Tax liability -
(1) In general. “Tax liability” for purposes of the regular and ESOP credit and carrybacks of nonrefundable energy credit to a taxable year ending before October 1, 1978, means the liability for tax as defined in section 46(a)(4). For ordering of regular, ESOP, and nonrefundable energy credits, see paragraph (m) of this section. In addition to taxes excluded under section 46(a)(4), tax liability does not include tax resulting from recapture of credit under section 47 and the alternative minimum tax imposed by section 55. See sections 47(c) and 55(c)(1).
(2) Certain nonrefundable energy credit. For a taxable year ending after September 30, 1978, “tax liability” for purposes of the nonrefundable energy credit is liability for tax, as defined in section 46(a)(4) and paragraph (j)(1) of this section, reduced by the regular and ESOP credit allowed for the taxable year. Thus, carrybacks of regular or ESOP credit to a taxable year may displace nonrefundable energy carryovers or credit earned taken into account in that year. However, carrybacks of regular, ESOP, or nonrefundable energy credit do not affect refundable energy credit which is treated as an overpayment of tax under section 6401(b). See paragraph (k) of this section.
(k) Special rule for refundable energy credit. The amount of the refundable energy credit is determined under the rules of section 46 (other than section 46(a)(3)). However, to permit the refund, the refundable energy credit for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code (other than section 38, part IVB, and chapter 63 of the Code) is treated as allowed by section 39 and not by section 38. The refundable credit is not applied against tax liability for purposes of determining the tax liability limitation for other investment credits. Rather, it is treated as an overpayment of tax under section 6401(b).
(l) FIFO rule. If the credit available for a taxable year is not allowed in full because of the tax liability limitation, special rules determine the order in which credits are applied. Under the first-in-first-out rule of section 46(a)(1) (FIFO), carryovers are applied against the tax liability limitation first. To the extent the tax liability limitation exceeds carryovers, credit earned, and carrybacks are then applied.
(m) Special ordering rule -
(1) In general. Under section 46(a)(10)(A), the FIFO rule applies separately -
(i) First, with respect to regular and ESOP credits, and
(ii) Second, with respect to nonrefundable energy credit.
(2) Regular and ESOP credit. Under § 1.46-8(c)(9)(ii), regular and ESOP credits available are applied in the following order:
(i) Regular carryovers;
(ii) ESOP carryovers;
(iii) Regular credit earned;
(iv) ESOP credit earned;
(v) Regular carrybacks; and
(vi) ESOP carrybacks.
(3) Example. For an example of the order of application of regular and ESOP credits, see § 1.46-8(c)(9)(iii).
(n) Examples. The following examples illustrate paragraphs (a) through (m) of this section.
(c) The regular carryovers and credit earned are allowed in full. However, only $13,000 of the regular carryback is allowed for 1979. The remaining $2,000 must be carried to the next year to which it may be carried under section 46(b).