26 CFR § 1.861-12 - Characterization rules and adjustments for certain assets.

§ 1.861-12 Characterization rules and adjustments for certain assets.

(a) In general. The rules in this section apply to taxpayers apportioning expenses under an asset method to income in the various separate categories described in § 1.904-5(a)(4)(v), and supplement other rules provided in §§ 1.861-9 through 1.861-11T. The principles of the rules in this section also apply in apportioning expenses among statutory and residual groupings for any other operative section. See also § 1.861-8(f)(2)(i) for a rule requiring conformity of allocation methods and apportionment principles for all operative sections. Paragraph (b) of this section describes the treatment of inventories. Paragraph (c)(1) of this section concerns the treatment of various stock assets. Paragraph (c)(2) of this section describes a basis adjustment for stock in 10 percent owned corporations. Paragraph (c)(3) of this section sets forth rules for characterizing the stock in controlled foreign corporations. Paragraph (c)(4) of this section describes the treatment of stock of noncontrolled 10-percent owned foreign corporations. Paragraph (d)(1) of this section concerns the treatment of notes. Paragraph (d)(2) of this section concerns the treatment of notes of controlled foreign corporations. Paragraph (e) of this section describes the treatment of certain portfolio securities that constitute inventory or generate income primarily in the form of gains. Paragraph (f) of this section describes the treatment of assets that are funded by interest that is capitalized, deferred, or disallowed. Paragraph (g) of this section concerns the treatment of FSC stock and of assets of the related supplier generating foreign trade income. Paragraph (h) of this section concerns the treatment of DISC stock and of assets of the related supplier generating qualified export receipts.

(b) Inventories. For further guidance, see § 1.861-12T(b).

(c) Treatment of stock -

(1) In general. For further guidance, see § 1.861-12T(c)(1).

(2) Basis adjustment for stock in 10 percent owned corporations -

(i) Taxpayers using the tax book value method -

(A) General rule. For purposes of apportioning expenses on the basis of the tax book value of assets, the adjusted basis of any stock in a 10 percent owned corporation owned by the taxpayer either directly or indirectly through a partnership or other pass-through entity (after taking into account the adjustments described in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B)(1) of this section) shall be -

(1) Increased by the amount of the earnings and profits of such corporation (and of lower-tier 10 percent owned corporations) attributable to such stock and accumulated during the period the taxpayer or other members of its affiliated group held 10 percent or more of such stock; or

(2) Reduced by any deficit in earnings and profits of such corporation (and of lower-tier 10 percent owned corporations) attributable to such stock for such period; or

(3) Zero, if after application of paragraphs (c)(2)(i)(A)(1) and (2) of this section, the adjusted basis of the stock is less than zero.

(B) Computational rules -

(1) Adjustments to basis -

(i) Application of section 961 or 1293(d). For purposes of this section, a taxpayer's adjusted basis in the stock of a foreign corporation does not include any amount included in basis under section 961 or 1293(d) of the Code.

(ii) Application of section 965(b). For purposes of this section, if a taxpayer owned the stock of a specified foreign corporation (as defined in § 1.965-1(f)(45)) as of the close of the last taxable year of the specified foreign corporation that began before January 1, 2018, the taxpayer's adjusted basis in the stock of the specified foreign corporation for that taxable year and any subsequent taxable year is determined as if the taxpayer did not make the election described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(i) (regardless of whether the election was actually made) and is further adjusted as described in this paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B)(1)(ii). If § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(B) applied (or would have applied if the election had been made) with respect to the stock of a specified foreign corporation, the taxpayer's adjusted basis in the stock of the specified foreign corporation is reduced by the amount described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(B)(1) (without regard to the rule for limited basis adjustments in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(B)(2) and the limitation in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(C), and without regard to the rules regarding the netting of basis adjustments in § 1.965-2(h)(2)). The reduction in the taxpayer's adjusted basis in the stock may reduce the taxpayer's adjusted basis in the stock below zero prior to the application of paragraphs (c)(2)(i)(A)(1) and (2) of this section. No adjustment is made in the taxpayer's adjusted basis in the stock of a specified foreign corporation for an amount described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(A). To the extent that, in an exchange described in section 351, 354, or 356, a taxpayer receives stock of a foreign corporation in exchange for stock of a specified foreign corporation described in this paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B)(1)(ii), this paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B)(1)(ii) applies to such stock received.

