The Treasury and IRS have issued final regulations eliminating the signature requirement for making a Code Sec. 754 election (section 754 election). The regulations finalize 2017 proposed regulations ( REG-116256-17), on which taxpayers were entitled to rely.

Election Signature Requirement

A partnership can make a section 754 election to adjust the basis of partnership property in the event the inside and outside bases are unequal. If the partnership files a section 754 election and there is a distribution of property, the basis of partnership property will be adjusted in the manner provided in Code Sec. 734. If the partnership files a section 754 election and there is a transfer of a partnership interest, the basis of partnership property will be adjusted in the manner provided in Code Sec. 743. The section 754 election applies to all distributions of property by the partnership and to all transfers of interests in the partnership during the tax year for which the election was filed and all subsequent tax years.

The regulations under Code Sec. 754 require a section 754 election to be made in a written statement (section 754 election statement) filed with the partnership return for the tax year during which the distribution or transfer occurs. The requirement of a written statement applies to returns filed either electronically or on paper. For the election to be valid, the return must be filed by the due date for the return, including extensions.

The amended regulation, which is identical to the 2017 proposed amendment, removes a requirement that the section 754 election statement be signed by one of the partners. Under the regulation before its amendment, a partnership filing an unsigned section 754 election statement with its partnership return failed to make a valid section 754 election. An unsigned statement is valid under the amended regulation if it meets the remaining requirements.

The regulation, as amended, retains two requirements. It continues to provide that a taxpayer making a section 754 election must file a statement with its return that:

  • sets forth the name and address of the partnership making the section 754 election, and
  • contains a declaration that the partnership elects under section 754 to apply the provisions of Code Sec. 734(b) and Code Sec. 743(b).

Effective and Applicability Dates

The amendment eliminating the signature requirement is effective August 5, 2022, and applies to tax years ending on or after the date of publication of the final regulation in the Federal Register. Taxpayers may, however, apply the amendment to tax years ending before that date.