The Inflation Discount Act imposes a 1% excise tax on sure repurchases of inventory of publicly traded US firms (“Lined Firms”) effected after December 31, 2022 (the “Excise Tax”). On December 27, 2022, the Division of the Treasury (“Treasury”) and the IRS issued Notice 2023-2 (the “Discover”), offering interim steering on the Excise Tax. The Excise Tax usually applies to the truthful market worth of inventory repurchased in a taxable yr, internet of the truthful market worth of inventory issued in the identical taxable yr, with sure modifications. The Discover pronounces that proposed rules addressing the Excise Tax are forthcoming and that taxpayers might depend on the Discover till such rules are issued. This submit highlights key steering from the Discover because it pertains to widespread M&A and capital market transactions.
Utility of the Excise Tax to M&A and capital market transactions
The Discover confirms that the Excise Tax might apply to transactions that aren’t conventionally thought to be inventory buybacks, whereas additionally exempting sure transactions from the Excise Tax.
Acquisitive tax-free reorganizations and different tax-free company transactions
The Excise Tax applies to the extent of “boot” (money, sure most well-liked inventory and different non-stock property) acquired by a Lined Company’s stockholders in sure acquisitive tax-free merger and asset reorganizations underneath Part 368(a) of the Code the place the goal is a Lined Company – together with tax-free ahead and reverse subsidiary mergers – in addition to in sure different tax-free transactions involving Lined Firms (together with split-offs, recapitalizations and “F” reorganizations). The willpower of whether or not the Excise Tax applies to an acquisitive tax-free reorganization is made with out regard as to if the “boot” is sourced by the acquirer or the Lined Company and with out regard as to if the acquirer is a Lined Company. An acquisition of a Lined Company pursuant to a tax-free reorganization by which the Lined Company’s stockholders obtain solely acquirer inventory (apart from sure most well-liked inventory) mustn’t set off the Excise Tax. A tax-free spinoff structured as a distribution on the Lined Company’s inventory (versus involving an trade of the Lined Company’s inventory), or a split-off pursuant to which a Lined Company’s stockholders trade their Lined Company inventory solely for inventory of a “managed company” of the Lined Company, likewise mustn’t set off the Excise Tax.
Money paid in lieu of fractional shares
Money paid by a Lined Company in lieu of a fractional share in a tax-free reorganization underneath Part 368(a) of the Code, or pursuant to the settlement of an possibility, convertible be aware or comparable instrument, usually won’t be handled as a repurchase topic to the Excise Tax.
A whole liquidation of a Lined Company (apart from to minority house owners of a Lined Company that has an 80% or better company shareholder), in addition to distributions by such a Lined Company through the taxable yr of its liquidation (whether or not or not pursuant to the plan of liquidation), are usually not topic to the Excise Tax. As mentioned in a September 2022 Cooley blog post, earlier than the Discover there was concern that the Excise Tax would possibly apply to the liquidation of a US particular objective acquisition firm (SPAC) that doesn’t consummate a deSPAC transaction. The Discover supplies important consolation on this level however sadly doesn’t deal with a technical query as as to if the exemption nonetheless applies if a number of shareholders don’t obtain quantities pursuant to the liquidation (e.g., as a result of SPAC sponsor shares are forfeited and never entitled to obtain any distributions upon liquidation).
As mentioned within the beforehand talked about September 2022 Cooley weblog submit, repurchases by a US SPAC pursuant to the train by SPAC stockholders of their redemption rights are taken under consideration for functions of the Excise Tax, however issuances of SPAC inventory in the identical taxable yr (e.g., SPAC inventory issued in a personal funding in public fairness financing or in a deSPAC transaction) would scale back the Excise Tax underneath the “netting rule.” The Discover doesn’t lengthen the netting rule to deSPAC transactions the place goal shareholders don’t obtain SPAC inventory (e.g., in “UP-C,” “double dummy,” or “goal on prime” buildings) or to circumstances the place the inventory issuances don’t happen in the identical taxable yr because the related inventory repurchases. Non-US SPACs that don’t cultivate to the US usually shouldn’t be topic to the Excise Tax. Though redemptions effected earlier than a non-US SPAC domesticates to the US upfront of a deSPAC don’t look like topic to the Excise Tax, the Discover doesn’t present steering on this truth sample.
Leveraged buyouts and different taxable acquisitions funded by a goal
A taxable acquisition of a Lined Company that’s funded in complete or partly by the Lined Company’s money, or a leveraged buyout of a Lined Company that’s financed with the Lined Company’s debt (together with debt of a merger subsidiary that’s assumed by a Lined Company in a taxable reverse subsidiary merger), will likely be handled as a inventory repurchase topic to the Excise Tax. A taxable acquisition of a Lined Company that’s financed fully with acquirer money or debt usually won’t implicate the Excise Tax. Observe that taxable acquisitions are handled extra favorably than the tax-free acquisitions described above insofar as all money acquired by the Lined Company’s shareholders within the tax-free acquisition is topic to the Excise Tax, whereas in a taxable acquisition solely the money that’s sourced to the Lined Company is topic to the Excise Tax.
