Following on its prior Notice 2014-52 anti-inversion guidance, the IRS has issued new Notice 2015-79 to further limit (i) inversion transactions that are contrary to the purposes of the Section 7874 anti-inversion rules and (ii) the benefits of post-inversion tax avoidance transactions. The Notice also describes corrections and clarifications to the prior Notice 2014-52. According to the Treasury Fact Sheet, the guidance both strengthens the scope of the existing anti-inversion rules and prevents inverted companies from transferring foreign operations “out from under” the U.S. tax net without paying current U.S. tax.
The Notice addresses transactions structured to avoid the Section 7874 anti-inversion rules by (i) requiring the foreign acquiring corporation to be subject to tax as a resident of the relevant foreign country in order to have substantial business activities in the relevant foreign country; (ii) disregarding certain stock of the foreign acquiring corporation in “third-country” transactions; and (iii) clarifying the definition of nonqualified property for purposes of disregarding certain stock of the foreign acquiring corporation.
The Notice also describes future regulations that will address certain post-inversion tax avoidance transactions by (i) defining inversion gain for purposes of Section 7874 to include certain income or gain recognized by an expatriated entity from an indirect transfer or license of property and providing for aggregate treatment of certain transfers or licenses of property by foreign partnerships for purposes of determining inversion gain; and (ii) requiring an exchanging shareholder to recognize all of the gain realized upon an exchange of stock of a controlled foreign corporation (as defined in section 957) (CFC), without regard to the amount of the CFC’s undistributed earnings and profits, if the transaction terminates the status of the foreign subsidiary as a CFC or substantially dilutes the interest of a United States shareholder (as defined in section 951(b)) (U.S. shareholder) in the CFC.