26 CFR § 1.752-2 - Partner's share of recourse liabilities.

§ 1.752-2 Partner's share of recourse liabilities.

(a) In general. A partner's share of a recourse partnership liability equals the portion of that liability, if any, for which the partner or related person bears the economic risk of loss. The determination of the extent to which a partner bears the economic risk of loss for a partnership liability is made under the rules in paragraphs (b) through (k) of this section.

(b) Obligation to make a payment -

(1) In general. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a partner bears the economic risk of loss for a partnership liability to the extent that, if the partnership constructively liquidated, the partner or related person would be obligated to make a payment to any person (or a contribution to the partnership) because that liability becomes due and payable and the partner or related person would not be entitled to reimbursement from another partner or person that is a related person to another partner. Upon a constructive liquidation, all of the following events are deemed to occur simultaneously:

(i) All of the partnership's liabilities become payable in full;

(ii) With the exception of property contributed to secure a partnership liability (see § 1.752-2(h)(2)), all of the partnership's assets, including cash, have a value of zero;

(iii) The partnership disposes of all of its property in a fully taxable transaction for no consideration (except relief from liabilities for which the creditors's right to repayment is limited solely to one or more assets of the partnership);

(iv) All items of income, gain, loss, or deduction are allocated among the partners; and

(v) The partnership liquidates.

(2) Treatment upon deemed disposition. For purposes of paragraph (b)(1) of this section, gain or loss on the deemed disposition of the partnership's assets is computed in accordance with the following:

(i) If the creditor's right to repayment of a partnership liability is limited solely to one or more assets of the partnership, gain or loss is recognized in an amount equal to the difference between the amount of the liability that is extinguished by the deemed disposition and the tax basis (or book value to the extent section 704(c) or § 1.704-1(b)(4)(i) applies) in those assets.

(ii) A loss is recognized equal to the remaining tax basis (or book value to the extent section 704(c) or § 1.704-1(b)(4)(i) applies) of all the partnership's assets not taken into account in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section.

(3) Obligations recognized -

(i) In general. The determination of the extent to which a partner or related person has an obligation to make a payment under § 1.752-2(b)(1) is based on the facts and circumstances at the time of the determination. To the extent that the obligation of a partner or related person to make a payment with respect to a partnership liability is not recognized under this paragraph (b)(3), § 1.752-2(b) is applied as if the obligation did not exist. All statutory and contractual obligations relating to the partnership liability are taken into account for purposes of applying this section, including -

(A) Contractual obligations outside the partnership agreement such as guarantees, indemnifications, reimbursement agreements, and other obligations running directly to creditors, to other partners, or to the partnership;

(B) Obligations to the partnership that are imposed by the partnership agreement, including the obligation to make a capital contribution and to restore a deficit capital account upon liquidation of the partnership as described in § 1.704-1(b)(2)(ii)(b)(3) (taking into account § 1.704-1(b)(2)(ii)(c)); and

(C) Payment obligations (whether in the form of direct remittances to another partner or a contribution to the partnership) imposed by state or local law, including the governing state or local law partnership statute.

(ii) Special rules for bottom dollar payment obligations -

(A) In general. For purposes of § 1.752-2, a bottom dollar payment obligation (as defined in paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(C) of this section) is not recognized under this paragraph (b)(3).

(B) Exception. If a partner or related person has a payment obligation that would be recognized under this paragraph (b)(3) (initial payment obligation) but for the effect of an indemnity, a reimbursement agreement, or a similar arrangement, such bottom dollar payment obligation is recognized under this paragraph (b)(3) if, taking into account the indemnity, reimbursement agreement, or similar arrangement, the partner or related person is liable for at least 90 percent of the partner's or related person's initial payment obligation.

(C) Definition of bottom dollar payment obligation -

(1) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(C)(2) of this section, a bottom dollar payment obligation is a payment obligation that is the same as or similar to a payment obligation or arrangement described in this paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(C)(1).

(i) With respect to a guarantee or similar arrangement, any payment obligation other than one in which the partner or related person is or would be liable up to the full amount of such partner's or related person's payment obligation if, and to the extent that, any amount of the partnership liability is not otherwise satisfied.

(ii) With respect to an indemnity or similar arrangement, any payment obligation other than one in which the partner or related person is or would be liable up to the full amount of such partner's or related person's payment obligation, if, and to the extent that, any amount of the indemnitee's or benefited party's payment obligation that is recognized under this paragraph (b)(3) is satisfied.

(iii) With respect to an obligation to make a capital contribution or to restore a deficit capital account upon liquidation of the partnership as described in § 1.704-1(b)(2)(ii)(b)(3) (taking into account § 1.704-1(b)(2)(ii)(c)), any payment obligation other than one in which the partner is or would be required to make the full amount of the partner's capital contribution or to restore the full amount of the partner's deficit capital account.

(iv) An arrangement with respect to a partnership liability that uses tiered partnerships, intermediaries, senior and subordinate liabilities, or similar arrangements to convert what would otherwise be a single liability into multiple liabilities if, based on the facts and circumstances, the liabilities were incurred pursuant to a common plan, as part of a single transaction or arrangement, or as part of a series of related transactions or arrangements, and with a principal purpose of avoiding having at least one of such liabilities or payment obligations with respect to such liabilities being treated as a bottom dollar payment obligation as described in paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(C)(1)(i), (ii), or (iii) of this section.

(2) Exceptions. A payment obligation is not a bottom dollar payment obligation merely because a maximum amount is placed on the partner's or related person's payment obligation, a partner's or related person's payment obligation is stated as a fixed percentage of every dollar of the partnership liability to which such obligation relates, or there is a right of proportionate contribution running between partners or related persons who are co-obligors with respect to a payment obligation for which each of them is jointly and severally liable.

