United States: 美国新合伙企业税务审计规则将影响私人投资基金工具

2015年11月2日,美国总统奥巴马签署了《2015年两党预算法案》("BBA")。该法案包含的新规则("新审计规则")极大地改变了现有美国联邦税法中与被视为"合伙企业"实体(为美国联邦税收目的)的税务审计有关的许多方面。这些改变必然会对该等实体产生重大影响,包括私募股权基金、对冲基金、不动产和其他私有投资工具。

摘要

BBA将适用2018年1月1日或之后开始的纳税年度,其在很大程度上修改了美国国税局对为税收目的被归为"合伙企业"的实体所提交的纳税申报表进行审查的方式。由于许多私募投资基金工具出于税收目的设立为被视为合伙企业的实体,这些规则必定会对这些投资工具产生一定的影响。以下为部分重大的影响:

  • 新审计规则首次允许美国国税局根据对合伙企业审计的结果,直接向合伙企业征收该合伙企业的合伙人欠缴的美国联邦所得税(包括罚款及其利息)。因此,在审计完成时该等身为合伙人的人士将承担该欠缴税款的经济后果,即使该税款与以前年度相关。然而,新审计规则也提供了一项可控的选择机制,合伙企业(经过一定权衡后)可将支付欠缴金额的责任转回给审计所核查的年度时作为合伙人的人士。下文会就此作详细阐述。
  • 由于美国国税局对合伙企业的审计和收取税款将变得更简单容易(即美国国税局现在只需向一方—合伙企业—征收而不必向众多合伙人追索),由此可以预见美国国税局对所有合伙企业(包括私有投资工具)开展联邦收入审计的比率会显著提高。
  • 也可以预见的是,所有的合伙企业及其合伙人将需在合约中就他们以何种方式承担应此产生的义务达成一致。因此,许多合伙协议可能现在就需要详细的写明赔偿/补偿约定。且通过该等约定,所有合伙人(以及前合伙人)将同意向合伙企业和其他合伙人赔偿/补偿他们在此类义务中各自应承担的份额。合伙企业和第三方(诸如贷款人)之间各种类型的合约也将可能受到影响。
  • 受让现有合伙企业权益的受让人可能会开始要求转让人和/或合伙企业就转让发生之前的税务责任进行赔偿。
  • 新审计规则似乎是税法(包括2010年出台的《外国账户税务合规法案》或FATCA》)变革趋势的一种延续,在此趋势下,私有投资工具及其他纳税合伙企业需要取得、维持并更新日益细化的信息—包括纳税状况—不仅包括其直接合伙人的信息,还包括该等合伙人直接或间接的所有者的信息。这些以"了解您的投资者"为形式的信息要求有可能继续对私募投资基金和类似(投资)工具造成隐私和数据安全(等其他方面的)问题。

审计规则的关键方面

以下是针对新审计规则部分关键方面的讨论:

适用新审计规则的合伙企业。新合伙企业审计规则适用于2018年1月1日或之后开始的纳税年度(虽然现有合伙企业目前已有权选择即时适用新审计规则)。该新审计规则通常适用于为美国税收目的被归类为合伙企业的任何实体(即,包括在税务上被归为合伙企业的有限责任公司等)及其他必须提交美国合伙企业纳税申报的任何实体。适用该规则的合伙企业可选择在某一纳税年度不适用新审计规则,但必须就该年度满足以下要求:

  • 合伙企业有100名或更少的合伙人,
  • 各合伙人是自然人、遗产托管人、C型公司、S型公司或在国内即被视为C型公司的外国实体,及
  • 满足与该选择有关的特定程序要求。

需重点注意的是,如果在某一纳税年度,任何合伙企业的合伙人为信托或另一合伙企业,则在该年度不得选择排除新审计规则的适用。这对于合伙人中有(为美国联邦税收目的)可能被视为"信托"的免税实体的合伙企业,以及传统上拥有"合伙企业"作为合伙人的合伙企业,如"基金的基金"("fund-to-fund")投资工具和通过典型的"主从"("master-feeder")结构架构的对冲基金来说具有特殊重大意义。

此外,如果合伙企业拥有一家S型公司作为合伙人,那么只有在合伙企业(以美国国税局规定的方式)向美国国税局披露S型公司每位股东的名字和纳税人识别号后,方可行使此排除适用选择权。(此外,S型公司的每位股东都须计数,以确定合伙企业是否有100名或更少的合伙人)。因此,即使假定合伙企业在其他方面符合行使排除适用选择权的条件,合伙企业仍需要其每位合伙人向该合伙企业提供额外承诺,保证其不仅提供有关合伙人自身身份和税收分类的最新信息,还包括该合伙人的所有者(如股东)的该类信息。对一般合伙企业而言要完成这点可能较为困难。

合伙企业对合伙人的税款责任。与目前的法律基本一致,新审计规则也概括地规定,对合伙企业收入、收益、亏损、扣除或抵扣项目的任何调整,均将由美国国税局在合伙企业的级层决定。然而,新审计规则对存在已久的税法的重大改变在于,其规定美国国税局通常将认定并直接向合伙企业(而非与调整年度有关的合伙人)收取因合伙企业最终审计调整导致的合伙人所欠缴的任何额外税款、罚款或利息。

因为合伙企业将对合伙人因审计而增加的纳税义务(包括罚款与利息,如适用)直接负责,所以在审计最终完成年度作为合伙人的人士(而非审计所核查年度期间作为合伙人的人士)将承担缴税的经济负担。因此,如合伙人权益将会或可能随时间变化(无论是通过销售、回赎、违约或其他事件变化)的任何合伙投资工具,包括对冲基金以及私募股权/风险投资基金或其他投资工具,应考虑在其合伙协议中加入一般赔偿义务条款,约定每位合伙人和前合伙人同意就合伙企业因新审计规则而被施加的任何纳税义务承担适当的份额。[i]

