This post outlines at a high-level certain provisions under the recently enacted 2017 tax legislation (Pub. L. 115-97, the “Tax Act”) that may affect M&A Transactions. Some of these rules are very complex, particularly in cross-border transactions, and this post describes them in general terms without all of their fine details. The discussion of foreign corporations below is in the context of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. groups.
Multiple Lower Effective Corporate Tax Rates
There are now multiple effective corporate tax rates and the much-despised corporate alternative minimum tax has been repealed. Because all of them are substantially below 35 percent, they may contribute to an increase in asset prices. In addition, tax benefits now may be less valuable to corporate purchasers than to non-corporate buyers.
Base Corporate Income Tax Rate—21 percent tax rate (effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017). No sunset provision.
Certain Foreign Source Income Earned from the U.S (“FDII”).—Intended to attract cross-border business back to the U.S., a tax rate lower than 21 percent is now imposed on certain excess returns earned by a U.S. corporation on the sale, license or lease of property or the provision of services to an unrelated foreign party for foreign use or consumption. (Additional rules apply when the transaction is with a related party.) In broad terms, the lower rate applies to the foreign source income from these transactions in excess of 10 percent of the corporation’s allocable depreciable tangible property basis.