U.S. Inbound Real Estate Investment

On June 7, 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department (“Treasury”) and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released proposed Treasury regulations under Sections 897, 1445 and 1446 (the “Proposed Regulations”) regarding the exception for qualified foreign pension funds (“QFPFs”) from taxation under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (“FIRPTA”) provisions

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[1] 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).

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (“PATH Act”) included a number of significant changes to the U.S. federal income tax rules related to real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) and investments by non-U.S. investors in U.S. real estate (commonly referred to as “FIRPTA”). For a detailed overview of