26 CFR § 1.338-3 - Qualification for the section 338 election.

§ 1.338-3 Qualification for the section 338 election.

(a) Scope. This section provides rules on whether certain acquisitions of stock are qualified stock purchases and on other miscellaneous issues under section 338.

(b) Rules relating to qualified stock purchases -

(1) Purchasing corporation requirement. An individual cannot make a qualified stock purchase of target. Section 338(d)(3) requires, as a condition of a qualified stock purchase, that a corporation purchase the stock of target. If an individual forms a corporation (new P) to acquire target stock, new P can make a qualified stock purchase of target if new P is considered for tax purposes to purchase the target stock. Facts that may indicate that new P does not purchase the target stock include new P's merging downstream into target, liquidating, or otherwise disposing of the target stock following the purported qualified stock purchase.

(2) Purchase. The term purchase has the same meaning as in section 338(h)(3). Stock in a target (or target affiliate) may be considered purchased if, under general principles of tax law, the purchasing corporation is considered to own stock of the target (or target affiliate) meeting the requirements of section 1504(a)(2), notwithstanding that no amount may be paid for (or allocated to) the stock.

(3) Acquisitions of stock from related corporations -

(i) In general. Stock acquired by a purchasing corporation from a related corporation (R) is generally not considered acquired by purchase. See section 338(h)(3)(A)(iii).

(ii) Time for testing relationship. For purposes of section 338(h)(3)(A)(iii), a purchasing corporation is treated as related to another person if the relationship specified in section 338(h)(3)(A)(iii) exists -

(A) In the case of a single transaction, immediately after the purchase of target stock;

(B) In the case of a series of acquisitions otherwise constituting a qualified stock purchase within the meaning of section 338(d)(3), immediately after the last acquisition in such series; and

(C) In the case of a series of transactions effected pursuant to an integrated plan to dispose of target stock, immediately after the last transaction in such series.

(iii) Cases where section 338(h)(3)(C) applies - acquisitions treated as purchases. If section 338(h)(3)(C) applies and the purchasing corporation is treated as acquiring stock by purchase from R, solely for purposes of determining when the stock is considered acquired, target stock acquired from R is considered to have been acquired by the purchasing corporation on the day on which the purchasing corporation is first considered to own that stock under section 318(a) (other than section 318(a)(4)).

(iv) Examples. The following examples illustrate this paragraph (b)(3):

Example 1.
(i) S is the parent of a group of corporations that are engaged in various businesses. Prior to January 1, Year 1, S decided to discontinue its involvement in one line of business. To accomplish this, S forms a new corporation, Newco, with a nominal amount of cash. Shortly thereafter, on January 1, Year 1, S transfers all the stock of the subsidiary conducting the unwanted business (T) to Newco in exchange for 100 shares of Newco common stock and a Newco promissory note. Prior to January 1, Year 1, S and Underwriter (U) had entered into a binding agreement pursuant to which U would purchase 60 shares of Newco common stock from S and then sell those shares in an Initial Public Offering (IPO). On January 6, Year 1, the IPO closes.

(ii) Newco's acquisition of T stock is one of a series of transactions undertaken pursuant to one integrated plan. The series of transactions ends with the closing of the IPO and the transfer of all the shares of stock in accordance with the agreements. Immediately after the last transaction effected pursuant to the plan, S owns 40 percent of Newco, which does not give rise to a relationship described in section 338(h)(3)(A)(iii). See § 1.338-3(b)(3)(ii)(C). Accordingly, S and Newco are not related for purposes of section 338(h)(3)(A)(iii).

(iii) Further, because Newco's basis in the T stock is not determined by reference to S's basis in the T stock and because the transaction is not an exchange to which section 351, 354, 355, or 356 applies, Newco's acquisition of the T stock is a purchase within the meaning of section 338(h)(3).

Example 2.
(i) On January 1 of Year 1, P purchases 75 percent in value of the R stock. On that date, R owns 4 of the 100 shares of T stock. On June 1 of Year 1, R acquires an additional 16 shares of T stock. On December 1 of Year 1, P purchases 70 shares of T stock from an unrelated person and 12 of the 20 shares of T stock held by R.

