Part I: Introduction – What Is The Transition Tax?
“Tell me who you are. Then I’ll tell you how the law applies to you!” I’ll also tell you whether you are a “winner” or a “loser” under this law.
At the end of 2017, Congress was enacting the TCJA. A major purpose of the TCJA was to lower U.S. corporate tax rates from 35% to 21%. This was a huge benefit to U.S. multinationals. One Congressional concern was how to find additional tax revenue in order to compensate the Treasury Department for the reduction in tax revenue which would result in lower receipts from corporations. Congress needed to find some additional tax revenue. They found this additional tax revenue by creating “new income” from the past and taxing that newly created income in the present. In fact, Congress said:
“Let there be income! And there was income …“
Significantly, Congress didn’t create any real income. No taxpayer actually received any income to pay tax on. The income created by Congress was not “real income”. Rather it was “deemed income”. But, this “deemed income” was intended to appear on tax returns. Real tax was payable on this “deemed” income.
Such, is the beginning of the story of the IRC 965 Transition Tax. The Transition Tax was a benefit to U.S. multinationals and destroyed the lives of individual U.S. citizens living outside the United States who organized their businesses, lives and retirement planning (as did their neighbours) through small business corporations.
This post identifies different groups impacted by the Transition Tax and the “winners” and “losers”.
Introducing the IRC 965 U.S. Transition Tax
26 U.S. Code § 965 – Treatment of deferred foreign income upon transition to participation exemption system of taxation
(a) Treatment of deferred foreign income as subpart F income
In the case of the last taxable year of a deferred foreign income corporation which begins before January 1, 2018, the subpart F income of such foreign corporation (as otherwise determined for such taxable year under section 952) shall be increased by the greater of—
(1) the accumulated post-1986 deferred foreign income of such corporation determined as of November 2, 2017, or
(2) the accumulated post-1986 deferred foreign income of such corporation determined as of December 31, 2017.