Worthless ELA triggers can take many forms. Under the Regulations. § 1.1502-80 (c) the stock of members is treated as worthless if the first of the subsidiaries ceases to be a member of the group or if the member becomes worthless according to the regulations. Section 1.1502-19(c)(1)(iii), which requires that all assets of the subsidiary be treated as sold, abandoned or destroyed. Uselessness also occurs when the debts of the subsidiary are settled and part of the amount is not included in gross income and is not treated as tax-exempt income under the investment adjustment rules. Finally, uselessness exists when a member takes into account a deduction or loss for an intercompany debt and the debtor member does not take into account a corresponding amount of income or profit, although this is rare in practice. Before an internal restructuring is carried out, a liquidation of the ELA member must first be considered. A valid subsidiary liquidation in accordance with § 332 eliminates the inventory base, including an ELA, tax-free. However, liquidation under Article 332 presupposes solvency, and insolvency often develops with an ELA. A subsequent reorganization of a shareholder in its subsidiary may lead to the same result, but is associated with the additional requirements of § 368.
Caution should be exercised before carrying out such transactions to ensure that a taxable transaction and therefore a triggering event do not occur. The additional capital injection reduces an ELA. If an ELA is caused by intercompany debt, it may be possible to eliminate the balance through transfers within the consolidated group, with the direct shareholder member ultimately bringing the debt to the capital, thereby increasing the share base. However, a contribution from a member`s stock with an ELA to another member with a positive base does not help to eliminate the negative balance. In a second 351 contributions of shares of a group member, the ELA would reduce the base of the transferred member, and the target company would continue to have its existing ELA. Understanding the basis of more complex transactions can be crucial to recognize whether an ELA has occurred. § 304 Transfers may sometimes result in a transfer basis at the level of the principal subsidiaries, even if the transferors derive a profit from the transfer. Similar problems may arise from the specific basic provisions of the Regulations.
§ 1.1502-30, which applies to triangular reorganizations, and Regs. Articles 1.1502-31, which apply to changes in the structure of the Group. Careful analysis of these provisions is essential to understand the initial stock base. The rules on investment adjustment can be applied correctly, but if the initial basis is incorrect, a taxpayer may have an ELA without realizing it. In general, consolidated rules allow taxpayers to carry forward the potential benefits of an ELA, provided they avoid any of the triggering events above. An understanding of Regs. Article 1.1502-19 and its interaction with the day-to-day operations of Subchapter C and the more general consolidated reporting rules are important for identifying, managing or otherwise eliminating an ELA before it becomes a current tax problem. An ELA most often occurs when a member of the consolidated group finances debt transactions and the member generates net operating losses (NOLs) that are absorbed by other members of the consolidated group. This absorption leads to a negative base adjustment under Regs. Section 1.1502-32(b)(3)(i), excluding the compensatory positive adjustment resulting from operations financed by equity.
If the adjustment is not subsequently offset by shareholder investments, members` income or the appreciation of positive investment adjustments for subordinate members, an ELA is resulting. When a sale takes place, the shareholder member includes the ELA in taxable income and the sale is treated as a profit from a sale or exchange. If the divested subsidiary is insolvent, the profit may be recognised as ordinary profit according to regs. Section 1.1502-19(b)(4). The ordinary portion is calculated without taking into account distributions that have reduced the member`s base and is limited to the extent of insolvency. In the case of a qualified reorganization between group members in which no shares are issued, an ELA may be deducted from another member`s share base. Yet an even simpler solution may be to sell assets instead of stocks. When the assets of a consolidated group member are sold, the internal gain can minimize or eliminate the ELA that remains in the group. In the case of a choice share transaction pursuant to Article 338(h)(10) or Article 336(e), the hypothetical sale of assets involves an alleged liquidation of the target in accordance with Article 332, which the ELA may also eliminate as part of the above-mentioned liquidation analysis. A multi-level target may require in-chain elections to avoid a lower-level ELA trigger. Kevin D.
Anderson, CPA, J.D., is a partner at the National Tax Office of BDO USA LLP in Washington, D.C. Example 2: In a brother-sister merger legally required under Section 368(a)(1)(A), the merger of S1 and S2 results in a net base of $50 under Section 358 and the Regulations if parent company P has a $150 stock base in the subsidiary S1 and an ELA in the S2 subsidiary of ($100). Article 1.1502-19(a)(2)(ii). If the acquiring company issues shares, the ELA can be pegged to the new shares, but the allocation rules allow a redistribution of the positive share base in the same company in order to eliminate the negative balance after settlements. Article 1.1502-19(d)(2). In the case of an internal distribution of ELA shares, the distributor member will have sold ELA shares, but any profit will be recorded as an intercompany item set aside under Regs` matching rule. § 1.1502-13. If the distribution is exempt from tax in accordance with § 355 An ELA may be eliminated from the holdings of the controlled company since the basis of the distributing company is divided between the distributing and controlled holdings after the transaction.
Given the complexity of § 355 and the fact that an ELA for spin-offs is triggered outside the consolidated group, it is unlikely that these provisions will be used strategically for disposal (alternatives are easier to implement). ELAs are also prepared when excess liabilities are paid to a consolidated group member. Normally, paragraph 357(c) would result in a profit if the liabilities incurred on a stock exchange under section 351 exceeded the total tax base of the transferred assets. In consolidation, Regs. Section 1.1502-80(d) disables paragraph 357(c) and instead creates an ELA equal to the amount normally treated as a profit. Example 1: P is a consolidated parent company that owns 100% of S, its only subsidiary. P finances S with $100 in equity, and S separately issues $200 in debt. At the end of the year, 1.P has an initial stock base of $100 in S due to the capital contribution. If P generates taxable income of $2,300 during the year and S generates a loss of $150, P`s absorption of the loss of S results in a negative base adjustment of S inventory of $150.
As a result, the S share base in P`s hands is reduced from $100 to an ELA of ($50). .