26 CFR § 1.636-1 - Treatment of production payments as loans.
(a) In general. (1)(i) For purposes of subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, a production payment (as defined in paragraph (a) of § 1.636-3) to which this section applies shall be treated as a loan on the mineral property (or properties) burdened thereby and not as an economic interest in mineral in place, except to the extent that § 1.636-2 or paragraph (b) of this section applies. See paragraph (b) of § 1.611-1. A production payment carved out of mineral property which remains in the hands of the person carving out the production payment immediately after the transfer of such production payment shall be treated as a mortgage loan on the mineral property burdened thereby. A production payment created and retained upon the transfer of the mineral property burdened by such production payment shall be treated as a purchase money mortgage loan on the mineral property burdened thereby. Such production payments will be referred to hereinafter in the regulations under section 636 as carved-out production payments and retained production payments, respectively. Moreover, in the case of a transaction involving a production payment treated as a loan pursuant to this section, the production payment shall constitute an item of income (not subject to depletion), consideration for a sale or exchange, a contribution to capital, or a gift if in the transaction a debt obligation used in lieu of the production payment would constitute such an item of income, consideration, contribution to capital, or gift, as the case may be. For the definition of the term transfer see paragraph (c) of § 1.636-3.
(ii) The payer of a production payment treated as a loan pursuant to this section shall include the proceeds from (or, if paid in kind, the value of) the mineral produced and applied to the satisfaction of the production payment in his gross income and gross income from the property (see section 613(a)) for the taxable year so applied. The payee shall include in his gross income (but not gross income from the property) amounts received with respect to such production payment to the extent that such amounts would be includible in gross income if such production payment were a loan. The payer and payee shall determine their allowable deductions as if such production payment were a loan. See section 483, relating to interest on certain deferred payments in the case of a production payment created and retained upon the transfer of the mineral property burdened thereby, or in the case of a production payment transferred in exchange for property. See section 1232 in the case of a production payment which is originally transferred by a corporation at a discount and is a capital asset in the hands of the payee. In the case of a carved-out production payment treated as a mortgage loan pursuant to this section, the consideration received for such production payment by the taxpayer who created it is not included in either gross income or gross income from the property by such taxpayer.
(2) If a production payment is treated as a loan pursuant to this section, no transfer of such production payment or any property burdened thereby (other than a transfer between the payer and payee of the production payment which, if the production payment were a loan, would extinguish the loan) shall cause it to cease to be so treated. For example, A sells operating mineral interest X to B for $100,000, subject to a $500,000 retained production payment payable out of X. Subsequently, A sells the production payment to C, and B sells X to D. C and D must treat the production payment as a purchase money mortgage loan.
(3) The provisions of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:
(1) A production payment carved out of a mineral property (or properties) for exploration or development of such property (or properties) shall not be treated as a mortgage loan under section 636(a) and this section to the extent gross income from the property (for purposes of section 613) would not be realized by the taxpayer creating such production payment, under the law existing at the time of the creation of such production payment, in the absence of section 636(a). See section 83 and the regulations thereunder, relating to property transferred in connection with the performance of services. For purposes of section 636(a) and this paragraph, an expenditure is for exploration or development to the extent that it is necessary for ascertaining the existence, location, extent, or quality of any deposit of mineral or is incident to and necessary for the preparation of a deposit for the production of mineral. However, an expenditure which relates primarily to the production of mineral (as, for example, in the case of a pilot water flood program with respect to the secondary recovery of oil) is not for exploration or development as those terms are used in section 636(a) and this paragraph. Whether or not a production payment is carved out for exploration or development shall be determined in light of all relevant facts and circumstances, including any prior production of mineral from the mineral deposit burdened by the production payment. However, a production payment shall not be treated as carved out for exploration or development to the extent that the consideration for the production payment:
(iv) Does not consist of a binding obligation of the payee of the production payment to provide services, materials, supplies, or equipment for the exploration or development described in subdivision (i) of this subparagraph.
(2) In the case of a carved-out production payment only a portion of which is subject to the exception provided in this paragraph, the rules contained in paragraph (a) of this section with respect to the treatment of income and deductions where a production payment is treated as a loan shall apply to the portion of the taxpayer's income or expenses attributable to the production payment which bears the same ratio to the total amount of such income or expenses, as the case may be, as the amount of the consideration for the production payment which would have been realized as income in the absence of section 636(a), by the taxpayer creating such production payment, bears to the total consideration to the taxpayer for the production payment. For example, A, owner of a mineral property, carves out a production payment in favor of B for $600,000 plus interest in return for $600,000 cash. A pledges to use $400,000 for the development of the burdened mineral property. In each of the payout years loan treatment applies to one-third of the income and expenses of A and B attributable to the production payment.
(c) Treatment upon disposition or termination of mineral property burdened by production payment. (1)(i) In the case of a sale or other disposition of the mineral property burdened by a production payment treated as a loan pursuant to this section, there shall be included in determining the amount realized upon such disposition an amount equal to the outstanding principal balance of such production payment on the date of such disposition. However, if such a production payment is created in connection with the disposition, the amount to be so included shall be the fair market value of the production payment, rather than its principal amount, if the fair market value is established by clear and convincing evidence to be an amount which differs from the principal amount. See section 1001 and the regulations thereunder. In determining the cost of the transferred mineral property to the transferee for purposes of section 1012, the outstanding principal balance of the production payment shall be included in the cost.
The provisions of this subparagraph may be illustrated by the following examples:
In the case of the expiration, termination, or abandonment of a mineral property burdened by a production payment treated as a loan pursuant to this section, for purposes of determining the amount of any loss under section 165 with respect to the burdened mineral property the adjusted basis of such property shall be reduced (but not below zero) by an amount equal to the outstanding principal balance of such production payment on the date of such expiration, termination, or abandonment. Thus, in example 2 in subparagraph (1)(ii) of this paragraph, if B abandons the mineral property at a time when $5,000 of the principal amount of the production payment remains unsatisfied, B's adjusted basis immediately before the abandonment would be reduced by $5,000 for determining his loss on abandonment under section 165.
In the case of a transfer of a portion of the mineral property burdened by a production payment treated as a loan pursuant to this section, such production payment shall be apportioned between the transferred portion and the retained portion by allocating to such transferred portion that part of the outstanding principal balance of the production payment which bears the same ratio to such balance as the value of such transferred portion (exclusive of any value not related to the burdened mineral) bears to the total value of the burdened mineral property (exclusive of any value not related to the burdened mineral).
(4) In general, the entire amount of gain or loss realized pursuant to this paragraph shall be recognized in the taxable year of such realization. See section 1211 for limitation on capital losses. This subparagraph shall not affect the applicability of rules providing exceptions to the recognition of gain or loss which has been realized (e.g., a transfer to which section 351 or 1031 applies). However, see section 357(c) with respect to the assumption of liabilities in excess of basis in certain tax-free exchanges. Furthermore, in the case of a transaction which otherwise qualifies, gain realized on a transfer of a mineral property to which section 636(b) applies may be returned on the installment method under section 453.