(ii) Of the 12 shares of T stock purchased by P from R on December 1 of Year 1, 3 of those shares are deemed to have been acquired by P on January 1 of Year 1, the date on which 3 of the 4 shares of T stock held by R on that date were first considered owned by P under section 318(a)(2)(C) (i.e., 4 × .75). The remaining 9 shares of T stock purchased by P from R on December 1 of Year 1 are deemed to have been acquired by P on June 1 of Year 1, the date on which an additional 12 of the 20 shares of T stock owned by R on that date were first considered owned by P under section 318(a)(2)(C) (i.e., (20 × .75)−3). Because stock acquisitions by P sufficient for a qualified stock purchase of T occur within a 12-month period (i.e., 3 shares constructively on January 1 of Year 1, 9 shares constructively on June 1 of Year 1, and 70 shares actually on December 1 of Year 1), a qualified stock purchase is made on December 1 of Year 1.

Example 3.
(i) On February 1 of Year 1, P acquires 25 percent in value of the R stock from B (the sole shareholder of P). That R stock is not acquired by purchase. See section 338(h)(3)(A)(iii). On that date, R owns 4 of the 100 shares of T stock. On June 1 of Year 1, P purchases an additional 25 percent in value of the R stock, and on January 1 of Year 2, P purchases another 25 percent in value of the R stock. On June 1 of Year 2, R acquires an additional 16 shares of the T stock. On December 1 of Year 2, P purchases 68 shares of the T stock from an unrelated person and 12 of the 20 shares of the T stock held by R.

(ii) Of the 12 shares of the T stock purchased by P from R on December 1 of Year 2, 2 of those shares are deemed to have been acquired by P on June 1 of Year 1, the date on which 2 of the 4 shares of the T stock held by R on that date were first considered owned by P under section 318(a)(2)(C) (i.e., 4 × .5). For purposes of this attribution, the R stock need not be acquired by P by purchase. See section 338(h)(1). (By contrast, the acquisition of the T stock by P from R does not qualify as a purchase unless P has acquired at least 50 percent in value of the R stock by purchase. Section 338(h)(3)(C)(i).) Of the remaining 10 shares of the T stock purchased by P from R on December 1 of Year 2, 1 of those shares is deemed to have been acquired by P on January 1 of Year 2, the date on which an additional 1 share of the 4 shares of the T stock held by R on that date was first considered owned by P under section 318(a)(2)(C) (i.e., (4 × .75)−2). The remaining 9 shares of the T stock purchased by P from R on December 1 of Year 2, are deemed to have been acquired by P on June 1 of Year 2, the date on which an additional 12 shares of the T stock held by R on that date were first considered owned by P under section 318(a)(2)(C) (i.e., (20 × .75)−3). Because a qualified stock purchase of T by P is made on December 1 of Year 2 only if all 12 shares of the T stock purchased by P from R on that date are considered acquired during a 12-month period ending on that date (so that, in conjunction with the 68 shares of the T stock P purchased on that date from the unrelated person, 80 of T's 100 shares are acquired by P during a 12-month period) and because 2 of those 12 shares are considered to have been acquired by P more than 12 months before December 1 of Year 2 (i.e., on June 1 of Year 1), a qualified stock purchase is not made. (Under § 1.338-8(j)(2), for purposes of applying the consistency rules, P is treated as making a qualified stock purchase of T if, pursuant to an arrangement, P purchases T stock satisfying the requirements of section 1504(a)(2) over a period of more than 12 months.)

Example 4.
Assume the same facts as in Example 3, except that on February 1 of Year 1, P acquires 25 percent in value of the R stock by purchase. The result is the same as in Example 3.

(4) Acquisition date for tiered targets -

(i) Stock sold in deemed asset sale. If an election under section 338 is made for target, old target is deemed to sell target's assets and new target is deemed to acquire those assets. Under section 338(h)(3)(B), new target's deemed purchase of stock of another corporation is a purchase for purposes of section 338(d)(3) on the acquisition date of target. If new target's deemed purchase causes a qualified stock purchase of the other corporation and if a section 338 election is made for the other corporation, the acquisition date for the other corporation is the same as the acquisition date of target. However, the deemed sale and purchase of the other corporation's assets is considered to take place after the deemed sale and purchase of target's assets.

