Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2007-31
July 30, 2007
Table of Contents
This document contains temporary regulations that apply to corporations that have undergone ownership changes within the meaning of section 382. These regulations provide guidance regarding the treatment of prepaid income under the built-in gain provisions of section 382(h). The text of these temporary regulations also serves as the text of the proposed regulations (REG-144540-06) set forth in the notice of proposed rulemaking on this subject in this issue of the Bulletin.
Effective Date: These regulations are effective on June 14, 2007.
Applicability Date: For dates of applicability, see §1.382-7T(b).
Section 382 limits, after a more than 50 percent change in stock ownership (ownership change), the amount of a loss corporation’s taxable income for any post-change year that may be offset by pre-change losses. The amount of the limitation each year is equal to the product of the fair market value of all the stock of the loss corporation immediately before the ownership change multiplied by the applicable long-term tax-exempt rate (section 382 limitation).
Section 382(h)(1)(A) provides that if the loss corporation has a net unrealized built-in gain (NUBIG), the section 382 limitation for any taxable year ending within a 5-year recognition period is increased by the recognized built-in gain (RBIG) for the taxable year, subject to the NUBIG limitation. Section 382(h)(2)(A) defines RBIG as any gain recognized during the 5-year recognition period on the disposition of any asset to the extent the loss corporation establishes that (i) it held the asset on the change date and (ii) such gain does not exceed the asset’s built-in gain on the change date. Section 382(h)(6)(A) also treats as RBIG any item of income “properly taken into account during the recognition period” if the item is “attributable to periods before the change date.”
In Notice 2003-65, 2003-2 C.B. 747, the IRS provided interim guidance regarding the identification of built-in gains and losses under section 382(h). The notice provides, among other things, that a loss corporation may use the 338 approach in determining the amount of its RBIG or recognized built-in loss (RBIL) for purposes of section 382(h). The 338 approach identifies items of RBIG and RBIL generally by comparing the loss corporation’s actual items of income, gain, deduction, and loss with those that would have resulted if a section 338 election had been made with respect to a hypothetical purchase of all of the outstanding stock of the loss corporation on the change date.
Generally, a taxpayer, including an accrual method taxpayer that receives payments in advance of performance, must include the payments in gross income in the taxable year of receipt without regard to whether the required performance has occurred. In Schlude v. Commissioner, 372 U.S. 128 (1963), the Supreme Court held that advance payments for dance lessons were includable in gross income when received because the payments were nonrefundable and the services were provided on demand of the student. In American Automobile Association v. United States, 367 U.S. 687 (1961), the Supreme Court held that membership dues entitling members to emergency road assistance and trip-planning services were includable in gross income when received, even though the taxpayer’s method reflected income in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (which generally operate to defer income recognition until the item is economically earned).
However, courts have allowed the deferral of prepaid income in limited circumstances. In Artnell Co. v. Commissioner, 400 F.2d 981 (7th Cir. 1968), the court held that amounts received on advance ticket sales relating to major league baseball games to be played on fixed dates in the next year could be deferred to that year. In Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Ltd. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2002-248, the Tax Court held that deposits received by a new baseball franchise (Devil Rays) in 1995 and 1996 on advance season tickets for major league baseball games to be played by the Devil Rays in its first season in 1998 could be deferred until 1998, even though the deferral period was greater than a year. The Tax Court emphasized that the games were to be played on a fixed and definite schedule in 1998 and that deferral more clearly matched the deposits with the related expenses that were incurred and deducted in 1998.
Congress, the IRS, and Treasury Department have allowed deferral of prepaid income in certain circumstances. For example, section 455 allows taxpayers that have prepaid subscription income for newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals to elect to defer such income to the taxable years during which the liability to furnish or deliver the newspaper, magazine, or periodical exists. Section 1.451-5(b)(1)(ii) allows advance payments for the sale of goods to be deferred to the year the payments are included in gross receipts under the taxpayer’s method of accounting for tax purposes (such as when the goods are shipped or delivered), unless the income is recorded earlier for purposes of the taxpayer’s financial statements. For goods that must be inventoried, the permitted deferral is further limited by §1.451-5(c)(1) to the second year following the year substantial advance payments, as defined in §1.451-5(c)(3), are received.
Revenue Procedure 71-21, 1971-2 C.B. 549, which was modified and superseded by Rev. Proc. 2004-34, 2004-1 C.B. 991, allowed accrual method taxpayers that received a payment in one taxable year for services to be performed before the end of the next succeeding taxable year to defer income inclusion until the services were performed (but no later than the end of the succeeding taxable year). The stated purpose of the Revenue Procedure was to reconcile the tax accounting treatment of such payments with the financial accounting conventions consistently used by accrual method taxpayers in the treatment of such payments. Rev. Proc. 2004-34 allows a qualifying taxpayer to defer advance payments for services (and for certain non-services and combinations of services and non-services) to the taxable year succeeding the taxable year of receipt to the extent the taxpayer establishes that the advance payments are not recognized in revenues in the taxpayer’s applicable financial statement in the taxable year of receipt; or, if the taxpayer does not have an applicable financial statement, the payment is not earned in the taxable year of receipt.
The common purpose of the prepaid income deferral provisions described above is to better match the taxpayer’s income with the expenses incurred to earn that income and, as a result, to more clearly reflect the taxpayer’s income both in the year of receipt and in the year of performance.
Certain taxpayers are taking the position that prepaid income received in the period before the change date (pre-change period) but included in gross income in the recognition period is RBIG. As further explained below, the IRS and Treasury Department believe that prepaid income is attributable to the period on or after the change date (post-change period) rather than the pre-change period. Thus, treating prepaid income as RBIG is inconsistent with the purposes of section 382(h).
