United States: Officials Provide Update On International Guidance Projects

On Sept. 30, officials from Treasury and the IRS provided an update on a number of guidance projects relating to international tax. Speaking at the American Bar Association Section of Taxation's fall meeting in Boston, the officials discussed anticipated timing for ongoing and upcoming guidance projects, including some of those listed in this year's IRS Priority Guidance Plan. The projects were generally discussed in two categories – projects anticipated to be completed by the end of 2016 and projects anticipated to be completed by the end of 2017.

In 2016, the officials said they anticipated the following guidance projects:

  • Final regulations under Section 367 (REG-139483-13) addressing transfers made by U.S. persons of certain property, including foreign goodwill and going-concern value
  • Voluntary country-by-country (CbC) reports for the 2016 tax year  
  • Final Section 721(c) regulations addressing U.S. persons' transfers of certain property to a partnership that has foreign partners  
  • Final Section 956 regulations addressing treatment as U.S. property of property held by a controlled foreign corporation in connection with certain transactions involving partnerships
  • Section 901(m) regulations addressing denial of foreign tax credits with respect to foreign income not subject to U.S. taxation by reason of covered asset acquisitions
  • Long awaited Section 987 regulations addressing branch transactions (as part of a "foreign currency package")

On the horizon for 2017, the officials said they anticipated the following guidance projects:

  • Final Section 7874 regulations addressing transactions that are structured to avoid the purposes of Sections 7874 and 367 (so-called inversion regulations) and new Section 7874 regulations addressing private placement.   
  • Guidance addressing cloud transactions (i.e., service v. lease characterization).

Notably absent from the discussion were the Section 385 regulations addressing related-party lending transactions. However, on Sept. 30, Treasury sent the Section 385 regulations to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for final review. The OIRA has 90 days to review the regulations. This review is generally the last step when finalizing regulations.  See OIRA's notice.

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