26 CFR 1.441-3 - Taxable year of a personal service corporation.

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§ 1.441-3 Taxable year of a personal service corporation.
(a) Taxable year—
(1) Required taxable year. Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, the taxable year of a personal service corporation (PSC) (as defined in paragraph (c) of this section) must be the calendar year.
(2) Exceptions. A PSC may have a taxable year other than its required taxable year (i.e., a fiscal year) if it makes an election under section 444, elects to use a 52-53-week taxable year that ends with reference to the calendar year or a taxable year elected under section 444, or establishes a business purpose for such fiscal year and obtains the approval of the Commissioner under section 442.
(b) Adoption, change, or retention of taxable year—
(1) Adoption of taxable year. A PSC may adopt, in accordance with § 1.441-1(c), the calendar year, a taxable year elected under section 444, or a 52-53-week taxable year ending with reference to the calendar year or a taxable year elected under section 444 without the approval of the Commissioner. See§ 1.441-1. A PSC that wants to adopt any other taxable year must establish a business purpose and obtain the approval of the Commissioner under section 442.
(2) Change in taxable year. A PSC that wants to change its taxable year must obtain the approval of the Commissioner under section 442 or make an election under section 444. However, a PSC may obtain automatic approval for certain changes, including a change to the calendar year or to a 52-53-week taxable year ending with reference to the calendar year, pursuant to administrative procedures published by the Commissioner.
(3) Retention of taxable year. In certain cases, a PSC will be required to change its taxable year unless it obtains the approval of the Commissioner under section 442, or makes an election under section 444, to retain its current taxable year. For example, a corporation using a June 30 fiscal year that becomes a PSC and, as a result, is required to use the calendar year must obtain the approval of the Commissioner to retain its current fiscal year.
(4) Procedures for obtaining approval or making a section 444 election. See § 1.442-1(b) for procedures to obtain the approval of the Commissioner (automatically or otherwise) to adopt, change, or retain a taxable year. See §§ 1.444-1T and 1.444-2T for qualifications, and 1.444-3T for procedures, for making an election under section 444.
(5) Examples. The provisions of paragraph (b)(4) of this section may be illustrated by the following examples:
Example 1.
X, whose taxable year ends on January 31, 2001, becomes a PSC for its taxable year beginning February 1, 2001, and does not obtain the approval of the Commissioner for using a fiscal year. Thus, for taxable years ending before February 1, 2001, this section does not apply with respect to X. For its taxable year beginning on February 1, 2001, however, X will be required to comply with paragraph (a) of this section. Thus, unless X obtains approval of the Commissioner to use a January 31 taxable year, or makes a section 444 election, X will be required to change its taxable year to the calendar year under paragraph (b) of this section by using a short taxable year that begins on February 1, 2001, and ends on December 31, 2001. Under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, X may obtain automatic approval to change its taxable year to a calendar year. See § 1.442-1(b).
Example 2.
Assume the same facts as in Example 1, except that X desires to change to a 52-53-week taxable year ending with reference to the month of December. Under paragraph (b)(1) of this section X may obtain automatic approval to make the change. See § 1.442-1(b).
(c) Personal service corporation defined—
(1) In general. For purposes of this section and section 442, a taxpayer is a PSC for a taxable year only if—
(i) The taxpayer is a C corporation (as defined in section 1361(a)(2)) for the taxable year;
(ii) The principal activity of the taxpayer during the testing period is the performance of personal services;
(iii) During the testing period, those services are substantially performed by employee-owners (as defined in paragraph (g) of this section); and
(iv) Employee-owners own (as determined under the attribution rules of section 318, except that the language “any” applies instead of “50 percent” in section 318(a)(2)(C)) more than 10 percent of the fair market value of the outstanding stock in the taxpayer on the last day of the testing period.
(2) Testing period—
(i) In general. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section, the testing period for any taxable year is the immediately preceding taxable year.
(ii) New corporations. The testing period for a taxpayer's first taxable year is the period beginning on the first day of that taxable year and ending on the earlier of—
(A) The last day of that taxable year; or
(B) The last day of the calendar year in which that taxable year begins.
(3) Examples. The provisions of paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section may be illustrated by the following examples:
Example 1.
Corporation A's first taxable year begins on June 1, 2001, and A desires to use a September 30 taxable year. However, if A is a personal service corporation, it must obtain the Commissioner's approval to use a September 30 taxable year. Pursuant to paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section, A's testing period for its first taxable year beginning June 1, 2001, is the period June 1, 2001 through September 30, 2001. Thus, if, based upon such testing period, A is a personal service corporation, A must obtain the Commissioner's permission to use a September 30 taxable year.
