26 CFR § 1.279-1 - General rule; purpose.
An obligation issued to provide a consideration directly or indirectly for a corporate acquisition, although constituting a debt under section 385, may have characteristics which make it more appropriate that the participation in the corporation which the obligation represents be treated for purposes of the deduction of interest as if it were a stockholder interest rather than a creditors interest. To deal with such cases, section 279 imposes certain limitations on the deductibility of interest paid or incurred on obligations which have certain equity characteristics and are classified as corporate acquisition indebtedness. Generally, section 279 provides that no deduction will be allowed for any interest paid or incurred by a corporation during the taxable year with respect to its corporate acquisition indebtedness to the extent such interest exceeds $5 million. However, the $5 million limitation is reduced by the amount of interest paid or incurred on obligations issued under the circumstances described in section 279(a)(2) but which are not corporate acquisition indebtedness. Section 279(b) provides that an obligation will be corporate acquisition indebtedness if it was issued under certain circumstances and meets the four tests enumerated therein. Although an obligation may satisfy the conditions referred to in the preceding sentence, it may still escape classification as corporate acquisition indebtedness if the conditions as described in sections 279(d) (3), (4), and (5), 279(f), or 279(i) are present. However, no inference should be drawn from the rules of section 279 as to whether a particular instrument labeled a bond, debenture, note, or other evidence of indebtedness is in fact a debt. Before the determination as to whether the deduction for payments pursuant to an obligation as described in this section is to be disallowed, the obligation must first qualify as debt in accordance with section 385. If the obligation is not debt under section 385, it will be unnecessary to apply section 279 to any payments pursuant to such obligation.