(2) Amount of earnings and profits. For purposes of this paragraph (c)(2), earnings and profits (or deficits) are computed under the rules of section 312 and, in the case of a foreign corporation, sections 964(a) and 986 for taxable years of the 10 percent owned corporation ending on or before the close of the taxable year of the taxpayer. Accordingly, the earnings and profits of a controlled foreign corporation include all earnings and profits described in section 959(c). The amount of the earnings and profits with respect to stock of a foreign corporation held by the taxpayer is determined according to the attribution principles of section 1248 and the regulations under section 1248. The attribution principles of section 1248 apply without regard to the requirements of section 1248 that are not relevant to the determination of a shareholder's pro rata portion of earnings and profits, such as whether earnings and profits (or deficits) were derived (or incurred) during taxable years beginning before or after December 31, 1962.

(3) Annual noncumulative adjustment. The adjustment required by paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A) of this section is made annually and is noncumulative. Thus, the adjusted basis of the stock (determined without regard to prior years' adjustments under paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A) of this section) is adjusted annually by the amount of accumulated earnings and profits (or deficits) attributable to the stock as of the end of each year.

(4) Translation of non-dollar functional currency earnings and profits. Earnings and profits (or deficits) of a qualified business unit that has a functional currency other than the dollar must be computed under this paragraph (c)(2) in functional currency and translated into dollars using the exchange rate at the end of the taxpayer's current taxable year (and not the exchange rates for the years in which the earnings and profits or deficits were derived or incurred).

(C) Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section.

(1) Example 1: No election described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(i) -

(i) Facts. USP, a domestic corporation, owns all of the stock of CFC1 and CFC2, both controlled foreign corporations. USP, CFC1, and CFC2 all use the calendar year as their U.S. taxable year. USP owned CFC1 and CFC2 as of December 31, 2017, and CFC1 and CFC2 were specified foreign corporations with respect to USP. USP's basis in each share of stock of each of CFC1 and CFC2 is identical. USP did not make the election described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(i), but if USP had made the election, § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(B) would have applied to the stock of CFC2 and the amount described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(B)(1) (without regard to the rule for limited basis adjustments in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(B)(2) and without regard to the rules regarding the netting of basis adjustments in § 1.965-2(h)(2)) with respect to the stock of CFC2, in aggregate, is $75x. For purposes of determining the value of the stock of CFC1 and CFC2 at the beginning of the 2019 taxable year, without regard to amounts included in basis under section 961 or 1293(d), USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC1 is $100x and its adjusted basis in the stock of CFC2 is $350x (before the application of paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B) of this section).

(ii) Analysis. Under paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B)(1)(ii) of this section, USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC1 is determined as if USP did not make the election described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(i). USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC2 is then reduced by $75x, the amount described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(B)(1), without regard to the rule for limited basis adjustments in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(B)(2) and without regard to the rules regarding the netting of basis adjustments in § 1.965-2(h)(2). No adjustment is made to USP's adjusted basis in the stock in CFC1. Accordingly, for purposes of determining the value of stock of CFC1 and CFC2 at the beginning of the 2019 taxable year, USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC1 is $100x and USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC2 is $275x ($350x−$75x).

(2) Example 2: Election described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(i) -

(i) Facts. USP, a domestic corporation, owns all of the stock of CFC1, which owns all of the stock of CFC2, both controlled foreign corporations. USP, CFC1, and CFC2 all use the calendar year as their U.S. taxable year. USP owned CFC1, and CFC1 owned CFC2 as of December 31, 2017, and CFC1 and CFC2 were specified foreign corporations with respect to USP. USP's basis in each share of stock of CFC1 is identical. USP made the election described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(i). As a result of the election, USP was required to increase its basis in the stock of CFC1 by $90x under § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(A)(1), and to decrease its basis in the stock of CFC1 by $90x under § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(B)(1). Pursuant to § 1.965-2(h)(2), USP netted the increase of $90x against the decrease of $90x and made no net adjustment to the basis in the stock of CFC1. For purposes of determining the value of the stock of CFC1 at the beginning of the 2019 taxable year, without regard to amounts included in basis under section 961 or 1293(d), USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC1 is $600x (before the application of paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B) of this section).