重要的是,新审计规则的一项主要目的就是要减轻美国国税局向单个合伙人课征和收取就合伙投资工具所得税审计所致额外税款的负担。单就此原因而言,可以预见到美国国税局对合伙投资工具的审计将更易完成,且在随后数年中审计可能会显着增多。

纳税义务的计算。新审计规则中可能最受不确定因素影响,可能产生最复杂情况的条款就是审计调整后,对合伙企业应缴付税额的计算条款。一般来讲,新审计规则规定,确定合伙企业应缴付的纳税责任金额时,应根据审计对收入、收益、亏损、或扣除项目作出的所有调整进行净额结算,然后将任何正净值乘以被审计年度有效的最高个人或公司税率。新审计规则还指示美国国税局设置一套程序,在此程序下合伙企业的纳税义务金额可以按照与这些规则"相一致的要求"进行修改。

新法规表明美国国税局即将实施的程序应在一定程度上减轻合伙企业的义务,前提是合伙企业需能够证明审计调整可分配给享有免税实体资格(包括非美国人士和实体)而无需缴税的合伙人。美国国税局也被要求针对任何审计调整部分考虑适用较低的税率,前提是合伙企业证明该审计调整部分可分配给(在普通收入情况下为)C型公司类型的合伙人和(在资本利得或合格股息情况下)身为个人的合伙人。美国国税局也有权基于"[美国国税局]为执行[新审计规则]之目的而认为必要或适当的其它因素",采纳其他规则修改合伙企业的责任金额。

美国国税局即将执行的新规则是否将个别合伙人的其它特定税收属性考虑在内还有待观察。例如,不动产投资信托(REIT)合伙企业的合伙人,或有净营业亏损的合伙人,每位此类合伙人都有可在许多情形下降低或豁免某项纳税义务的税务属性。在即将实施的新规则项下,尚不清楚美国国税局将如何或是否允许将那些降低或豁免的项目类型考虑在内。若某个合伙人自身即是一个"合伙企业",是否会通过"穿透"的方式查明这些税务属性也未可知。

尽管有诸多的不确定性,比较清楚的是所有合伙企业,包括私募股权基金、对冲基金和其它类似投资工具,将需要获取、维持和更新其直接合伙人的和该合伙人的直接和间接所有者的身份和纳税状态的详细信息。

转移责任给合伙人的选择权。新审计规则规定,合伙企业可通过一种方式(称为"6226选择权")将缴纳税款的义务从合伙企业(也因此从审计完成时作为合伙人的人士身上)转回给那些在调整所涉及年度内作为合伙人的人士。为了充分利用6226选择权,合伙企业需(i)在审计结束的45天内进行选择,及(ii)(以美国国税局将规定的时间和方式)向调整所涉及年度内作为合伙人的每位人士或实体提供一份声明(即,实质上是一份经修订的K-1附表),表明他们各自在审计所发生的任何调整中对应的份额。随后个人合伙人(或前合伙人)需计算调整结果对其在受审计年度纳税义务的影响,并在其当年纳税申报时支付因此产生的任何额外税款及利息(利率比适用于欠缴税款的正常利率高2%)。

6226选择权对某些(投资)工具可能尤为管用,比如对冲基金,因为其合伙人的数量和身份年年都有重大变化。然而,如上所述,行使6226选择权的合伙企业需要考虑一项重要的"权衡"因素,即个人合伙人支付税款时将被课以高于正常利率(即加上2%)的利率。

然而,围绕6226选择权有几个方面现在仍不清楚。例如,美国国税局须阐明合伙企业实施选择权以及向受审计年度中作为合伙人的人士提供声明的时间和方式。此外,对于自身就是合伙企业的合伙人来说,这项程序是如何运行的仍是未知。而且,该程序似乎只适用于因合伙企业审计而增加纳税义务的合伙人。换言之,因调整而减轻受审计年度纳税义务的任何合伙人似乎不能在他/她/它自己的纳税申报中报告该等减轻的情况。相反,该减轻将仅视为审计完成年度合伙企业收入的减少(从而增加当时作为合伙人人士的利益)。[iii]

合伙企 "代表"在该等新审计规则之前,合伙企业通常需委任一名"税收事务合伙人"("tax matter partner"),就美国联邦所得税审计的相关事项代表合伙企业。新审计规则消除了"税收事务合伙人的概念,但要求合伙企业委任一名"合伙企业代表"("partnership representative"),全权代表合伙企业处理审计或司法程序。然而,不同于"税收事务合伙人","合伙企业代表"不再必须是合伙企业的合伙人。这在法律上是个很有帮助的变化,特别是对于私募投资基金而言,因为现在非合伙人人士和实体,比如非合伙人管理公司或投资顾问,可代表合伙企业担负此职能。如果合伙企业未委任代表,则美国国税局有权为其委任一名代表。美国国税局对该职位的委任人选似乎没有任何限制。

对现有法律的另一项明显变更为,新审计规则消除了合伙企业合伙人参与任何针对合伙企业所做的美国联邦所得税审计或甚至接受与审计相关通知的现有法律权利。因此,合伙人现在可能需要就这些问题向合伙企业寻求更强的合同保护,比如在合伙协议中承诺提供与税务审计有关的信息和/或通知,和/或要求合伙企业代表在其使合伙企业受到约束前取得合伙人的同意。

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.