Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Loan Premium Not Liability

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Loan Premium Not Liability

Article excerpt

Many taxpayers have been able to reduce their taxes in transactions involving contingent liabilities, leading Congress to change subchapter C and the Treasury Department to change the regulations under IRC section 752. In July 2006, a district court reviewed the definition of a liability and Treasury's ability to make regulations retroactive and ruled in favor of the taxpayer.

St. Croix Ventures and Rogue Ventures, single-member LLCs, each borrowed $41.7 million from a bank at 17.97% interest. They each received the principal and a $25 million "loan premium" in exchange for the above-market interest rate. The loans required interest for seven years and repayment of principal at the end of the period. The LLCs agreed to pay a declining penalty if they repaid the loans early Each LLC invested its total amount, $66.7 million, in Klamath LLC and Kinabalu LLC, respectively, for 90% partnership interests. The partnerships assumed the debt. Several months later, St. Croix and Rogue withdrew from the partnerships. The partnerships repaid the debt and distributed cash to the LLCs. The IRS classified the $25 million loan premium as a liability; the taxpayer disagreed.

Result. The court first decided whether the loan premium was a liability for purposes of IRC section 752. At the time of this transaction, in 2000, the regulation did not define a liability Prior cases--Helmer v. Commissioner and Long v. Commissioner held that contingent liabilities are not liabilities for purposes of section 752. A contingent liability is one that is not fixed; it does not become a liability until it becomes fixed or liquidated. Since the loan premium was not repayable unless the loan was prepaid, and that event was not certain to occur, the loan premium was contingent and not a liability

The government also argued the contingent amounts had to be classified as liabilities to maintain the equality of inside and outside basis. The court acknowledged that much of partnership taxation is designed to maintain this equality However, it does not always exist. …

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