(3) Benefited party defined. For purposes of § 1.752-2, a benefited party is the person to whom a partner or related person has the payment obligation.

(D) Disclosure of bottom dollar payment obligations. A partnership must disclose to the Internal Revenue Service a bottom dollar payment obligation (including a bottom dollar payment obligation that is recognized under paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(B) of this section) with respect to a partnership liability on a completed Form 8275, Disclosure Statement, or successor form, attached to the return of the partnership for the taxable year in which the bottom dollar payment obligation is undertaken or modified, that includes all of the following information:

(1) A caption identifying the statement as a disclosure of a bottom dollar payment obligation under section 752.

(2) An identification of the payment obligation with respect to which disclosure is made (including whether the obligation is a guarantee, a reimbursement, an indemnity, or an obligation to restore a deficit balance in a partner's capital account).

(3) The amount of the payment obligation.

(4) The parties to the payment obligation.

(5) A statement of whether the payment obligation is treated as recognized for purposes of this paragraph (b)(3).

(6) If the payment obligation is recognized under paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(B) of this section, the facts and circumstances that clearly establish that a partner or related person is liable for up to 90 percent of the partner's or related person's initial payment obligation and, but for an indemnity, a reimbursement agreement, or a similar arrangement, the partner's or related person's initial payment obligation would have been recognized under this paragraph (b)(3).

(iii) Special rule for indemnities and reimbursement agreements. An indemnity, a reimbursement agreement, or a similar arrangement will be recognized under this paragraph (b)(3) only if, before taking into account the indemnity, reimbursement agreement, or similar arrangement, the indemnitee's or other benefited party's payment obligation is recognized under this paragraph (b)(3), or would be recognized under this paragraph (b)(3) if such person were a partner or related person.

(4) Contingent obligations. A payment obligation is disregarded if, taking into account all the facts and circumstances, the obligation is subject to contingencies that make it unlikely that the obligation will ever be discharged. If a payment obligation would arise at a future time after the occurrence of an event that is not determinable with reasonable certainty, the obligation is ignored until the event occurs.

(5) Reimbursement rights. A partner's or related person's obligation to make a payment with respect to a partnership liability is reduced to the extent that the partner or related person is entitled to reimbursement from another partner or a person who is a related person to another partner.

(6) Deemed satisfaction of obligation. For purposes of determining the extent to which a partner or related person has a payment obligation and the economic risk of loss, it is assumed that all partners and related persons who have obligations to make payments (a payment obligor) actually perform those obligations, irrespective of their actual net worth, unless the facts and circumstances indicate -

(i) A plan to circumvent or avoid the obligation under paragraph (j) of this section, or

(ii) That there is not a commercially reasonable expectation that the payment obligor will have the ability to make the required payments under the terms of the obligation if the obligation becomes due and payable as described in paragraph (k) of this section.

(c) Partner or related person as lender -

(1) In general. A partner bears the economic risk of loss for a partnership liability to the extent that the partner or a related person makes (or acquires an interest in) a nonrecourse loan to the partnership and the economic risk of loss for the liability is not borne by another partner.

(2) Wrapped debt. If a partnership liability is owed to a partner or related person and that liability includes (i.e., is “wrapped” around) a nonrecourse obligation encumbering partnership property that is owed to another person, the partnership liability will be treated as two separate liabilities. The portion of the partnership liability corresponding to the wrapped debt is treated as a liability owed to another person.

(3) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.752-2T(c)(3).

(d) De minimis exceptions -

(1) Partner as lender. The general rule contained in paragraph (c)(1) of this section does not apply if a partner or related person whose interest (directly or indirectly through one or more partnerships including the interest of any related person) in each item of partnership income, gain, loss, deduction, or credit for every taxable year that the partner is a partner in the partnership is 10 percent or less, makes a loan to the partnership which constitutes qualified nonrecourse financing within the meaning of section 465(b)(6) (determined without regard to the type of activity financed).

(2) Partner as guarantor. The general rule contained in paragraph (b)(1) of this section does not apply if a partner or related person whose interest (directly or indirectly through one or more partnerships including the interest of any related person) in each item of partnership income, gain, loss, deduction, or credit for every taxable year that the partner is a partner in the partnership is 10 percent or less, guarantees a loan that would otherwise be a nonrecourse loan of the partnership and which would constitute qualified nonrecourse financing within the meaning of section 465(b)(6) (without regard to the type of activity financed) if the guarantor had made the loan to the partnership.

(e) Special rule for nonrecourse liability with interest guaranteed by a partner -

(1) In general. For purposes of this section, if one or more partners or related persons have guaranteed the payment of more than 25 percent of the total interest that will accrue on a partnership nonrecourse liability over its remaining term, and it is reasonable to expect that the guarantor will be required to pay substantially all of the guaranteed future interest if the partnership fails to do so, then the liability is treated as two separate partnership liabilities. If this rule applies, the partner or related person that has guaranteed the payment of interest is treated as bearing the economic risk of loss for the partnership liability to the extent of the present value of the guaranteed future interest payments. The remainder of the stated principal amount of the partnership liability constitutes a nonrecourse liability. Generally, in applying this rule, it is reasonable to expect that the guarantor will be required to pay substantially all of the guaranteed future interest if, upon a default in payment by the partnership, the lender can enforce the interest guaranty without foreclosing on the property and thereby extinguishing the underlying debt. The guarantee of interest rule continues to apply even after the point at which the amount of guaranteed interest that will accrue is less than 25 percent of the total interest that will accrue on the liability.

