New Guidance Clarifies Reporting and Payment Procedures for Section 965’s Transition Tax


    Taxpayers affected by the revised Internal Revenue Code Section 965 should be aware of new guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”).  Section 965 imposes a transition tax as part of the shift to a territorial tax system.  The newly released IR-2018-53 sets forth the reporting and payment procedures related to that tax.



    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”) requires that all US shareholders of controlled foreign corporations and all domestic corporations that hold 10% or more of a foreign corporation include in income for 2017 (or the first fiscal year ending thereafter) their pro rata share of the accumulated earnings and profits (“E&P”) of such foreign corporation.  Such inclusion will be taxed at a reduced rate under Section 965 (the transition tax). 

    New Guidance

    After establishing the above legal framework for the transition tax, Congress left it to the IRS to administer the reporting and payment of this tax. On March 13, 2018, the IRS released IR-2018-53, (a questions and answers page) that addresses three broad areas of section 965 compliance—reporting inclusions, paying taxes, and making elections.

    Reporting an Inclusion under Section 965

    IR-2018-53 reiterates that taxpayers who have income inclusions under section 965 must report those inclusions on their 2017 tax returns.  Passthrough entities—such as partnerships and S-corporations—must provide information relevant to section 965 on their K-1s.

    In addition, taxpayers who have income under section 965 must include with their return an “IRC 965 Transition Tax Statement” signed under penalties of perjury.  The IRS provides a model IRC 965 Transition Tax Statement.  It also warns that taxpayers must maintain records—including underlying calculations—that support their inclusion, deduction, and net tax liability arising from section 965.

    Expanded 5471 Filing Requirement

    For tax year 2017, US shareholders of Specified Foreign Corporations must also file forms 5471.  A US shareholder who is not otherwise required to file a form 5471 only needs to complete two sections:
    1. Identifying information above Schedule A, and
    2. Schedule J

    Please note that taxpayers who have already filed their 2017 returns must file amended returns that conform to the standards set forth in IR-2018-53.

    Paying the Tax Arising from Section 965

    IR-2018-53 requires taxpayers who have inclusions under section 965 to make two separate payments.  Both payments are due by the due date of the taxpayer’s returnwithout extensions.

    One payment should reflect the income tax owed without regard to section 965.  Normal payment procedures apply to this payment.

    A second payment (the “965 Payment”) should reflect the tax owed as a result of section 965.  This will be either the first installment payment from taxpayers who elect to pay in installments or the full payment of the net tax liability under section 965.  The 965 Payment must be made by wire transfer, check, or money order.  Taxpayers who would normally be required to pay through EFTPS must submit the 965 Payment via wire transfer.

    Making elections under Section 965

    Taxpayers who wish to make an election under section 965 or in Notice 2018-13 must do so by attaching to their 2017 return a statement signed under penalties of perjury for each election.  The due date of an election is the due date, including extensions, for filing the return.  The IRS provides model statements for each election available under section 965 or in Notice 2018-13.

    What does CohnReznick think?

    CohnReznick believes that many US and foreign multinationals will be impacted by the transition tax under Section 965.  Passthrough entities and taxpayers who have section 965 inclusions should follow the procedures set forth in IR-2018-53.  The IRS promises additional guidance on the transition tax and other topics related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  Taxpayers should be on the lookout for further Tax Alerts throughout the year.

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    Any advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues. Nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. This has been prepared for information purposes and general guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice specific to, among other things, your individual facts, circumstances and jurisdiction. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and CohnReznick LLP, its partners, employees and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.