Example 2.
The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that A desires to use a March 31 taxable year. Pursuant to paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section, A's testing period for its first taxable year beginning June 1, 2001, is the period June 1, 2001, through December 31, 2001. Thus, if, based upon such testing period, A is a personal service corporation, A must obtain the Commissioner's permission to use a March 31 taxable year.
(d) Performance of personal services—
(1) Activities described in section 448(d)(2)(A). For purposes of this section, any activity of the taxpayer described in section 448(d)(2)(A) or the regulations thereunder will be treated as the performance of personal services. Therefore, any activity of the taxpayer that involves the performance of services in the fields of health, law, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, or consulting (as such fields are defined in § 1.448-1T) will be treated as the performance of personal services for purposes of this section.
(2) Activities not described in section 448(d)(2)(A). For purposes of this section, any activity of the taxpayer not described in section 448(d)(2)(A) or the regulations thereunder will not be treated as the performance of personal services.
(e) Principal activity—
(1) General rule. For purposes of this section, the principal activity of a corporation for any testing period will be the performance of personal services if the cost of the corporation's compensation (the compensation cost) for such testing period that is attributable to its activities that are treated as the performance of personal services within the meaning of paragraph (d) of this section (i.e., the total compensation for personal service activities) exceeds 50 percent of the corporation's total compensation cost for such testing period.
(2) Compensation cost—
(i) Amounts included. For purposes of this section, the compensation cost of a corporation for a taxable year is equal to the sum of the following amounts allowable as a deduction, allocated to a long-term contract, or otherwise chargeable to a capital account by the corporation during such taxable year—
(A) Wages and salaries; and
(B) Any other amounts, attributable to services performed for or on behalf of the corporation by a person who is an employee of the corporation (including an owner of the corporation who is treated as an employee under paragraph (g)(2) of this section) during the testing period. Such amounts include, but are not limited to, amounts attributable to deferred compensation, commissions, bonuses, compensation includible in income under section 83, compensation for services based on a percentage of profits, and the cost of providing fringe benefits that are includible in income.
(ii) Amounts excluded. Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this section, compensation cost does not include amounts attributable to a plan qualified under section 401(a) or 403(a), or to a simplified employee pension plan defined in section 408(k).
(3) Attribution of compensation cost to personal service activity—
(i) Employees involved only in the performance of personal services. The compensation cost for employees involved only in the performance of activities that are treated as personal services under paragraph (d) of this section, or employees involved only in supporting the work of such employees, are considered to be attributable to the corporation's personal service activity.
(ii) Employees involved only in activities that are not treated as the performance of personal services. The compensation cost for employees involved only in the performance of activities that are not treated as personal services under paragraph (d) of this section, or for employees involved only in supporting the work of such employees, are not considered to be attributable to the corporation's personal service activity.
(iii) Other employees. The compensation cost for any employee who is not described in either paragraph (e)(3)(i) or (ii) of this section (a mixed-activity employee) is allocated as follows—
(A) Compensation cost attributable to personal service activity. That portion of the compensation cost for a mixed activity employee that is attributable to the corporation's personal service activity equals the compensation cost for that employee multiplied by the percentage of the total time worked for the corporation by that employee during the year that is attributable to activities of the corporation that are treated as the performance of personal services under paragraph (d) of this section. That percentage is to be determined by the taxpayer in any reasonable and consistent manner. Time logs are not required unless maintained for other purposes;
(B) Compensation cost not attributable to personal service activity. That portion of the compensation cost for a mixed activity employee that is not considered to be attributable to the corporation's personal service activity is the compensation cost for that employee less the amount determined in paragraph (e)(3)(iii)(A) of this section.
(f) Services substantially performed by employee-owners—
(1) General rule. Personal services are substantially performed during the testing period by employee-owners of the corporation if more than 20 percent of the corporation's compensation cost for that period attributable to its activities that are treated as the performance of personal services within the meaning of paragraph (d) of this section (i.e., the total compensation for personal service activities) is attributable to personal services performed by employee-owners.
(2) Compensation cost attributable to personal services. For purposes of paragraph (f)(1) of this section—
(i) The corporation's compensation cost attributable to its activities that are treated as the performance of personal services is determined under paragraph (e)(3) of this section; and
(ii) The portion of the amount determined under paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section that is attributable to personal services performed by employee-owners is to be determined by the taxpayer in any reasonable and consistent manner.