(ii) Analysis. Under paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B)(1)(ii) of this section, USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC1 is determined as if USP did not make the election described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(i). While USP made the election, no adjustment was made to the stock of CFC1 as a result of the election. However, USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC1 is then reduced by $90x, the amount described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(B)(1), without regard to the rules regarding the netting of basis described in § 1.965-2(h)(2). No adjustment is made to USP's basis in the stock of CFC1 for the amount described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(ii)(A)(1). Accordingly, for purposes of determining the value of stock of CFC1 at the beginning of the 2019 taxable year, USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC1 is $510x ($600x−$90x).

(3) Example 3: Adjusted basis below zero -

(i) Facts. The facts are the same as in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(C)(1)(i) of this section (the facts in Example 1), except that for purposes of determining the value of the stock of CFC2 at the beginning of the 2019 taxable year, without regard to amounts included in basis under section 961 or 1293(d), USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC2 is $0 (before the application of paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B) of this section). Additionally, the adjusted basis of USP in the stock of CFC1 and CFC2 at the end of the 2019 taxable year is the same as at the beginning of that year, and as of the end of the 2019 taxable year, CFC1 has earnings and profits of $25x and CFC2 has earnings and profits of $50x that are attributable to the stock owned by USP and accumulated during the period that USP held the stock of CFC1 and CFC2.

(ii) Analysis. The analysis is the same as in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(C)(1)(ii) of this section (the analysis in Example 1) except that for purposes of determining the value of stock of CFC1 and CFC2 at the beginning of the 2019 taxable year, USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC2 is −$75x ($0−$75x). Because USP's basis in the stock of CFC1 and CFC2 is the same at the end of the 2019 taxable year, prior to the application of the adjustments in paragraphs (c)(2)(i)(A)(1) and (2) of this section, USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC1 is $100x and USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC2 is −$75x. Under paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A)(1) of this section, for purposes of apportioning expenses on the basis of the tax book value of assets, USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC1 is $125x ($100x + $25x). Under paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A)(3) of this section, for purposes of apportioning expenses on the basis of the tax book value of assets, USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC2 is $0 because after applying paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A)(1) of this section, USP's adjusted basis in the stock of CFC2 is less than zero (−$75x + $50x).

(4) Example 4: Election described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(i) and adjusted basis below zero -

(i) Facts. The facts are the same as in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(C)(3)(i) of this section (the facts in Example 3), except that USP made the election described in § 1.965-2(f)(2)(i) and, as result, recognized $75x of gain under § 1.965-2(h)(3).

(ii) Analysis. The analysis is the same as in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(C)(3)(ii) of this section (the analysis in Example 3).

(2)

(ii)-(vi) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.861-12T(c)(2)(ii) through (c)(2)(vi).

(3) Characterization of stock of controlled foreign corporations -

(i) Operative sections -

(A) Operative sections other than section 904. For purposes of applying this section to an operative section other than section 904, stock in a controlled foreign corporation (as defined in section 957) is characterized as an asset in the relevant groupings on the basis of the asset method described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section, or the modified gross income method described in paragraph (c)(3)(iii) of this section. Stock in a controlled foreign corporation whose interest expense is apportioned on the basis of assets is characterized in the hands of its United States shareholders under the asset method described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section. Stock in a controlled foreign corporation whose interest expense is apportioned on the basis of modified gross income is characterized in the hands of its United States shareholders under the modified gross income method described in paragraph (c)(3)(iii) of this section.

(B) Section 904 as operative section. For purposes of applying this section to section 904 as the operative section, § 1.861-13 applies to characterize the stock of a controlled foreign corporation as an asset producing foreign source income in the separate categories described in § 1.904-5(a)(4)(v), or as an asset producing U.S. source income in the residual grouping, in the hands of the United States shareholder, and to determine the portion of the stock that gives rise to an inclusion under section 951A(a) that is treated as an exempt asset under § 1.861-8(d)(2)(ii)(C). Section 1.861-13 also provides rules for subdividing the stock in the various separate categories and the residual grouping into a section 245A subgroup and a non-section 245A subgroup in order to determine the amount of the adjustments required by section 904(b)(4) and § 1.904(b)-3(c) with respect to the section 245A subgroup, and provides rules for determining the portion of the stock that gives rise to a dividend eligible for a deduction under section 245(a)(5) that is treated as an exempt asset under § 1.861-8(d)(2)(ii)(B).