(2) Computation of present value. The present value of the guaranteed future interest payments is computed using a discount rate equal to either the interest rate stated in the loan documents, or if interest is imputed under either section 483 or section 1274, the applicable federal rate, compounded semi-annually. The computation takes into account any payment of interest that the partner or related person may be required to make only to the extent that the interest will accrue economically (determined in accordance with section 446 and the regulations thereunder) after the date of the interest guarantee. If the loan document contains a variable rate of interest that is an interest rate based on current values of an objective interest index, the present value is computed on the assumption that the interest determined under the objective interest index on the date of the computation will remain constant over the term of the loan. The term “objective interest index” has the meaning given to it in section 1275 and the regulations thereunder (relating to variable rate debt instruments). Examples of an objective interest index include the prime rate of a designated financial institution, LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate), and the applicable federal rate under section 1274(d).

(3) Safe harbor. The general rule contained in paragraph (e)(1) of this section does not apply to a partnership nonrecourse liability if the guarantee of interest by the partner or related person is for a period not in excess of the lesser of five years or one-third of the term of the liability.

(4) De minimis exception. The general rule contained in paragraph (e)(1) of this section does not apply if a partner or related person whose interest (directly or indirectly through one or more partnerships including the interest of any related person) in each item of partnership income, gain, loss, deduction, or credit for every taxable year that the partner is a partner in the partnership is 10 percent of less, guarantees the interest on a loan to that partnership which constitutes qualified nonrecourse financing within the meaning of section 465(b)(6) (determined without regard to the type of activity financed). An allocation of interest to the extent paid by the guarantor is not treated as a partnership item of deduction or loss subject to the 10 percent or less rule.

(f) Examples. The following examples illustrate the principles of paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section. Unless otherwise provided, for purposes of paragraph (f)(1) through (9) of this section (Examples 1 through 9), assume that any obligation of a partner or related person to make a payment is recognized under paragraph (b)(3) of this section.

(1) Determining when a partner bears the economic risk of loss. A and B form a general partnership with each contributing $100 in cash. The partnership purchases an office building on leased land for $1,000 from an unrelated seller, paying $200 in cash and executing a note to the seller for the balance of $800. The note is a general obligation of the partnership, i.e., no partner has been relieved from personal liability. The partnership agreement provides that all items are allocated equally except that tax losses are specially allocated 90% to A and 10% to B and that capital accounts will be maintained in accordance with the regulations under section 704(b), including a deficit capital account restoration obligation on liquidation. In a constructive liquidation, the $800 liability becomes due and payable. All of the partnership's assets, including the building, are deemed to be worthless. The building is deemed sold for a value of zero. Capital accounts are adjusted to reflect the loss on the hypothetical disposition, as follows:

A B
Initial contribution $100 $100
Loss on hypothetical sale (900) (100)
($800) $0
Other than the partners' obligation to fund negative capital accounts on liquidation, there are no other contractual or statutory payment obligations existing between the partners, the partnership and the lender. Therefore, $800 of the partnership liability is classified as a recourse liability because one or more partners bears the economic risk of loss for non-payment. B has no share of the $800 liability since the constructive liquidation produces no payment obligation for B. A's share of the partnership liability is $800 because A would have an obligation in that amount to make a contribution to the partnership.

(2) Recourse liability; deficit restoration obligation. C and D each contribute $500 in cash to the capital of a new general partnership, CD. CD purchases property from an unrelated seller for $1,000 in cash and a $9,000 mortgage note. The note is a general obligation of the partnership, i.e., no partner has been relieved from personal liability. The partnership agreement provides that profits and losses are to be divided 40% to C and 60% to D. C and D are required to make up any deficit in their capital accounts. In a constructive liquidation, all partnership assets are deemed to become worthless and all partnership liabilities become due and payable in full. The partnership is deemed to dispose of all its assets in a fully taxable transaction for no consideration. Capital accounts are adjusted to reflect the loss on the hypothetical disposition, as follows:

C D
Initial contribution $500 $500
Loss on hypothetical sale (4,000) (6,000)
($3,500) ($5,500)
C's capital account reflects a deficit that C would have to make up to $3,500 and D's capital account reflects a deficit that D would have to make up of $5,500. Therefore, the $9,000 mortgage note is a recourse liability because one or more partners bear the economic risk of loss for the liability. C's share of the recourse liability is $3,500 and D's share is $5,500.

(3) Guarantee by limited partner; partner deemed to satisfy obligation. E and F form a limited partnership. E, the general partner, contributes $2,000 and F, the limited partner, contributes $8,000 in cash to the partnership. The partnership agreement allocates losses 20% to E and 80% to F until F's capital account is reduced to zero, after which all losses are allocated to E. The partnership purchases depreciable property for $25,000 using its $10,000 cash and a $15,000 recourse loan from a bank. F guarantees payment of the $15,000 loan to the extent the loan remains unpaid after the bank has exhausted its remedies against the partnership. In a constructive liquidation, the $15,000 liability becomes due and payable. All of the partnership's assets, including the depreciable property, are deemed to be worthless. The depreciable property is deemed sold for a value of zero. Capital accounts are adjusted to reflect the loss on the hypothetical disposition, as follows:

E F
Initial contribution $2,000 $8,000
Loss on hypothetical sale (17,000) (8,000)
($15,000) $0
E, as a general partner, would be obligated by operation of law to make a net contribution to the partnership of $15,000. Because E is assumed to satisfy that obligation, it is also assumed that F would not have to satisfy F's guarantee. The $15,000 mortgage is treated as a recourse liability because one or more partners bear the economic risk of loss. E's share of the liability is $15,000, and F's share is zero. This would be so even if E's net worth at the time of the determination is less than $15,000, unless the facts and circumstances indicate a plan to circumvent or avoid E's obligation to contribute to the partnership.

