Delaware Governor Signs Unclaimed Property Overhaul Into Law

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On July 22, 2015, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed into law a significant piece of unclaimed property reform legislation, S.B. 141.  Alston & Bird issued an advisory on June 23 analyzing the changes brought about by the bill.  Our advisory is available here: www.alston.com/advisories/serious-property-reform. To summarize, S.B. 141 will do the following: Make permanent the Secretary of State's voluntary disclosure program. Require the Department of Finance to provide holders with the opportunity to enter into the Secretary of State's VDA program before being subjected to [...]Read more

Final Anti-Inversion Regulations Keep Strict 25 Percent Tests for Substantial Business Activities

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In June, the IRS and U.S. Treasury released final regulations under the anti-inversion provisions of Section 7874 (T.D. 9720). The final rules, effective for acquisitions completed on or after June 3, 2015, include a few changes from the regulations proposed in 2012. Most notably, the final rules retain the 25 percent bright-line tests for whether an expanded affiliated group (EAG) has “substantial business activities” in a foreign country for the purpose of determining whether the foreign parent of an inverted corporation will be treated as a “surrogate foreign corporation.” The controversial [...]Read more

Scapegoats: How Foreign Taxpayers’ Credits & Refunds Could Be Limited by Withholding Agents’ Non-Compliance

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In Notice 2015-10 (the “Notice”), the IRS announced that it and the Treasury will issue regulations to limit credits or refunds for withholding taxes under Chapter 3 (Sections 1441-1443) and Chapter 4 (Sections 1471-1472, aka FATCA) to the amount actually deposited by withholding agents. The hope is that this “deposit limitation” will lessen the Treasury’s financial risk of crediting or refunding more tax, based on Form 1042-S reporting, than it collects or can collect. The Notice previews regulatory amendments to provide that a credit or refund for withheld tax is available only [...]Read more

What is the best way for a tax-exempt organization to engage in lobbying?

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Tax-exempt organizations under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code face strict rules about regulating lobbying activities.  Breaking these rules can result in severe consequences such as loss of tax-exempt status and excise tax penalties.  For those § 501(c)(3) organizations that wish to expand their operations to encompass lobbying activities, two primary options exist. Create and Operate an Affiliated § 501(c)(4) organization Unlike § 501(c)(3) organizations, § 501(c)(4) organizations may engage in unlimited lobbying activities with the caveat that the § 501(c)(4)’s primary [...]Read more

Dead or Alive in West Virginia: Must Life Insurance Companies Search for Due Proof of Death?

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On April 8, 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia heard oral arguments for Perdue v. Nationwide Life Insurance Company, et al. with regard to whether life insurance companies are statutorily obligated to search the Death Master File (DMF) for purposes of determining whether the dormancy period has been triggered on life insurance proceeds.  In the latest in a series of skirmishes involving life insurance companies and state unclaimed property administrators, the state supreme court has to decide whether the West Virginia unclaimed property laws – which do not explicitly require [...]Read more

A Simple Spinoff

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A simple spinoff is usually not a simple thing. LTR 201511001 is one of the few “significant issue” rulings issued by Chief Counsel (Corporate) since it stopped ruling generally on most nonrecognition transactions in Subchapter C. As spinoffs go, the transactions addressed in the ruling should  be simple, yet it took a lot of tax engineering to get to “yes”.

Read the full advisory.

Connecticut Revenue Commissioner Suggests That States “Ramp Up” Economic Nexus for Sales Tax Purposes

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In a provocative op-ed published in the March/April issue of the Journal of Multistate Taxation and Incentives, the Connecticut Commissioner of Revenue Services (Kevin Sullivan) argues that given Congress’s apparent unwillingness to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act, the states should consider taking matters into their own hands and simply act as if Quill is no longer good law. The Commissioner appears to have been emboldened by Justice Kennedy’s concurrence in the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, No. 13-1032, __ S. Ct. __ (Mar. 3, 2015), in [...]Read more

The Cloudy Status of a “Profits Interest” Holder as an LLC Member

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Cumulus Radio Corp. v. Olson, U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Ill., March 10, 2015 The existence of federal jurisdiction in this case turned on whether an individual who held an unvested profits interest in a limited liability company (“LLC”), and whom the LLC considered a partner for tax purposes, was a “member” of the LLC under Delaware law.  The case illustrates some of the confusion commonly surrounding the nature of LLCs, LLC membership, and “profits interests.” Defendant Alpha at first admitted being a Delaware “corporation,” which, if true, would have given the court diversity jurisdiction.  [...]Read more

Temple-Inland District Court Denies Delaware’s Motion to Dismiss — Looks Good for Temple-Inland and Holders

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The District Court of Delaware signals Temple-Inland and other unclaimed property holders are likely to prevail on constitutional grounds against the Delaware Escheats Law. The decision may also have a meaningful impact on other holders that are domiciled in Delaware and are currently under audit or participating in a voluntary disclosure program with the state. However, the court also held that that the Texas Cases’ priority rules do not apply in disputes between private parties and states. Read the full advisory. [...]Read more

“Nobody Loses All The Time”: Remembering Negative Precedents

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The IRS can have a long memory when it comes to rulings and decisions against taxpayers. Even with the seemingly all-purpose economic substance doctrine in its utility belt, the IRS sometimes dusts off old precedents to attack transactions. Revenue Ruling 80-239, 1980-2 C.B. 103, and Basic, Inc. v. United States, 549 F.2d 740 (Ct. Cl. 1977) are two anti-taxpayer authorities that targeted perceived abuses that are now largely obsolete. Nevertheless, the IRS may still invoke these precedents for support in totally different situations. Taxpayers should be aware of how the IRS might use [...]Read more