(ii) Asset method. For further guidance, see § 1.861-12T(c)(3)(ii).

(iii) Modified gross income method. Under the modified gross income method, the taxpayer characterizes the tax book value of the stock of the first-tier controlled foreign corporation based on the gross income, net of interest expense, of the controlled foreign corporation (as computed under § 1.861-9T(j) to include certain gross income, net of interest expense, of lower-tier controlled foreign corporations) within each relevant category for the taxable year of the controlled foreign corporation ending with or within the taxable year of the taxpayer. For purposes of this paragraph (c)(3)(iii), however, the gross income, net of interest expense, of the first-tier controlled foreign corporation includes the total amount of gross subpart F income, net of interest expense, of any lower-tier controlled foreign corporation that was excluded under the rules of § 1.861-9(j)(2)(ii)(B).

(4) Characterization of stock of noncontrolled 10-percent owned foreign corporations -

(i) In general. Except in the case of a nonqualifying shareholder described in paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section, the principles of § 1.861-12(c)(3), including the relevant rules of § 1.861-13 when section 904 is the operative section, apply to characterize stock in a noncontrolled 10-percent owned foreign corporation (as defined in section 904(d)(2)(E)). Accordingly, stock in a noncontrolled 10-percent owned foreign corporation is characterized as an asset in the various separate categories on the basis of either the asset method described in § 1.861-12T(c)(3)(ii) or the modified gross income method described in § 1.861-12(c)(3)(iii). Stock in a noncontrolled 10-percent owned foreign corporation the interest expense of which is apportioned on the basis of assets is characterized in the hands of its shareholders under the asset method described in § 1.861-12T(c)(3)(ii). Stock in a noncontrolled 10-percent owned foreign corporation the interest expense of which is apportioned on the basis of gross income is characterized in the hands of its shareholders under the modified gross income method described in § 1.861-12(c)(3)(iii).

(ii) Nonqualifying shareholders. Stock in a noncontrolled 10-percent owned foreign corporation is characterized as a passive category asset in the hands of a shareholder that either is not a domestic corporation or is not a United States shareholder with respect to the noncontrolled 10-percent owned foreign corporation for the taxable year. Stock in a noncontrolled 10-percent owned foreign corporation is characterized as in the separate category described in section 904(d)(4)(C)(ii) in the hands of any shareholder with respect to whom look-through treatment is not substantiated. See also § 1.904-5(c)(4)(iii)(B). In the case of a noncontrolled 10-percent owned foreign corporation that is a passive foreign investment company with respect to a shareholder, stock in the noncontrolled 10-percent owned foreign corporation is characterized as a passive category asset in the hands of the shareholder if such shareholder does not meet the ownership requirements described in section 904(d)(2)(E)(i)(II).

(d) Treatment of notes -

(1) General rule. For further guidance, see § 1.861-12T(d)(1).

(2) Characterization of related controlled foreign corporation notes. The debt of a controlled foreign corporation is characterized in the same manner as the interest income derived from that debt obligation. See §§ 1.904-4 and 1.904-5(c)(2) for rules treating interest income as income in a separate category.

(e) Portfolio securities that constitute inventory or generate primarily gains. For further guidance, see § 1.861-12T(e) through (i).

(f)-(j) [Reserved]

(k) Applicability date. This section applies to taxable years that both begin after December 31, 2017, and end on or after December 4, 2018. Paragraphs (c)(2)(i)(A) and (c)(2)(i)(B)(1)(ii) of this section also apply to the last taxable year of a foreign corporation that begins before January 1, 2018, and with respect to a United States person, the taxable year in which or with which such taxable year of the foreign corporation ends.

[T.D. 9452, 74 FR 27874, June 11, 2009, as amended by T.D. 9866, 84 FR 29335, June 21, 2019; T.D. 9882, 84 FR 69069, Dec. 17, 2019]