(4) Partner guarantee with right of subrogation. G, a limited partner in the GH partnership, guarantees a portion of a partnership liability. The liability is a general obligation of the partnership, i.e., no partner has been relieved from personal liability. If under state law G is subrogated to the rights of the lender, G would have the right to recover the amount G paid to the recourse lender from the general partner. Therefore, G does not bear the economic risk of loss for the partnership liability.

(5) Bifurcation of partnership liability; guarantee of part of nonrecourse liability. A partnership borrows $10,000, secured by a mortgage on real property. The mortgage note contains an exoneration clause which provides that in the event of default, the holder's only remedy is to foreclose on the property. The holder may not look to any other partnership asset or to any partner to pay the liability. However, to induce the lender to make the loan, a partner guarantees payment of $200 of the loan principal. The exoneration clause does not apply to the partner's guarantee. If the partner paid pursuant to the guarantee, the partner would be subrogated to the rights of the lender with respect to $200 of the mortgage debt, but the partner is not otherwise entitled to reimbursement from the partnership or any partner. For purposes of section 752, $200 of the $10,000 mortgage liability is treated as a recourse liability of the partnership and $9,800 is treated as a nonrecourse liability of the partnership. The partner's share of the recourse liability of the partnership is $200.

(6) Wrapped debt. I, an individual, purchases real estate from an unrelated seller for $10,000, paying $1,000 in cash and giving a $9,000 purchase mortgage note on which I has no personal liability and as to which the seller can look only to the property for satisfaction. At a time when the property is worth $15,000, I sells the property to a partnership in which I is a general partner. The partnership pays for the property with a partnership purchase money mortgage note of $15,000 on which neither the partnership nor any partner (or person related to a partner) has personal liability. The $15,000 mortgage note is a wrapped debt that includes the $9,000 obligation to the original seller. The liability is a recourse liability to the extent of $6,000 because I is the creditor with respect to the loan and I bears the economic risk of loss for $6,000. I's share of the recourse liability is $6,000. The remaining $9,000 is treated as a partnership nonrecourse liability that is owed to the unrelated seller.

(7) Guarantee of interest by partner treated as part recourse and part nonrecourse. On January 1, 1992, a partnership obtains a $4,000,000 loan secured by a shopping center owned by the partnership. Neither the partnership nor any partner has any personal liability under the loan documents for repayment of the stated principal amount. Interest accrues at a 15 percent annual rate and is payable on December 31 of each year. The principal is payable in a lump sum on December 31, 2006. A partner guarantees payment of 50 percent of each interest payment required by the loan. The guarantee can be enforced without first foreclosing on the property. When the partnership obtains the loan, the present value (discounted at 15 percent, compounded annually) of the future interest payments is $3,508,422, and of the future principal payment is $491,578. If tested on that date, the loan would be treated as a partnership liability of $1,754,211 ($3,508,422 × .5) for which the guaranteeing partner bears the economic risk of loss and a partnership nonrecourse liability of $2,245,789 ($1,754,211 + $491,578).

(8) Contingent obligation not recognized. J and K form a general partnership with cash contributions of $2,500 each. J and K share partnership profits and losses equally. The partnership purchases an apartment building for its $5,000 of cash and a $20,000 nonrecourse loan from a commercial bank. The nonrecourse loan is secured by a mortgage on the building. The loan documents provide that the partnership will be liable for the outstanding balance of the loan on a recourse basis to the extent of any decrease in the value of the apartment building resulting from the partnership's failure properly to maintain the property. There are no facts that establish with reasonable certainty the existence of any liability on the part of the partnership (and its partners) for damages resulting from the partnership's failure properly to maintain the building. Therefore, no partner bears the economic risk of loss, and the liability constitutes a nonrecourse liability. Under § 1.752-3, J and K share this nonrecourse liability equally because they share all profits and losses equally.

(9) [Reserved].

(10) Example 10.Guarantee of first and last dollars. (i) A, B, and C are equal members of a limited liability company, ABC, that is treated as a partnership for federal tax purposes. ABC borrows $1,000 from Bank. A guarantees payment of up to $300 of the ABC liability if any amount of the full $1,000 liability is not recovered by Bank. B guarantees payment of up to $200, but only if the Bank otherwise recovers less than $200. Both A and B waive their rights of contribution against each other.

(ii) Because A is obligated to pay up to $300 if, and to the extent that, any amount of the $1,000 partnership liability is not recovered by Bank, A's guarantee is not a bottom dollar payment obligation under paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(C) of this section. Therefore, A's payment obligation is recognized under paragraph (b)(3) of this section. The amount of A's economic risk of loss under § 1.752-2(b)(1) is $300.

(iii) Because B is obligated to pay up to $200 only if and to the extent that the Bank otherwise recovers less than $200 of the $1,000 partnership liability, B's guarantee is a bottom dollar payment obligation under paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(C) of this section and, therefore, is not recognized under paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(A) of this section. Accordingly, B bears no economic risk of loss under § 1.752-2(b)(1) for ABC's liability.

(iv) In sum, $300 of ABC's liability is allocated to A under § 1.752-2(a), and the remaining $700 liability is allocated to A, B, and C under § 1.752-3.

(11) Example 11.Indemnification of guarantees. (i) The facts are the same as in paragraph (f)(10) of this section (Example 10), except that, in addition, C agrees to indemnify A up to $100 that A pays with respect to its guarantee and agrees to indemnify B fully with respect to its guarantee.

