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Proposed Regulations Address Terminated S Corporation Distributions

The IRS has proposed regulations that define an eligible terminated S corporation (ETSC), and provide rules relating to distributions of money by an ETSC after the post-termination transition period (PTTP). The proposed regulations also extend the treatment of distributions of money during the PTTP to all shareholders of the corporation, and update and clarify the allocation of current earnings and profits to distributions of money and other property.

Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 1371(f), as added by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97) extends the period during which C corporation shareholders can benefit from the corporation’s accumulated adjustment account (AAA) generated during its former status as an S corporation. Specifically, the provision allows the C corporation to source qualified distributions of money to which IRC Section 301 would otherwise apply to in whole or part to AAA. The provision only applies if the corporation is an ETSC as defined in IRC Section 481(d).

Under the proposed regulations, the revocation of S corporation status may be made during the two-year period beginning on December 22, 2017, even if the effective date for the revocation occurs after the conclusion of the two-year period.

Shareholder Identity Requirement

A former S corporation is not an ETSC unless the owners of its stock are the same owners (and in identical proportions) on December 22, 2017, and on the date of the S corporation revocation. The proposed regulations identify various categories of stock transfers that are not considered an ownership change for purposes of this rule.

ETSC Proration

A distributing ETSC’s AAA is allocated to qualified distributions and the distributions are chargeable to the ETSC’s accumulated earnings and profits (AE&P) based on the ETSC proration. The ETSC proration is implemented in a manner that facilitates the prompt distribution of AAA and full transition to C corporation status. Specifically, the proposed regulations  specify the time at which amounts of AAA and AE&P are determined for purposes of the ETSC proration;

  • provide AAA and AE&P ratios used to the implement the proration; and
  • describe in detail the method of characterizing qualified distributions.

The proposed regulations adopt a “snapshot” approach under which amounts of AAA and AE&P are determined on a specified date. As a result, the same ETSC proration is applied to all qualified distributions. Under the proposed regulations, the determination date is the date when the S corporation revocation election is effective. A “dynamic” approach that recalculated the amounts before each qualified distribution was rejected as administratively cumbersome.

The proposed regulations provide two ratios for determining the part of a qualified distribution that is sourced from AAA and from AE&P. The AAA ratio is the ratio of historical AAA to the sum of historical AAA and historical AE&P. The AE&P ratio is the ratio of historical AE&P and the sum of historical AAA and historical AE&P. The qualified distribution is multiplied by these ratios to determine the amount sourced from AAA and AE&P.

The proposed regulations provide a priority rule under which ETSC proration first applies to qualified distributions during the tax year. The rules of IRC Section 301 and allocation rules of IRC Section 316 then apply to any nonqualified distributions that are not fully accounted for by the ETSC proration because the corporation’s AAA or AE&P are exhausted.

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