(ii) Example. The following example illustrates this paragraph (b)(4):

Example.
A owns all of the T stock. T owns 50 of the 100 shares of X stock. The other 50 shares of X stock are owned by corporation Y, which is unrelated to A, T, or P. On January 1 of Year 1, P makes a qualified stock purchase of T from A and makes a section 338 election for T. On December 1 of Year 1, P purchases the 50 shares of X stock held by Y. A qualified stock purchase of X is made on December 1 of Year 1, because the deemed purchase of 50 shares of X stock by new T because of the section 338 election for T and the actual purchase of 50 shares of X stock by P are treated as purchases made by one corporation. Section 338(h)(8). For purposes of determining whether those purchases occur within a 12-month acquisition period as required by section 338(d)(3), T is deemed to purchase its X stock on T's acquisition date, i.e., January 1 of Year 1.

(5) Effect of redemptions -

(i) General rule. Except as provided in this paragraph (b)(5), a qualified stock purchase is made on the first day on which the percentage ownership requirements of section 338(d)(3) are satisfied by reference to target stock that is both -

(A) Held on that day by the purchasing corporation; and

(B) Purchased by the purchasing corporation during the 12-month period ending on that day.

(ii) Redemptions from persons unrelated to the purchasing corporation. Target stock redemptions from persons unrelated to the purchasing corporation that occur during the 12-month acquisition period are taken into account as reductions in target's outstanding stock for purposes of determining whether target stock purchased by the purchasing corporation in the 12-month acquisition period satisfies the percentage ownership requirements of section 338(d)(3).

(iii) Redemptions from the purchasing corporation or related persons during 12-month acquisition period -

(A) General rule. For purposes of the percentage ownership requirements of section 338(d)(3), a redemption of target stock during the 12-month acquisition period from the purchasing corporation or from any person related to the purchasing corporation is not taken into account as a reduction in target's outstanding stock.

(B) Exception for certain redemptions from related corporations. A redemption of target stock during the 12-month acquisition period from a corporation related to the purchasing corporation is taken into account as a reduction in target's outstanding stock to the extent that the redeemed stock would have been considered purchased by the purchasing corporation (because of section 338(h)(3)(C)) during the 12-month acquisition period if the redeemed stock had been acquired by the purchasing corporation from the related corporation on the day of the redemption. See paragraph (b)(3) of this section.

(iv) Examples. The following examples illustrate this paragraph (b)(5):

Example 1. QSP on stock purchase date; redemption from unrelated person during 12-month period.
A owns all 100 shares of T stock. On January 1 of Year 1, P purchases 40 shares of the T stock from A. On July 1 of Year 1, T redeems 25 shares from A. On December 1 of Year 1, P purchases 20 shares of the T stock from A. P makes a qualified stock purchase of T on December 1 of Year 1, because the 60 shares of T stock purchased by P within the 12-month period ending on that date satisfy the 80-percent ownership requirements of section 338(d)(3) (i.e., 60/75 shares), determined by taking into account the redemption of 25 shares.
Example 2. QSP on stock redemption date; redemption from unrelated person during 12-month period.
The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that P purchases 60 shares of T stock on January 1 of Year 1 and none on December 1 of Year 1. P makes a qualified stock purchase of T on July 1 of Year 1, because that is the first day on which the T stock purchased by P within the preceding 12-month period satisfies the 80-percent ownership requirements of section 338(d)(3) (i.e., 60/75 shares), determined by taking into account the redemption of 25 shares.
Example 3. Redemption from purchasing corporation not taken into account.
On December 15 of Year 1, T redeems 30 percent of its stock from P. The redeemed stock was held by P for several years and constituted P's total interest in T. On December 1 of Year 2, P purchases the remaining T stock from A. P does not make a qualified stock purchase of T on December 1 of Year 2. For purposes of the 80-percent ownership requirements of section 338(d)(3), the redemption of P's T stock on December 15 of Year 1 is not taken into account as a reduction in T's outstanding stock.
Example 4. Redemption from related person taken into account.
On January 1 of Year 1, P purchases 60 of the 100 shares of X stock. On that date, X owns 40 of the 100 shares of T stock. On April 1 of Year 1, T redeems X's T stock and P purchases the remaining 60 shares of T stock from an unrelated person. For purposes of the 80-percent ownership requirements of section 338(d)(3), the redemption of the T stock from X (a person related to P) is taken into account as a reduction in T's outstanding stock. If P had purchased the 40 redeemed shares from X on April 1 of Year 1, all 40 of the shares would have been considered purchased (because of section 338(h)(3)(C)(i)) during the 12-month period ending on April 1 of Year 1 (24 of the 40 shares would have been considered purchased by P on January 1 of Year 1 and the remaining 16 shares would have been considered purchased by P on April 1 of Year 1). See paragraph (b)(3) of this section. Accordingly, P makes a qualified stock purchase of T on April 1 of Year 1, because the 60 shares of T stock purchased by P on that date satisfy the 80-percent ownership requirements of section 338(d)(3) (i.e., 60/60 shares), determined by taking into account the redemption of 40 shares.