(ii) The determination of whether C's indemnity is recognized under paragraph (b)(3) of this section is made without regard to whether C's indemnity itself causes A's guarantee not to be recognized. Because A's obligation would be recognized but for the effect of C's indemnity and C is obligated to pay A up to the full amount of C's indemnity if A pays any amount on its guarantee of ABC's liability, C's indemnity of A's guarantee is not a bottom dollar payment obligation under paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(C) of this section and, therefore, is recognized under paragraph (b)(3) of this section. The amount of C's economic risk of loss under § 1.752-2(b)(1) for its indemnity of A's guarantee is $100.

(iii) Because C's indemnity is recognized under paragraph (b)(3) of this section, A is treated as liable for $200 only to the extent any amount beyond $100 of the partnership liability is not satisfied. Thus, A is not liable if, and to the extent, any amount of the partnership liability is not otherwise satisfied, and the exception in paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(B) of this section does not apply. As a result, A's guarantee is a bottom dollar payment obligation under paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(C) of this section and is not recognized under paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(A) of this section. Therefore, A bears no economic risk of loss under § 1.752-2(b)(1) for ABC's liability.

(iv) Because B's obligation is not recognized under paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section independent of C's indemnity of B's guarantee, C's indemnity is not recognized under paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section. Therefore, C bears no economic risk of loss under § 1.752-2(b)(1) for its indemnity of B's guarantee.

(v) In sum, $100 of ABC's liability is allocated to C under § 1.752-2(a) and the remaining $900 liability is allocated to A, B, and C under § 1.752-3.

(g) Time-value-of-money considerations -

(1) In general. The extent to which a partner or related person bears the economic risk of loss is determined by taking into account any delay in the time when a payment or contribution obligation with respect to a partnership liability is to be satisfied. If a payment obligation with respect to a partnership liability is not required to be satisfied within a reasonable time after the liability becomes due and payable, or if the obligation to make a contribution to the partnership is not required to be satisfied before the later of -

(i) The end of the year in which the partner's interest is liquidated, or

(ii) 90 days after the liquidation,

the obligation is recognized only to the extent of the value of the obligation.

(2) Valuation of an obligation. The value of a payment or contribution obligation that is not required to be satisfied within the time period specified in paragraph (g)(1) of this section equals the entire principal balance of the obligation only if the obligation bears interest equal to or greater than the applicable federal rate under section 1274(d) at the time of valuation, commencing on -

(i) In the case of a payment obligation, the date that the partnership liability to a creditor or other person to whom the obligation relates becomes due and payable, or

(ii) In the case of a contribution obligation, the date of the liquidation of the partner's interest in the partnership. If the obligation does not bear interest at a rate at least equal to the applicable federal rate at the time of valuation, the value of the obligation is discounted to the present value of all payments due from the partner or related person (i.e., the imputed principal amount computed under section 1274(b)). For purposes of making this present value determination, the partnership is deemed to have constructively liquidated as of the date on which the payment obligation is valued and the payment obligation is assumed to be a debt instrument subject to the rules of section 1274 (i.e., the debt instrument is treated as if it were issued for property at the time of the valuation).

(3) Satisfaction of obligation with partner's promissory note. An obligation is not satisfied by the transfer to the obligee of a promissory note by a partner or related person unless the note is readily tradeable on an established securities market.

(4) Example. The following example illustrates the principle of paragraph (g) of this section.

Example.
Value of obligation not required to be satisfied within specified time period. A, the general partner, and B, the limited partner, each contributes $10,000 to partnership AB. AB purchases property from an unrelated seller for $20,000 in cash and a $70,000 recourse purchase money note. The partnership agreement provides that profits and losses are to be divided equally. A and B are required to make up any deficit in their capital accounts. While A is required to restore any deficit balance in A's capital account within 90 days after the date of liquidation of the partnership, B is not required to restore any deficit for two years following the date of liquidation. The deficit in B's capital account will not bear interest during that two-year period. In a constructive liquidation, all partnership assets are deemed to become worthless and all partnership liabilities become due and payable in full. The partnership is deemed to dispose of all its assets in a fully taxable transaction for no consideration. Capital accounts are adjusted to reflect the loss on the hypothetical disposition, as follows:
A B
Initial contribution $10,000 $10,000
Loss on hypothetical sale (45,000) (45,000)
(35,000) (35,000)
A's and B's capital accounts each reflect deficits of $35,000. B's obligation to make a contribution pursuant to B's deficit restoration obligation is recognized only to the extent of the fair market value of that obligation at the time of the constructive liquidation because B is not required to satisfy that obligation by the later of the end of the partnership taxable year in which B's interest is liquidated or within 90 days after the date of the liquidation. Because B's obligation does not bear interest, the fair market value is deemed to equal the imputed principal amount under section 1274(b). Under section 1274(b), the imputed principal amount of a debt instrument equals the present value of all payments due under the debt instrument. Assume the applicable federal rate with respect to B's obligation is 10 percent compounded semiannually. Using this discount rate, the present value of the $35,000 payment that B would be required to make two years after the constructive liquidation to restore the deficit balance in B's capital account equals $28,795. To the extent that B's deficit restoration obligation is not recognized, it is assumed that B's obligation does not exist. Therefore, A, as the sole general partner, would be obligated by operation of law to contribute an additional $6,205 of capital to the partnership. Accordingly, under paragraph (g) of this section, B bears the economic risk of loss for $28,795 and A bears the economic risk of loss for $41,205 ($35,000 + $6,205).

(h) Partner providing property as security for partnership liability -

(1) Direct pledge. A partner is considered to bear the economic risk of loss for a partnership liability to the extent of the value of any the partner's or related person's separate property (other than a direct or indirect interest in the partnership) that is pledged as security for the partnership liability.

