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Proposed Regulations Provide Guidance on the Excise Tax on Stock Repurchases, IR-2024-101; NPRM REG-115710-22; NPRM REG-118499-23

The IRS has issued proposed regulations that would provide guidance on the application of the new excise tax on repurchases of corporate stock made after December 31, 2022 (NPRM REG-115710-22). Another set of proposed rules would provide guidance on the procedure and administration for the excise tax (NPRM REG-118499-23).

Code Sec. 4501 and IRS Guidance

Beginning in 2023, Code Sec. 4501 subjects a covered corporation to an excise tax equal to one percent of the fair market value of its stock that is repurchased by the corporation during the tax year. A covered corporation for this purpose is any domestic corporation the stock of which is traded on an established securities market.

Repurchase includes stock redemptions and economically similar transactions as determined by the IRS. The amount of repurchase subject to the tax is reduced by the value of new stock issued to the public or employees during the year. Repurchase of the covered corporation’s stock by its specified affiliate (a more-than-50-percent owned domestic subsidiary or partnership) also subjects the covered corporation to the excise tax.

The excise tax does not apply if the total amount of stock repurchases during the year is less than $1 million and in certain other situations.

Notice 2023-2, 2023-3 I.R.B. 374, provides initial guidance regarding the application of the excise tax. It describes rules expected to be provided in forthcoming proposed regulations for determining the amount of stock repurchase excise tax owed, along with anticipated rules for reporting and paying any liability for the tax.

Proposed Operative Rules under Code Sec. 4501 (NPRM REG-115710-22)

The proposed regulations would provide general rules regarding the application and computation of the stock repurchase excise tax, the statutory exceptions, and the application of Code Sec. 4501(d). Specifically, the proposed regulations would provide guidance addressing the following:

Applicability Dates of Proposed Operative Rules

The proposed regulations, other than the proposed regulations under Code Sec. 4501(d), would generally apply to repurchases of stock of a covered corporation occurring after December 31, 2022, and during tax years ending after December 31, 2022, and to issuances and provisions of stock of a covered corporation occurring during tax years ending after December 31, 2022. However, certain rules that were not described in Notice 2023-2 would apply to repurchases, issuances, or provisions of stock of a covered corporation occurring after April 12, 2024, and during tax years ending after April 12, 2024.

Except as described below, so long as a covered corporation consistently follows the provisions of the proposed regulations, the covered corporation may rely on these proposed regulations with respect to (1) repurchases of stock of the covered corporation occurring after December 31, 2022, and on or before the date of publication of final regulations in the Federal Register, and (2) issuances and provisions of stock of the covered corporation occurring during tax years ending after December 31, 2022, and on or before the date of publication of final regulations in the Federal Register.

In addition, so long as a covered corporation consistently follows the provisions of Notice 2023-2 corresponding to the rules in the proposed regulations, the covered corporation may choose to rely on Notice 2023-2 with respect to (1) repurchases of stock of a covered corporation occurring after December 31, 2022, and on or before April 12, 2024, and (2) issuances and provisions of stock of a covered corporation occurring during taxable years ending after December 31, 2022, and on or before April 12, 2024.

A covered corporation that relies on the provisions of Notice 2023-2 corresponding to the proposed rules with respect to (1) repurchases occurring after December 31, 2022, and on or before April 12, 2024, and (2) issuances and provisions of stock of a covered corporation occurring during tax years ending after December 31, 2022, and on or before April 12, 2024, may also choose to rely on the provisions of the proposed regulations with respect to (1) repurchases occurring after April 12, 2024, and on or before the date of publication of final regulations in the Federal Register, and (2) issuances and provisions of stock of a covered corporation occurring after April 12, 2024, and on or before the date of publication of final regulations in the Federal Register.

Special applicability dates are provided for the proposed rules under Code Sec. 4501(d).

Rules Regarding Procedure and Administration (NPRM REG-118499-23)

The IRS has also proposed regulations with guidance on the manner and method of reporting and paying the stock repurchase excise tax. These proposed regulations provide requirements for return and recordkeeping, the time and place for filing the return and paying the tax, and tax return preparers.

Consistent with Notice 2023-2, the proposed regulations add rules on procedure and administration in proposed subpart B of the proposed Stock Repurchase Excise Tax Regulations (26 CFR part 58) under Code Secs. 6001, 6011, 6060, 6061, 6065, 6071, 6091, 6107, 6109, 6151, 6694, 6695, and 6696.

In addition to requiring the excise tax to be reported on IRS Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return, the proposed regulations include items relevant to tax forms other than Form 720 (such as Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return, and Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income) to assist in identifying transactions subject to the tax.

Applicability Date of Proposed Procedural Rules

Proposed Reg. §58.6001-1 would be applicable to repurchases, adjustments, or exceptions required to be shown in any stock repurchase excise tax return required to be filed after the date of publication of final regulations in the Federal Register.

The rest of the proposed regulations would be applicable to stock repurchase excise tax returns and claims for refund required to be filed after the date of publication of final regulations in the Federal Register.

Effect on Other Documents

Notice 2023-2, 2023-3 I.R.B. 374, is obsoleted for repurchases, issuances, and provisions of stock of a covered corporation occurring after April 12, 2024.

Requests for Comments

Written or electronic comments and requests for a public hearing with respect to the proposed operative rules must be received by the date that is 60 days after April 12, 2024, the date of publication in the Federal Register. Comments and requests for a public hearing on the proposed procedural rules must be received by the date that is 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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