This temporary regulation provides that prepaid income is not recognized built-in gain. The term prepaid income means any amount received prior to the change date that is attributable to performance occurring on or after the change date. Examples to which the temporary regulation applies include, but are not limited to, income received prior to the change date that is deferred under section 455, §1.451-5, or Rev. Proc. 2004-34 (or any successor revenue procedure).
The IRS and Treasury Department believe that the section 382 legislative history, through the examples set forth therein, supports the position that prepaid income should not be treated as RBIG for section 382 purposes. The House and Senate Committee Reports that accompanied the enactment of section 382(h)(6)(A) both state that items of income attributable to the pre-change period include accounts receivable of a cash basis taxpayer that arose before the change date and are collected after that date, the gain on completion of a long-term contract performed by a taxpayer using the completed contract method of accounting that is attributable to the pre-change period, and the recognition of income attributable to the pre-change period pursuant to section 481 adjustments, as when the loss corporation is required to change to the accrual method. See H. Rep. No. 100-795, 46 (1988); S. Rep. No. 100-445, 48 (1988).
The IRS and Treasury Department believe that prepaid income is distinguishable from the income items described in the committee report examples. In each of the committee report examples, the item of income is attributable to the pre-change period because that is the period in which performance occurred and expenses were incurred to earn the income. By contrast, prepaid income is attributable to the post-change period because that is the period in which performance occurred and expenses were incurred to earn the income. Therefore, because prepaid income is attributable to the post-change period rather than the pre-change period, the IRS and Treasury Department have determined that such prepaid income should not be treated as RBIG under section 382(h).
The 338 approach described in Notice 2003-65 hereinafter will be applied consistently with this temporary regulation.
The text of these temporary regulations also serves as the text of the proposed regulations set forth in the notice of proposed rulemaking on this subject in this issue of the Bulletin. Please see the “Comments and Requests for a Public Hearing” section of the notice of proposed rulemaking for the procedures to follow in submitting comments on the proposed regulations on this subject.
In preparing comments on the proposed regulations, please consider the following. In Notice 2003-65, comments were requested regarding the different approaches, including the 338 approach, set forth for determining RBIG and RBIL under section 382(h). The IRS and Treasury Department believe the 338 approach, in most cases, will properly identify whether or not an item of income or deduction is treated as RBIG or RBIL. However, the IRS and Treasury Department are concerned that taking items of income and deduction into account separately may cause the 338 approach, in some cases, to not properly identify whether or not an item of income or deduction is treated as RBIG or RBIL. The purpose of section 382(h)(6) is to treat items of income or deduction in similar fashion to gain and loss under section 382(h)(2). However, under general tax principles, there is a fundamental difference between the treatment of items of income or deduction and items of gain or loss. On the one hand, under section 382(h)(2), which incorporates the principles of section 1001, gain or loss on the disposition of an asset is taken into account net of the taxpayer’s basis, or investment, in the assets. In contrast, under section 382(h)(6), an item of income is generally a gross amount that is not netted and therefore not necessarily matched with the item of deduction incurred to earn the item of income.
Therefore, the IRS and Treasury Department request comments on the proposed regulations about identifying cases where taking into account items of income and deduction separately may cause the 338 approach to not properly identify whether or not an item of income or deduction is treated as RBIG or RBIL, and how the 338 approach might be adapted so that in such cases it properly identifies whether or not an item of income or deduction is treated as RBIG or RBIL.
It has been determined that this Treasury decision is not a significant regulatory action as defined in Executive Order 12866. Therefore, a regulatory assessment is not required. These temporary regulations address situations in which taxpayers inappropriately attempt to treat deferred prepaid income as net unrealized built-in gain for purposes of increasing the amount of post-ownership change income that may be offset by pre-ownership change losses. For this reason, it has been determined pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) that prior notice and public procedure are impracticable and contrary to the public interest. For the same reason, it has been determined pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) that good cause exists to make these temporary regulations effective upon the date of publication. For applicability of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) refer to the Special Analyses section of the preamble to the cross-reference notice of the proposed rulemaking published in this issue of the Bulletin. Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Code, these temporary regulations will be submitted to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on their impact on small business.
IRS revenue rulings, procedures, and notices cited in this preamble are made available by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.
* * * * *
Accordingly, 26 CFR part 1 is amended as follows:
Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 1 is amended by adding an entry in numerical order to read as follows:
Authority: 26 U.S.C. 7805 * * *
Section 1.382-7T also issued under 26 U.S.C. 382(m).* * *
Par. 2. Section 1.382-7T is added to read as follows:
(a) Treatment of prepaid income. For purposes of section 382(h), prepaid income is not recognized built-in gain. The term prepaid income means any amount received prior to the change date that is attributable to performance occurring on or after the change date. Examples to which this paragraph (a) will apply include, but are not limited to, income received prior to the change date that is deferred under section 455, §1.451-5, or Rev. Proc. 2004-34, 2004-1 C.B. 991 (or any successor revenue procedure) (see §601.601(d)(2) of this chapter).
(b) Effective/Applicability date. (1) This section applies to loss corporations that have undergone an ownership change on or after June 14, 2007.
(2) The applicability of this section expires on or before June 11, 2010.
Kevin M. Brown,
Deputy Commissioner for
Services and Enforcement.
Approved June 4, 2007.
of the Treasury.
(Filed by the Office of the Federal Register on June 13, 2007, 8:45 a.m., and published in the issue of the Federal Register for June 14, 2007, 72 F.R. 32792)
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