(2) Indirect pledge. A partner is considered to bear the economic risk of loss for a partnership liability to the extent of the value of any property that the partner contributes to the partnership solely for the purpose of securing a partnership liability. Contributed property is not treated as contributed solely for the purpose of securing a partnership liability unless substantially all of the items of income, gain, loss, and deduction attributable to the contributed property are allocated to the contributing partner, and this allocation is generally greater than the partner's share of other significant items of partnership income, gain, loss, or deduction.

(3) Valuation. The extent to which a partner bears the economic risk of loss for a partnership liability as a result of a direct pledge described in paragraph (h)(1) of this section or an indirect pledge described in paragraph (h)(2) of this section is limited to the net fair market value of the property (pledged property) at the time of the pledge or contribution. If a partner provides additional pledged property, the addition is treated as a new pledge and the net fair market value of the pledged property (including but not limited to the additional property) must be determined at that time. For purposes of this paragraph (h), if pledged property is subject to one or more other obligations, those obligations must be taken into account in determining the net fair market value of pledged property at the time of the pledge or contribution.

(4) Partner's promissory note. For purposes of paragraph (h)(2) of this section, a promissory note of the partner or related person that is contributed to the partnership shall not be taken into account unless the note is readily tradeable on an established securities market.

(i) Treatment of recourse liabilities in tiered partnerships. If a partnership (the “upper-tier partnership”) owns (directly or indirectly through one or more partnerships) an interest in another partnership (the “lower-tier partnership”), the liabilities of the lower-tier partnership are allocated to the upper-tier partnership in an amount equal to the sum of the following -

(1) The amount of the economic risk of loss that the upper-tier partnership bears with respect to the liabilities; and

(2) Any other amount of the liabilities with respect to which partners of the upper-tier partnership bear the economic risk of loss.

(j) Anti-abuse rules -

(1) In general. An obligation of a partner or related person to make a payment may be disregarded or treated as an obligation of another person for purposes of this section if facts and circumstances indicate that a principal purpose of the arrangement between the parties is to eliminate the partner's economic risk of loss with respect to that obligation or create the appearance of the partner or related person bearing the economic risk of loss when, in fact, the substance of the arrangement is otherwise. Circumstances with respect to which a payment obligation may be disregarded include, but are not limited to, the situations described in paragraphs (j)(2) and (j)(3) of this section.

(2) Arrangements tantamount to a guarantee -

(i) In general. Irrespective of the form of a contractual obligation, a partner is considered to bear the economic risk of loss with respect to a partnership liability, or a portion thereof, to the extent that -

(A) The partner or related person undertakes one or more contractual obligations so that the partnership may obtain or retain a loan;

(B) The contractual obligations of the partner or related person significantly reduce the risk to the lender that the partnership will not satisfy its obligations under the loan, or a portion thereof; and

(C) With respect to the contractual obligations described in paragraphs (j)(2)(i)(A) and (B) of this section -

(1) One of the principal purposes of using the contractual obligations is to attempt to permit partners (other than those who are directly or indirectly liable for the obligation) to include a portion of the loan in the basis of their partnership interests; or

(2) Another partner, or a person related to another partner, enters into a payment obligation and a principal purpose of the arrangement is to cause the payment obligation described in paragraphs (j)(2)(i)(A) and (B) of this section to be disregarded under paragraph (b)(3) of this section.

(ii) Economic risk of loss. For purposes of this paragraph (j)(2), partners are considered to bear the economic risk of loss for a liability in accordance with their relative economic burdens for the liability pursuant to the contractual obligations. For example, a lease between a partner and a partnership that is not on commercially reasonable terms may be tantamount to a guarantee by the partner of the partnership liability.

(3) Plan to circumvent or avoid an obligation -

(i) General rule. An obligation of a partner or related person to make a payment is not recognized under paragraph (b) of this section if the facts and circumstances evidence a plan to circumvent or avoid the obligation.

(ii) Factors indicating plan to circumvent or avoid an obligation. In the case of a payment obligation, other than an obligation to restore a deficit capital account upon liquidation of a partnership, paragraphs (j)(3)(ii)(A) through (G) of this section provide a non-exclusive list of factors that may indicate a plan to circumvent or avoid the payment obligation. The presence or absence of a factor is based on all of the facts and circumstances at the time the partner or related person makes the payment obligation or if the obligation is modified, at the time of the modification. For purposes of making determinations under this paragraph (j)(3), the weight to be given to any particular factor depends on the particular case and the presence or absence of a factor is not necessarily indicative of whether a payment obligation is or is not recognized under paragraph (b) of this section.

(A) The partner or related person is not subject to commercially reasonable contractual restrictions that protect the likelihood of payment, including, for example, restrictions on transfers for inadequate consideration or distributions by the partner or related person to equity owners in the partner or related person.

(B) The partner or related person is not required to provide (either at the time the payment obligation is made or periodically) commercially reasonable documentation regarding the partner's or related person's financial condition to the benefited party, including, for example, balance sheets and financial statements.

(C) The term of the payment obligation ends prior to the term of the partnership liability, or the partner or related person has a right to terminate its payment obligation, if the purpose of limiting the duration of the payment obligation is to terminate such payment obligation prior to the occurrence of an event or events that increase the risk of economic loss to the guarantor or benefited party (for example, termination prior to the due date of a balloon payment or a right to terminate that can be exercised because the value of loan collateral decreases). This factor typically will not be present if the termination of the obligation occurs by reason of an event or events that decrease the risk of economic loss to the guarantor or benefited party (for example, the payment obligation terminates upon the completion of a building construction project, upon the leasing of a building, or when certain income and asset coverage ratios are satisfied for a specified number of quarters).

