The IRS has issued final regulations that provide guidance on transfers of appreciated property by U.S. persons to partnerships with foreign partners related to the transferor. Specifically, the regulations override the general nonrecognition rule under Code Sec. 721(a) unless the partnership adopts the remedial allocation method and certain other requirements are satisfied. The regulations affect U.S. partners in domestic or foreign partnerships.
Code Sec. 721(a) generally provides that no gain or loss is recognized by either a partnership or any of its partners upon a contribution of property to the partnership in exchange for a partnership interest. In Code Sec. 721(c), the Treasury Secretary has regulatory authority to override this nonrecognition provision for gain realized on the transfer of property to a domestic or foreign partnership if the gain, when recognized, would be includible in the gross income of a person other than a U.S. person.
Under temporary regulations issued in 2017, if a U.S. person contributes certain property with built-in gain to a partnership that has foreign partners related to the transferor, then gain will be recognized unless the gain deferral method is applied with respect to the property ( Temporary Reg. §§1.721(c)-2T; 1.721(c)-3T). Under a de minimis exception, nonrecognition continues to apply if the sum of all built-in gain property contributed to the partnership during the tax year does not exceed $1 million.
The final regulations adopt the temporary regulations with certain modifications.
Related Person Definition
The final regulations modify the definition of related person in certain situations. This modification provides relief when certain foreign individual partners of a partnership would be treated as a related person with respect to a domestic corporation by reason of Code Sec. 267(c)(3).
Consistent Allocation Method
The final regulations add a new sentence in Reg. §1.721(c)-3(c)(1). Upon a variation (as described in Reg. §1.706-4(a)(1)) of a U.S. transferor’s interest in a Code Sec. 721(c) partnership, book items with respect to section 721(c) property that are allocated under the interim closing method (as described in Reg. §1.706-4) will be treated as allocated in the same percentage for applying the consistent allocation method in a single tax year, unless the variation results from a transaction undertaken with a principal purpose of avoiding the tax consequences of the gain deferral method.
The 2017 regulations required much of the reporting to be on statements attached to returns. Since the 2017 regulations were issued, however, the IRS has updated and added new schedules to Form 8865, Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Partnerships, to facilitate compliance with these reporting requirements. The IRS has also issued new Form 8838-P, Consent To Extend the Time To Assess Tax Pursuant to the Gain Deferral Method (Section 721(c)). The final regulations generally require taxpayers to use these forms and schedules.
The final regulations also clarify the duration for which the U.S. transferor must extend the period of limitations on the assessment of tax under Reg. §1.721(c)-6(b).
Technical Termination Rules
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, ( P.L. 115-97) (the “TCJA”) eliminated technical terminations. However, the applicability date for these final regulations relates back to the applicability date provided in the 2017 regulations, which is before the effective date provided in the TCJA. Accordingly, the final regulations retain technical termination rules, but their application will be limited. The rules will only apply to technical terminations occurring on or after the applicability date provided in the 2017 regulations but before the effective date for the repeal of Code Sec. 708(b)(1)(B) provided in the TCJA.
The regulations are effective on the date of filing with the Federal Register. For dates of applicability, see Reg. §§1.197-2(l)(5)(i), 1.704-1(f), 1.704-3(g)(1), 1.721(c)-1(e), 1.721(c)-2(e), 1.721(c)-3(e), 1.721(c)-4(d), 1.721(c)-5(g), 1.721(c)-6(g), and 1.6038B-2(j)(4).