Today, December 19, 2021, Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) said that he opposes the Build Back Better Act, which effectively prevents its passage. While there are no immediate prospects for the Build Back Better Act to become law, future tax acts tend to draw upon earlier proposals. With a view
The U.S. tax authorities have issued substantial guidance related to the phase-out of LIBOR – relevant to lenders, borrowers and parties to financial instruments of virtually every type.
In proposed regulations (“the Proposed Regulations”) released on October 9, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (the “Treasury”) addressed market concerns regarding the U.S. tax effect of the expected transition from LIBOR and other interbank offered rates (“IBORs”) on debt instruments (e.g., loans, notes and bonds) and non-debt contracts (e.g., swaps and other derivatives). The key tax concern to date has been whether the replacement of an IBOR-reference rate in a debt instrument or non-debt contract with a different reference rate would result in a taxable exchange of the debt instrument or contract, potentially triggering a current U.S. tax liability to one or more of the parties.
The core of the Proposed Regulations provide some comfort – they detail the requirements for the rate replacement to not result in a taxable event (either in respect of the instrument itself or to certain integrated hedging transactions). The Proposed Regulations also contain transition guidance on other matters potentially impacted by the rate change, such as maintenance of REMIC status and the calculation of interest expense of a foreign bank with a U.S. branch.
While the Proposed Regulations are broadly taxpayer favorable – and indeed draw heavily on input from the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC”), which was charged with facilitating voluntary acceptance of alternative reference rates, as well as comments from other industry groups – their scope is limited enough that affected taxpayers should take care to ensure that amendments to their loans and other financial instruments are tailored to conform to the Proposed Regulations. In particular, in order to avoid a taxable event, affected taxpayers substituting an IBOR-referencing rate for a new rate, such as SOFR, will need to satisfy several tests, including a test of whether the fair market value of the affected loan or financial instrument is substantially equivalent both before and after the rate is changed, taking into account any lump-sum payment made.
Taxpayers may generally rely on the Proposed Regulations until final regulations are published, provided that the rules are applied consistently by taxpayers and their related parties. Read the rest of this post for background on the LIBOR transition, and a more complete description of the Proposed Regulations. Please contact any of the authors listed above or your usual Proskauer contact to discuss any aspect of the Proposed Regulations applicable to your specific circumstances.
On November 26, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (the “Treasury”) issued proposed regulations (the “Proposed Regulations”) under section 163(j) of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”). Section 163(j) limits the deductibility of net business interest expense to 30% of “adjusted taxable income” plus “floor plan financing interest expense” for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017.
The Proposed Regulations generally apply to taxable years ending after the date the Proposed Regulations are published as final regulations. However, taxpayers may elect to apply the Proposed Regulations retroactively to a taxable year beginning after December 31, 2017 so long as the taxpayer and any related parties consistently apply the Proposed Regulations to those taxable years.
This post provides background and a general summary of some of the most important aspects of the Proposed Regulations. For more information, please contact any of the Proskauer tax lawyers listed on this post or your regular Proskauer contact. Click to read more about the Proposed Regulations.
Yesterday afternoon, the House of Representatives passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) (the “House bill”). The House bill is identical to the draft bill approved by the House Ways and Means Committee on November 10. Late last night the Senate Finance Committee approved its own conceptual version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. An initial, descriptive version of the Senate Finance Committee bill (for which actual statutory text is still forthcoming) prepared by the Joint Committee on Taxation (the “JCT”) was released on Thursday, November 9. The Senate Finance Committee subsequently revised the bill significantly, as reflected in the JCT descriptions of the modifications released on Tuesday, November 12, and a further amendment released late last night (as modified, the “modified Senate bill” and generally, the “Senate bill”). The modified Senate bill varies in certain important respects from the House’s bill.
The modified Senate bill introduces significant changes to the Senate bill released last week. Perhaps most significantly, the modified Senate bill would repeal the provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requiring individuals without minimum health coverage to make “shared responsibility payments” (commonly referred to as the “individual mandate”). The modified Senate bill also provides for most changes to individual taxation to sunset after December 31, 2025, including the repeal of the individual AMT, the reduced rate for pass-through entities, the reductions in ordinary income tax rates and brackets, the repeal of itemized deductions, the increased standard deduction, and the expanded exemption for estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes. Notably, the reduced corporate rate cut of 20% (reduced from 35%) effective in 2019 would be permanent.
We have outlined below some of the significant changes in the latest draft of the Senate bill, and summarized the key differences between the modified Senate bill and the House bill. Because the Senate has not yet released legislative text, this summary is based only on the JCT’s descriptions of the Senate Finance Committee’s bill (in its original and modified form) and the November 16 amendment (as published on the Senate Finance Committee website).
Last week, in McKelvey v. Commissioner¸ the U.S. Tax Court held that the extension of a typical variable prepaid forward contract (“VPFC”) did not give rise to a taxable exchange to the obligor because a VPFC is solely an obligation, and not property, within the meaning of section 1001 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Tax Court also noted this result is consistent with the usual treatment of a VPFC as an “open transaction”. This decision is very good news for an obligor under a VPFC (that is, the party required under the contract to deliver cash or stock at the end of the term of the VPFC), that wishes to extend a VPFC without tax consequences. If the decision is upheld on appeal under the Tax Court’s reasoning, the case would seem to apply equally an obligor that extends a conventional option, and could even provide a basis for debtors to argue that a modification of their debt does not give rise to an exchange (and thus, does not give rise to cancellation of indebtedness income) notwithstanding Treasury regulations section 1.1001-3. However, the Tax Court’s reasoning in McKelvey is in some tension with other authorities and, if taken at face value, could create opportunities for significant tax deferral on a wide variety of financial products.
Recently, in Wright v. Commissioner, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has reopened the question of the application of Section 1256 to foreign currency options (and also, possibly, to foreign currency swaps or other, similar foreign currency derivatives). Section 1256 requires a taxpayer…