(D) There exists a plan or arrangement in which the primary obligor or any other obligor (or a person related to the obligor) with respect to the partnership liability directly or indirectly holds money or other liquid assets in an amount that exceeds the reasonably foreseeable needs of such obligor (but not taking into account standard commercial insurance, for example, casualty insurance).

(E) The payment obligation does not permit the creditor to promptly pursue payment following a payment default on the partnership liability, or other arrangements with respect to the partnership liability or payment obligation otherwise indicate a plan to delay collection.

(F) In the case of a guarantee or similar arrangement, the terms of the partnership liability would be substantially the same had the partner or related person not agreed to provide the guarantee.

(G) The creditor or other party benefiting from the obligation did not receive executed documents with respect to the payment obligation from the partner or related person before, or within a commercially reasonable period of time after, the creation of the obligation.

(4) Example. The following example illustrates the principles of paragraph (j) of this section.

(i) In 2020, A, B, and C form a domestic limited liability company (LLC) that is classified as a partnership for federal tax purposes. Also in 2020, LLC receives a loan from a bank. A, B, and C do not bear the economic risk of loss with respect to that partnership liability, and, as a result, the liability is treated as nonrecourse under § 1.752-1(a)(2) in 2020. In 2022, A guarantees the entire amount of the liability. The bank did not request the guarantee and the terms of the loan did not change as a result of the guarantee. A did not provide any executed documents with respect to A's guarantee to the bank. The bank also did not require any restrictions on asset transfers by A and no such restrictions exist.

(ii) Under paragraph (j)(3) of this section, A's 2022 guarantee (payment obligation) is not recognized under paragraph (b)(3) of this section if the facts and circumstances evidence a plan to circumvent or avoid the payment obligation. In this case, the following factors indicate a plan to circumvent or avoid A's payment obligation: the partner is not subject to commercially reasonable contractual restrictions that protect the likelihood of payment, such as restrictions on transfers for inadequate consideration or equity distributions; the partner is not required to provide (either at the time the payment obligation is made or periodically) commercially reasonable documentation regarding the partner's or related person's financial condition to the benefited party; in the case of a guarantee or similar arrangement, the terms of the liability are the same as they would have been without the guarantee; and the creditor did not receive executed documents with respect to the payment obligation from the partner or related person at the time the obligation was created. Absent the existence of other facts or circumstances that would weigh in favor of respecting A's guarantee, evidence of a plan to circumvent or avoid the obligation exists and, pursuant to paragraph (j)(3)(i) of this section, A's guarantee is not recognized under paragraph (b) of this section. As a result, LLC's liability continues to be treated as nonrecourse.

(k) No reasonable expectation of payment -

(1) In general. An obligation of any partner or related person to make a payment is not recognized under paragraph (b) of this section if the facts and circumstances indicate that at the time the partnership must determine a partner's share of partnership liabilities under §§ 1.705-1(a) and 1.752-4(d) there is not a commercially reasonable expectation that the payment obligor will have the ability to make the required payments under the terms of the obligation if the obligation becomes due and payable. Facts and circumstances to consider in determining a commercially reasonable expectation of payment include factors a third party creditor would take into account when determining whether to grant a loan. For purposes of this section, a payment obligor includes an entity disregarded as an entity separate from its owner under section 856(i), section 1361(b)(3), or §§ 301.7701-1 through 301.7701-3 of this chapter (a disregarded entity), and a trust to which subpart E of part I of subchapter J of chapter 1 of the Code applies.

(2) Examples. The following examples illustrate the principles of paragraph (k) of this section.

(i) Example 1.Undercapitalization. (A) In 2020, A forms a wholly owned domestic limited liability company, LLC, with a contribution of $100,000. A has no liability for LLC's debts, and LLC has no enforceable right to a contribution from A. Under § 301.7701-3(b)(1)(ii) of this chapter, LLC is treated for federal tax purposes as a disregarded entity. Also in 2020, LLC contributes $100,000 to LP, a limited partnership with a calendar year taxable year, in exchange for a general partnership interest in LP, and B and C each contributes $100,000 to LP in exchange for a limited partnership interest in LP. The partnership agreement provides that only LLC is required to restore any deficit in its capital account. On January 1, 2021, LP borrows $300,000 from a bank and uses $600,000 to purchase nondepreciable property. The $300,000 is secured by the property and is also a general obligation of LP. LP makes payments of only interest on its $300,000 debt during 2021. LP has a net taxable loss in 2021, and, under §§ 1.705-1(a) and 1.752-4(d), LP determines its partners' shares of the $300,000 debt at the end of its taxable year, December 31, 2021. As of that date, LLC holds no assets other than its interest in LP.

(B) Because LLC is a disregarded entity, A is treated as the partner in LP for federal income tax purposes. Only LLC has an obligation to make a payment on account of the $300,000 debt if LP were to constructively liquidate as described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. Therefore, paragraph (k) of this section is applied to the LLC and not to A. LLC has no assets with which to pay if the payment obligation becomes due and payable. Because there is no commercially reasonable expectation that LLC will be able to satisfy its payment obligation, LLC's obligation to restore its deficit capital account is not recognized under paragraph (b) of this section. As a result, LP's $300,000 debt is characterized as nonrecourse under § 1.752-1(a)(2) and is allocated among A, B, and C under § 1.752-3.

(ii) Example 2.Disregarded entity with ability to pay. (A) The facts are the same as in paragraph (k)(2)(i) of this section (Example 1), except LLC also holds real property worth $475,000 subject to a $200,000 liability. Additionally, LLC reasonably projects to earn $20,000 of net rental income per year from such real property.