(c) Effect of post-acquisition events on eligibility for section 338 election -

(1) Post-acquisition elimination of target.

(i) The purchasing corporation may make an election under section 338 for target even though target is liquidated on or after the acquisition date. If target liquidates on the acquisition date, the liquidation is considered to occur on the following day and immediately after new target's deemed purchase of assets. The purchasing corporation may also make an election under section 338 for target even though target is merged into another corporation, or otherwise disposed of by the purchasing corporation provided that, under the facts and circumstances, the purchasing corporation is considered for tax purposes as the purchaser of the target stock. See § 1.338(h)(10)-1(c)(2) for special rules concerning section 338(h)(10) elections in certain multi-step transactions.

(ii) The following examples illustrate this paragraph (c)(1):

Example 1.
On January 1 of Year 1, P purchases 100 percent of the outstanding common stock of T. On June 1 of Year 1, P sells the T stock to an unrelated person. Assuming that P is considered for tax purposes as the purchaser of the T stock, P remains eligible, after June 1 of Year 1, to make a section 338 election for T that results in a deemed asset sale of T's assets on January 1 of Year 1.
Example 2.
On January 1 of Year 1, P makes a qualified stock purchase of T. On that date, T owns the stock of T1. On March 1 of Year 1, T sells the T1 stock to an unrelated person. On April 1 of Year 1, P makes a section 338 election for T. Notwithstanding that the T1 stock was sold on March 1 of Year 1, the section 338 election for T on April 1 of Year 1 results in a qualified stock purchase by T of T1 on January 1 of Year 1. See paragraph (b)(4)(i) of this section.

(2) Post-acquisition elimination of the purchasing corporation. An election under section 338 may be made for target after the acquisition of assets of the purchasing corporation by another corporation in a transaction described in section 381(a), provided that the purchasing corporation is considered for tax purposes as the purchaser of the target stock. The acquiring corporation in the section 381(a) transaction may make an election under section 338 for target.

(d) Consequences of post-acquisition elimination of target where section 338 election not made -

(1) Scope. The rules of this paragraph (d) apply to the transfer of target assets to the purchasing corporation (or another member of the same affiliated group as the purchasing corporation) (the transferee) following a qualified stock purchase of target stock, if the purchasing corporation does not make a section 338 election for target. Notwithstanding the rules of this paragraph (d), section 354(a) (and so much of section 356 as relates to section 354) cannot apply to any person other than the purchasing corporation or another member of the same affiliated group as the purchasing corporation unless the transfer of target assets is pursuant to a reorganization as determined without regard to this paragraph (d).

(2) Continuity of interest. By virtue of section 338, in determining whether the continuity of interest requirement of § 1.368-1(b) is satisfied on the transfer of assets from target to the transferee, the purchasing corporation's target stock acquired in the qualified stock purchase represents an interest on the part of a person who was an owner of the target's business enterprise prior to the transfer that can be continued in a reorganization.