(3) Examples. The provisions of this paragraph (f) may be illustrated by the following examples:
Example 1.
For its taxable year beginning February 1, 2001, Corp A's testing period is the taxable year ending January 31, 2000. During that testing period, A's only activity was the performance of personal services. The total compensation cost of A (including compensation cost attributable to employee-owners) for the testing period was $1,000,000. The total compensation cost attributable to employee-owners of A for the testing period was $210,000. Pursuant to paragraph (f)(1) of this section, the employee-owners of A substantially performed the personal services of A during the testing period because the compensation cost of A's employee-owners was more than 20 percent of the total compensation cost for all of A's employees (including employee-owners).
Example 2.
Corp B has the same facts as corporation A in Example 1, except that during the taxable year ending January 31, 2001, B also participated in an activity that would not be characterized as the performance of personal services under this section. The total compensation cost of B (including compensation cost attributable to employee-owners) for the testing period was $1,500,000 ($1,000,000 attributable to B's personal service activity and $500,000 attributable to B's other activity). The total compensation cost attributable to employee-owners of B for the testing period was $250,000 ($210,000 attributable to B's personal service activity and $40,000 attributable to B's other activity). Pursuant to paragraph (f)(1) of this section, the employee-owners of B substantially performed the personal services of B during the testing period because more than 20 percent of B's compensation cost during the testing period attributable to its personal service activities was attributable to personal services performed by employee-owners ($210,000).
(g) Employee-owner defined—
(1) General rule. For purposes of this section, a person is an employee-owner of a corporation for a testing period if—
(i) The person is an employee of the corporation on any day of the testing period; and
(ii) The person owns any outstanding stock of the corporation on any day of the testing period.
(2) Special rule for independent contractors who are owners. Any person who is an owner of the corporation within the meaning of paragraph (g)(1)(ii) of this section and who performs personal services for, or on behalf of, the corporation is treated as an employee for purposes of this section, even if the legal form of that person's relationship to the corporation is such that the person would be considered an independent contractor for other purposes.
(h) Special rules for affiliated groups filing consolidated returns—
(1) In general. For purposes of applying this section to the members of an affiliated group of corporations filing a consolidated return for the taxable year—
(i) The members of the affiliated group are treated as a single corporation;
(ii) The employees of the members of the affiliated group are treated as employees of such single corporation; and
(iii) All of the stock of the members of the affiliated group that is not owned by any other member of the affiliated group is treated as the outstanding stock of that corporation.
(2) Examples. The provisions of this paragraph (h) may be illustrated by the following examples:
Example 1.
The affiliated group AB, consisting of corporation A and its wholly owned subsidiary B, filed a consolidated Federal income tax return for the taxable year ending January 31, 2001, and AB is attempting to determine whether it is affected by this section for its taxable year beginning February 1, 2001. During the testing period (i.e., the taxable year ending January 31, 2001), A did not perform personal services. However, B's only activity was the performance of personal services. On the last day of the testing period, employees of A did not own any stock in A. However, some of B's employees own stock in A. In the aggregate, B's employees own 9 percent of A's stock on the last day of the testing period. Pursuant to paragraph (h)(1) of this section, this section is effectively applied on a consolidated basis to members of an affiliated group filing a consolidated Federal income tax return. Because the only employee-owners of AB are the employees of B, and because B's employees do not own more than 10 percent of AB on the last day of the testing period, AB is not a PSC subject to the provisions of this section. Thus, AB is not required to determine on a consolidated basis whether, during the testing period, its principal activity is the providing of personal services, or the personal services are substantially performed by employee-owners.
Example 2.
The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that on the last day of the testing period A owns only 80 percent of B. The remaining 20 percent of B is owned by employees of B. The fair market value of A, including its 80 percent interest in B, as of the last day of the testing period, is $1,000,000. In addition, the fair market value of the 20 percent interest in B owned by B's employees is $50,000 as of the last day of the testing period. Pursuant to paragraphs (c)(1)(iv) and (h)(1) of this section, AB must determine whether the employee-owners of A and B (i.e., B's employees) own more than 10 percent of the fair market value of A and B as of the last day of the testing period. Because the $140,000 [($1,000,000×.09) $50,000] fair market value of the stock held by B's employees is greater than 10 percent of the aggregate fair market value of A and B as of the last day of the testing period, or $105,000 [$1,000,000 $50,000×.10], AB may be subject to this section if, on a consolidated basis during the testing period, the principal activity of AB is the performance of personal services and the personal services are substantially performed by employee-owners.
[T.D. 8996, 67 FR 35012, May 17, 2002]

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