(B) Because LLC is a disregarded entity, A is treated as the partner in LP for federal income tax purposes. Only LLC has an obligation to make a payment on account of the $300,000 debt if LP were to constructively liquidate as described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. Therefore, paragraph (k) of this section is applied to the LLC and not to A. Because there is a commercially reasonable expectation that LLC will be able to satisfy its payment obligation, LLC's obligation to restore its deficit capital account is recognized under paragraph (b) of this section. As a result, LP's $300,000 debt is characterized as recourse under § 1.752-1(a)(1) and is allocated to A under § 1.752-2.

(l) Applicability dates.

(1) Paragraphs (a) and (h)(3) of this section apply to liabilities incurred or assumed by a partnership on or after October 11, 2006, other than liabilities incurred or assumed by a partnership pursuant to a written binding contract in effect prior to that date. The rules applicable to liabilities incurred or assumed (or pursuant to a written binding contract in effect) prior to October 11, 2006, are contained in § 1.752-2 in effect prior to October 11, 2006, (see 26 CFR part 1 revised as of April 1, 2006). Paragraphs (b)(6), (j)(3) and (4), and (k) of this section apply to liabilities incurred or assumed by a partnership and to payment obligations imposed or undertaken with respect to a partnership liability on or after October 9, 2019, other than liabilities incurred or assumed by a partnership and payment obligations imposed or undertaken pursuant to a written binding contract in effect prior to that date. However, taxpayers may apply paragraphs (b)(6), (j)(3) and (4), and (k) of this section to all of their liabilities as of the beginning of the first taxable year of the partnership ending on or after October 5, 2016. The rules applicable to liabilities incurred or assumed (or pursuant to a written binding contract in effect) prior to October 9, 2019, are contained in § 1.752-2 in effect prior to October 9, 2019, (see 26 CFR part 1 revised as of April 1, 2019).

(2) Paragraphs (b)(3), (f)(10) and (11), and (j)(2) of this section apply to liabilities incurred or assumed by a partnership and payment obligations imposed or undertaken with respect to a partnership liability on or after October 5, 2016, other than liabilities incurred or assumed by a partnership and payment obligations imposed or undertaken pursuant to a written binding contract in effect prior to that date. Partnerships may apply paragraphs (b)(3), (f)(10) and (11), and (j)(2) of this section to all of their liabilities as of the beginning of the first taxable year of the partnership ending on or after October 5, 2016. The rules applicable to liabilities incurred or assumed (or subject to a written binding contract in effect) prior to October 5, 2016, are contained in § 1.752-2 in effect prior to October 5, 2016, (see 26 CFR part 1 revised as of April 1, 2016).

(3) If a partner has a share of a recourse partnership liability under § 1.752-2(a) as a result of bearing the economic risk of loss under § 1.752-2(b) immediately prior to October 5, 2016 (Transition Partner), and such liability is modified or refinanced, the partnership (Transition Partnership) may choose not to apply paragraphs (b)(3), (f)(10) and (11), and (j)(2)(i)(C)(2) of this section to the extent the amount of the Transition Partner's share of liabilities under § 1.752-2(a) as a result of bearing the economic risk of loss under § 1.752-2(b) immediately prior to October 5, 2016, exceeds the amount of the Transition Partner's adjusted basis in its partnership interest as determined under § 1.705-1 at such time (Grandfathered Amount). See also § 1.704-2(g)(3). A liability is modified or refinanced for purposes of this paragraph (l) to the extent that the proceeds of a partnership liability (the refinancing debt) are allocable under the rules of § 1.163-8T to payments discharging all or part of any other liability (pre-modification liability) of that partnership or there is a significant modification of that liability as provided under § 1.1001-3. A Transition Partner that is a partnership, S corporation, or a business entity disregarded as an entity separate from its owner under section 856(i) or 1361(b)(3) or §§ 301.7701-1 through 301.7701-3 of this chapter ceases to qualify as a Transition Partner if the direct or indirect ownership of that Transition Partner changes by 50 percent or more. The Transition Partnership may continue to apply the rules under § 1.752-2 in effect prior to October 5, 2016, with respect to a Transition Partner for payment obligations described in § 1.752-2(b) to the extent of the Transition Partner's adjusted Grandfathered Amount for the seven-year period beginning October 5, 2016. The termination of a Transition Partnership under section 708(b)(1)(B) and applicable regulations prior to January 1, 2018, does not affect the Grandfathered Amount of a Transition Partner that remains a partner in the new partnership (as described in § 1.708-1(b)(4)), and the new partnership is treated as a continuation of the Transition Partnership for purposes of this paragraph (l)(3). However, a Transition Partner's Grandfathered Amount is reduced (not below zero), but never increased by -

(i) Upon the sale of any property by the Transition Partnership, an amount equal to the excess of any gain allocated for federal income tax purposes to the Transition Partner by the Transition Partnership (including amounts allocated under section 704(c) and applicable regulations) over the product of the total amount realized by the Transition Partnership from the property sale multiplied by the Transition Partner's percentage interest in the partnership; and

(ii) An amount equal to any decrease in the Transition Partner's share of liabilities to which the rules of this paragraph (l)(3) apply, other than by operation of paragraph (l)(3)(i) of this section.

[T.D. 8380, 56 FR 66351, Dec. 23, 1991; 57 FR 4913, Feb. 10, 1992; 57 FR 5054, Feb. 12, 1992; 57 FR 5511, Feb. 14, 1992; T.D. 9289, 71 FR 59672, Oct. 11, 2006; T.D. 9788, 81 FR 69288, Oct. 5, 2016; T.D. 9790, 81 FR 72984, Oct. 21, 2016; T.D. 9877, 84 FR 54023, Oct. 9, 2019]