26 CFR § 1.67-4 - Costs paid or incurred by estates or non-grantor trusts.
(a) Deductions -
(1) Section 67(e) deductions -
(i) In general. An estate or trust (including the S portion of an electing small business trust) not described in § 1.67-2T(g)(1)(i) (a non-grantor trust) must compute its adjusted gross income in the same manner as an individual, except that the following deductions (section 67(e) deductions) are allowed in arriving at adjusted gross income:
(B) Deductions allowable under section 642(b) (relating to the personal exemption) and sections 651 and 661 (relating to distributions).
(ii) Not disallowed under section 67(g). Section 67(e) deductions are not itemized deductions under section 63(d) and are not miscellaneous itemized deductions under section 67(b). Therefore, section 67(e) deductions are not disallowed under section 67(g).
(2) Deductions subject to 2-percent floor. A cost is not a section 67(e) deduction and thus is subject to both the 2-percent floor in section 67(a) and section 67(g) to the extent that it is included in the definition of miscellaneous itemized deductions under section 67(b), is incurred by an estate or non-grantor trust (including the S portion of an electing small business trust), and commonly or customarily would be incurred by a hypothetical individual holding the same property.
(b) “Commonly” or “Customarily” Incurred -
(1) In general. In analyzing a cost to determine whether it commonly or customarily would be incurred by a hypothetical individual owning the same property, it is the type of product or service rendered to the estate or non-grantor trust in exchange for the cost, rather than the description of the cost of that product or service, that is determinative. In addition to the types of costs described as commonly or customarily incurred by individuals in paragraphs (b)(2), (3), (4), and (5) of this section, costs that are incurred commonly or customarily by individuals also include, for example, costs incurred in defense of a claim against the estate, the decedent, or the non-grantor trust that are unrelated to the existence, validity, or administration of the estate or trust.
(2) Ownership costs. Ownership costs are costs that are chargeable to or incurred by an owner of property simply by reason of being the owner of the property. Thus, for purposes of section 67(e), ownership costs are commonly or customarily incurred by a hypothetical individual owner of such property. Such ownership costs include, but are not limited to, partnership costs deemed to be passed through to and reportable by a partner if these costs are defined as miscellaneous itemized deductions pursuant to section 67(b), condominium fees, insurance premiums, maintenance and lawn services, and automobile registration and insurance costs. Other expenses incurred merely by reason of the ownership of property may be fully deductible under other provisions of the Code, such as sections 62(a)(4), 162, or 164(a), which would not be miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to section 67(e).
(3) Tax preparation fees. Costs relating to all estate and generation-skipping transfer tax returns, fiduciary income tax returns, and the decedent's final individual income tax returns are not subject to the 2-percent floor. The costs of preparing all other tax returns (for example, gift tax returns) are costs commonly and customarily incurred by individuals and thus are subject to the 2-percent floor.
(4) Investment advisory fees. Fees for investment advice (including any related services that would be provided to any individual investor as part of an investment advisory fee) are incurred commonly or customarily by a hypothetical individual investor and therefore are subject to the 2-percent floor. However, certain incremental costs of investment advice beyond the amount that normally would be charged to an individual investor are not subject to the 2-percent floor. For this purpose, such an incremental cost is a special, additional charge that is added solely because the investment advice is rendered to a trust or estate rather than to an individual or attributable to an unusual investment objective or the need for a specialized balancing of the interests of various parties (beyond the usual balancing of the varying interests of current beneficiaries and remaindermen) such that a reasonable comparison with individual investors would be improper. The portion of the investment advisory fees not subject to the 2-percent floor by reason of the preceding sentence is limited to the amount of those fees, if any, that exceeds the fees normally charged to an individual investor.
(5) Appraisal fees. Appraisal fees incurred by an estate or a non-grantor trust to determine the fair market value of assets as of the decedent's date of death (or the alternate valuation date), to determine value for purposes of making distributions, or as otherwise required to properly prepare the estate's or trust's tax returns, or a generation-skipping transfer tax return, are not incurred commonly or customarily by an individual and thus are not subject to the 2-percent floor. The cost of appraisals for other purposes (for example, insurance) is commonly or customarily incurred by individuals and is subject to the 2-percent floor.
(6) Certain fiduciary expenses. Certain other fiduciary expenses are not commonly or customarily incurred by individuals, and thus are not subject to the 2-percent floor. Such expenses include without limitation the following: Probate court fees and costs; fiduciary bond premiums; legal publication costs of notices to creditors or heirs; the cost of certified copies of the decedent's death certificate; and costs related to fiduciary accounts.
(c) Bundled fees -
(1) In general. If an estate or a non-grantor trust pays a single fee, commission, or other expense (such as a fiduciary's commission, attorney's fee, or accountant's fee) for both costs that are subject to the 2-percent floor and costs (in more than a de minimis amount) that are not, then, except to the extent provided otherwise by guidance published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin, the single fee, commission, or other expense (bundled fee) must be allocated, for purposes of computing the adjusted gross income of the estate or non-grantor trust in compliance with section 67(e), between the costs that are subject to the 2-percent floor and those that are not.
(2) Exception. If a bundled fee is not computed on an hourly basis, only the portion of that fee that is attributable to investment advice is subject to the 2-percent floor; the remaining portion is not subject to that floor.
(3) Expenses not subject to allocation. Out-of-pocket expenses billed to the estate or non-grantor trust are treated as separate from the bundled fee. In addition, payments made from the bundled fee to third parties that would have been subject to the 2-percent floor if they had been paid directly by the estate or non-grantor trust are subject to the 2-percent floor, as are any fees or expenses separately assessed by the fiduciary or other payee of the bundled fee (in addition to the usual or basic bundled fee) for services rendered to the estate or non-grantor trust that are commonly or customarily incurred by an individual.
(4) Reasonable method. Any reasonable method may be used to allocate a bundled fee between those costs that are subject to the 2-percent floor and those costs that are not, including without limitation the allocation of a portion of a fiduciary commission that is a bundled fee to investment advice. Facts that may be considered in determining whether an allocation is reasonable include, but are not limited to, the percentage of the value of the corpus subject to investment advice, whether a third party advisor would have charged a comparable fee for similar advisory services, and the amount of the fiduciary's attention to the trust or estate that is devoted to investment advice as compared to dealings with beneficiaries and distribution decisions and other fiduciary functions. The reasonable method standard does not apply to determine the portion of the bundled fee attributable to payments made to third parties for expenses subject to the 2-percent floor or to any other separately assessed expense commonly or customarily incurred by an individual, because those payments and expenses are readily identifiable without any discretion on the part of the fiduciary or return preparer.
(d) Applicability date. This section applies to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2014. Paragraph (a) of this section applies to taxable years beginning after October 19, 2020. Taxpayers may choose to apply paragraph (a) of this section to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and on or before October 19, 2020.