Redeemable most well-liked inventory
A repurchase of mandatorily redeemable most well-liked inventory of a Lined Company (together with any such inventory issued earlier than January 1, 2023) is a repurchase for functions of the Excise Tax, no matter whether or not the repurchased inventory is itself publicly traded.
Part 304(a)(1) transactions
A deemed distribution in redemption of inventory in a “brother-sister” inventory buy by which inventory of 1 company is acquired by one other company (apart from a subsidiary) the place each firms are underneath widespread shareholder management won’t be handled as a repurchase topic to the Excise Tax.
Repurchases handled as dividends
Inventory repurchases by a Lined Company which are handled as “dividends” for US federal revenue tax functions are excepted from the Excise Tax. There’s a rebuttable presumption underneath the Discover, nevertheless, that such exception doesn’t apply. The presumption will be overcome solely with enough proof of dividend remedy, together with sure shareholder certifications, which can be administratively troublesome to acquire.
Publicly traded non-US firms
Repurchases of inventory of publicly traded non-US firms by their US associates, in addition to repurchases funded by any means by such US associates (together with via distributions, debt or capital contributions) if such funding is undertaken with a principal objective of avoiding the Excise Tax, usually will set off the Excise Tax, topic to a extra restricted utility of the netting rule for inventory issued or offered by the US affiliate to its staff. Below a “per se” rule, such a principal objective is deemed to exist if the US affiliate funds the publicly traded non-US company or its different US associates (apart from by distributions), and the funded entity repurchases or acquires inventory of the publicly traded non-US company inside two years. Below a particular applicability date, the funding guidelines apply to repurchases and acquisitions of inventory made after December 31, 2022, which are funded on or after December 27, 2022.
Calculation of the Excise Tax and the “netting rule”
The Excise Tax is imposed on: (x) the mixture truthful market worth of all inventory repurchases decreased by (y) the sum of (i) the mixture truthful market worth of excepted inventory repurchases and (ii) the mixture truthful market worth of inventory issuances, in every case, by the Lined Company in a specific taxable yr. A Lined Company shouldn’t be topic to the Excise Tax if the mixture truthful market worth of all inventory repurchases (earlier than netting out excepted inventory repurchases and inventory issuances) doesn’t exceed $1 million. Together with clarifying the sorts of transactions which may be handled as a repurchase for functions of the Excise Tax, the Discover identifies sure exempt repurchases, restricts the sorts of inventory issuances that may scale back the tax base in opposition to which the Excise Tax is utilized and supplies a framework for calculating the worth of inventory repurchased and issued.
Even when a Lined Company points extra shares than it repurchases in a taxable yr, timing and valuation variations can stop the netting rule from eliminating its Excise Tax legal responsibility. The Discover supplies that inventory is handled as “repurchased” and “issued” on the time at which possession transfers for US federal revenue tax functions or, for transactions which are “economically comparable” to a redemption, on the time the inventory is exchanged. For inventory exchanged or issued in an M&A transaction, this usually would be the “deadline.” For functions of the Excise Tax calculation, the “truthful market worth” of the repurchased or issued inventory is its truthful market worth on the date of repurchase or issuance, as relevant, with out regard to the quantity paid or acquired for the inventory. The Discover accommodates acceptable methodologies for valuing publicly traded and nonpublicly traded inventory and supplies particular guidelines relevant to figuring out the timing and truthful market worth of inventory issued to staff.
Annual reporting and fee
The Excise Tax is a legal responsibility of the Lined Company, shouldn’t be deductible by the Lined Company and can’t be offset by losses or different tax property of the Lined Company. The Excise Tax is required to be reported as soon as per taxable yr on IRS Kind 720, the Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return, which is due for the primary full quarter after the shut of the Lined Company’s taxable yr. The fee deadline is similar because the submitting deadline, and no extensions are permitted.
The Discover leaves open a lot of questions, and Treasury and the IRS have requested feedback on the applying of the Excise Tax to, amongst different issues:
- Redeemable most well-liked inventory and different particular courses of inventory or debt (together with convertible debt).
- A company that’s not a Lined Company for its complete taxable yr.
- Bankrupt or troubled corporations.
- Monetary preparations, equivalent to choices, that will keep away from the Excise Tax.
 All references to the “Code” are to the Inside Income Code of 1986, as amended. The relevant acquisitive reorganizations are sort “A” reorganizations (together with ahead subsidiary “(a)(2)(D)” mergers and reverse subsidiary “(a)(2)(E)” mergers), sort “C” reorganizations and acquisitive sort “D” reorganizations.
 The Excise Tax is mentioned in these prior Cooley publications – Tax Implications of the Inflation Reduction Act and Did the Inflation Reduction Act Create a SPAC Tax?