(3) Control requirement. By virtue of section 338, the acquisition of target stock in the qualified stock purchase will not prevent the purchasing corporation from qualifying as a shareholder of the target transferor for the purpose of determining whether, immediately after the transfer of target assets, a shareholder of the transferor is in control of the corporation to which the assets are transferred within the meaning of section 368(a)(1)(D).

(4) Solely for voting stock requirement. By virtue of section 338, the acquisition of target stock in the qualified stock purchase for consideration other than voting stock will not prevent the subsequent transfer of target assets from satisfying the solely for voting stock requirement for purposes of determining if the transfer of target assets qualifies as a reorganization under section 368(a)(1)(C).

(5) Example. The following example illustrates this paragraph (d):

Example.
(i) Facts. P, T, and X are domestic corporations. T and X each operate a trade or business. A and K, individuals unrelated to P, own 85 and 15 percent, respectively, of the stock of T. P owns all of the stock of X. The total adjusted basis of T's property exceeds the sum of T's liabilities plus the amount of liabilities to which T's property is subject. P purchases all of A's T stock for cash in a qualified stock purchase. P does not make an election under section 338(g) with respect to its acquisition of T stock. Shortly after the acquisition date, and as part of the same plan, T merges under applicable state law into X in a transaction that, but for the question of continuity of interest, satisfies all the requirements of section 368(a)(1)(A). In the merger, all of T's assets are transferred to X. P and K receive X stock in exchange for their T stock. P intends to retain the stock of X indefinitely.

(ii) Status of transfer as a reorganization. By virtue of section 338, for the purpose of determining whether the continuity of interest requirement of § 1.368-1(b) is satisfied, P's T stock acquired in the qualified stock purchase represents an interest on the part of a person who was an owner of T's business enterprise prior to the transfer that can be continued in a reorganization through P's continuing ownership of X. Thus, the continuity of interest requirement is satisfied and the merger of T into X is a reorganization within the meaning of section 368(a)(1)(A). Moreover, by virtue of section 338, the requirement of section 368(a)(1)(D) that a target shareholder control the transferee immediately after the transfer is satisfied because P controls X immediately after the transfer. In addition, all of T's assets are transferred to X in the merger and P and K receive the X stock exchanged therefor in pursuance of the plan of reorganization. Thus, the merger of T into X is also a reorganization within the meaning of section 368(a)(1)(D).

(iii) Treatment of T and X. Under section 361(a), T recognizes no gain or loss in the merger. Under section 362(b), X's basis in the assets received in the merger is the same as the basis of the assets in T's hands. X succeeds to and takes into account the items of T as provided in section 381.

(iv) Treatment of P. By virtue of section 338, the transfer of T assets to X is a reorganization. Pursuant to that reorganization, P exchanges its T stock solely for stock of X, a party to the reorganization. Because P is the purchasing corporation, section 354 applies to P's exchange of T stock for X stock in the merger of T into X. Thus, P recognizes no gain or loss on the exchange. Under section 358, P's basis in the X stock received in the exchange is the same as the basis of P's T stock exchanged therefor.

(v) Treatment of K. Because K is not the purchasing corporation (or an affiliate thereof), section 354 cannot apply to K's exchange of T stock for X stock in the merger of T into X unless the transfer of T's assets is pursuant to a reorganization as determined without regard to this paragraph (d). Under general principles of tax law applicable to reorganizations, the continuity of interest requirement is not satisfied because P's stock purchase and the merger of T into X are pursuant to an integrated transaction in which A, the owner of 85 percent of the stock of T, received solely cash in exchange for A's T stock. See, e.g., § 1.368-1(e)(1)(i); Yoc Heating v. Commissioner, 61 T.C. 168 (1973); Kass v. Commissioner, 60 T.C. 218 (1973), aff'd, 491 F.2d 749 (3d Cir. 1974). Thus, the requisite continuity of interest under § 1.368-1(b) is lacking and section 354 does not apply to K's exchange of T stock for X stock. K recognizes gain or loss, if any, pursuant to section 1001(c) with respect to its T stock.

[T.D. 8940, 66 FR 9929, Feb. 13, 2001; 66 FR 17363, Mar. 30, 2001, as amended by T.D. 9071, 68 FR 40768, July 9, 2003; T.D. 9271, 71 FR 38075, July 5, 2006]