U.S. Tax Laws Update: Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 and How it Will Affect Your Business
Updated: Jun 4
The landscape of U.S. tax law has witnessed several key transformations in recent times. These changes have been driven primarily by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, which introduced significant new tax measures, and various rulings by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This article will explore these changes in depth, explaining their potential impacts on corporations, partnerships, and other entities.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
The IRA, signed into law on August 16, 2022, marked a significant shift in U.S. tax policy. This legislation introduced a corporate alternative minimum tax and an excise tax on stock buybacks. It also boosted the funding available to the IRS, enabling the organization to better fulfill its responsibilities.
Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (CAMT)
A key feature of the IRA is the CAMT. This tax imposes a minimum 15% tax on the financial-statement income of corporations that have an average financial-statement income exceeding $1 billion over three consecutive years. This tax also applies to U.S. corporations that are part of foreign-parented multinational groups meeting this income test, if the U.S. corporation has at least $100 million average financial-statement income over the same period.
The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that only 150 companies would be subject to the CAMT. However, it remains uncertain whether the law and regulations could extend the tax to more companies than initially expected. This uncertainty underscores the need for corporations to thoroughly understand this new law and to ensure they remain in compliance with it.
The Buyback Tax
Another significant provision of the IRA is the Buyback Tax. This tax imposes a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks by public corporations. It applies to public U.S. corporations and certain inverted public non-U.S. corporations that repurchase stock worth $1 million or more in a tax year. Moreover, U.S. affiliates of public non-U.S. corporations would also be subject to the tax if they repurchase or, in some cases, fund a repurchase of stock of their affiliated public non-U.S. corporation.
The introduction of the Buyback Tax represents an effort to curb the use of stock buybacks as a means for corporations to return capital to shareholders. While the overall impact of this tax remains to be seen, it represents a significant development in corporate tax policy.
CFC and PFIC Regulations
In addition to the IRA, there have been substantial changes in the regulations governing Controlled Foreign Corporations (CFCs) and Passive Foreign Investment Companies (PFICs). The IRS finalized regulations that look through partnerships to ensure that only partners that are themselves 10% shareholders will have subpart F inclusions from CFCs. This ruling represents a shift from the previous rules where partnerships were generally treated as an entity separate from its partners for tax purposes.
Simultaneously, the IRS issued proposed regulations with respect to PFICs held by partnerships. These regulations treat the partnership on a look-through basis with respect to inclusions and elections. Under the proposed regulations, all PFIC consequences, including inclusions and elections, would be made by the partners instead of the partnership. This is a departure from current rules, under which a partnership would make (or not make) a mark-to-market election or an election to treat a PFIC as a "qualified electing fund".
PTP Withholding Regulations
Another notable development is the implementation of the final regulations under Section 1446(f), which requires brokers to withhold on dispositions of publicly traded partnership (PTP) interests. These regulations became effective on January 1, 2023. Initially, they were finalized in 2020 and were supposed to be effective for transfers after January 1, 2022, but their effective date was delayed by a year. This shift has significant implications for brokers, who must now withhold 10% of the amount realized by the transferor unless they receive a valid W-9 or W-8 claiming an exemption from withholding or that a reduced rate of withholding applies, or a qualified notice from the PTP indicating that the 10% exception applies.
These regulations created a challenge for brokers as they had to sort out their withholding obligations for PTP transactions. To ease this difficulty, the IRS released Notice 2023-8 in December 2022, acknowledging the problems faced by brokers in determining whether non-U.S. entities are PTPs for withholding purposes. The notice announced that the government would propose regulations allowing a broker to presume that an entity organized outside the United States is not a PTP unless the broker has actual knowledge to the contrary. This provision offers some relief and flexibility to brokers who deal with foreign entities.
In conclusion, these developments in U.S. tax law have ushered in a new era in the world of corporate and partnership taxation. It is essential for businesses, partnerships, and tax professionals to familiarize themselves with these changes to ensure compliance and to optimize their tax strategies. As these tax laws continue to evolve, staying up-to-date with the latest regulations and rulings becomes even more critical. The tax law experts at VAdam Law can provide personalized advice based on specific circumstances, ensure compliance with the requirements, and help maximize the tax benefits to your business.
If you would like to learn more about VAdam Law and schedule a free consultation, visit our online scheduling portal or call 24 hours a day at (954) 451-0792.