plans)
• §441(i)(2)(B)
• §453(f)(1)(A)
• §465(c)(7)(D)(iii), §465(c)(7)(E)(i) (at-risk loss limitations)
• §469(j)(2)(B) (passive activity loss limitations)
• §512(b)(13)(D)(ii) (unrelated business taxable income from controlled entity)
• §856(d)(5) (REIT rental income)
• §871(h)(3)(C) (portfolio interest withholding tax exemption)
• §881(b)(3)(B) (portfolio interest withholding tax exemption)
• §897(c)(6)(C) (FIRPTA rules)
• §898(b)(2)(B) (adopting §958‘s modified §318 rules for determination of foreign corporation’s tax year)
• §904(h)(6) (foreign tax credit re-sourcing rules)
• §951(b) (U.S. shareholder of controlled foreign corporation (CFC) by reference to §958(b))
• §954(d)(3) (CFC related party rules by reference to §958)
§958(b) (CFC rules)
• §1042(b)(2)
• §1060(e)(2)(B)
• §1061(d)(2)(A) (transfer of partnership interest received for performance of services)
• §1239(b)(2)
• §1372(b)
• §1471(e) (imposing FATCA reporting requirements on foreign financial institution members of an expanded affiliated group determined under §954(d)(3)’s control test, which adopts §958‘s modified §318 rules)
• §2036(b)(2)
• §6038(e)(2) (information reporting for controlled foreign corporations)
• §6038A(c)(5)
• §7704(d)(3)(B)

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

Trying to comply with the extremely complex provisions of US international tax law on your own is even worse than playing Russian roulette. In all likelihood, you will soon find yourself in the ever-deepening pit of legal problems and IRS penalties from which it will be very difficult to extricate yourself.

This is why, if you are US taxpayer with US international tax law issues, you need to contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the globe to bring themselves into full compliance with US tax laws, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

§267 Entity-to-Member Attribution | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

In a previous article, I introduced the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §267 constructive ownership rules. Today, I would like to focus specifically on the §267 entity-to-member attribution rule.

§267 Entity-to-Member Attribution: General Rule

§267(c)(1) describes the §267 entity-to-member attribution rule. It states that stocks owned by a corporation, partnership, estate or trust will be treated as owned proportionately by its shareholders, partners, or beneficiaries.

Let’s use an example to explain §267(c)(1). Let’s imagine that Peter and Mary (both US citizens who are not family members within the meaning of §267(c)(4)) own 70% and 30% respectively of shares of X, a C-corporation organized in South Dakota. X owns 100% of shares of N, a Nevada C-corporation.

In this situation, under §267(c)(1), Peter and Mary constructively own 70% and 30% of shares of N. Hence, pursuant to §267(b)(2), Peter is considered to be a related person with respect to X and N corporations due to actual constructive ownership of 70% of shares of both corporations (since this is higher than the 50%-of-value threshold demanded by §267(b)(2)).

Also, note that X and N are related persons, because, pursuant to §267(b)(3), they are members of the same controlled group. §267(b)(3) relies on §267(f) for the definition of the “controlled group”; §267(f), in turn, mostly adopts §1563 definition of controlled group (the main difference is that §267(f) reduces the required level of ownership to more than 50% of voting power and value of the stock as opposed to more than 80% demanded by §1563).

§267 Entity-to-Member Attribution: How Stock is Attributed

The §267(c)(1) is a downstream attribution rule. This means that the attribution of stock flows only in one direction – from entity to the shareholder, partner or beneficiary. There is no “upstream attribution” from shareholder, partner, or beneficiary to the corporation, partnership, estate or trust. Note that this differs from the attribution rules for many corporate transactions governed by §318.

Section 267(c)(1) fails to specify the manner in which attributed stock ownership should be apportioned. The most convincing authority for the apportionment of attributed stocks can be found in case law, particularly Hickman v. Commissioner, 30 T.C. Memo 1972-208. In that case, the Tax Court determined that stock would be attributed from a trust to its beneficiaries proportionately based on the fair market value without any discount for indirect ownership. Actuarial value apportionment was also rejected.

§267 Entity-to-Member Attribution: Chain Ownership

It is important to understand that stock constructively owned by a shareholder, partner, or beneficiary pursuant to §267(c)(1) is treated as actually owned for the purposes of further attribution. In other words, the constructive ownership of a shareholder, partner or beneficiary may be further attributed to others. Moreover, such attribution does not have to be under §267(c)(1); rather, any other attribution category can be used (for example, family member stock attribution).

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With US Tax Law

US tax law is extremely complex. An ordinary person will simply get lost in this labyrinth of tax rules, exceptions and requirements. Once you get into trouble with US tax law, it is much more difficult and expensive to extricate yourself from it due to high IRS penalties.

This is why it is important to contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with US tax law as soon as possible. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to successfully resolve their US tax compliance and US tax planning issues. We can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

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!