|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 424B5 on 12/01/2017|
In rendering its opinion, Sidley Austin LLP has relied on factual representations made by us and our general partner. The representations made by us and our general partner upon which Sidley Austin LLP has relied include:
(a) Neither we nor EPO has elected or will elect to be treated as a corporation; and
(b) For each taxable year, more than 90% of our gross income has been and will be income that Sidley Austin LLP has opined or will opine is qualifying income within the meaning of Section 7704(d) of the Internal Revenue Code.
We believe that these representations have been true in the past and expect that these representations will continue to be true in the future.
If we fail to meet the Qualifying Income Exception, other than a failure that is determined by the IRS to be inadvertent and that is cured within a reasonable time after discovery (in which case the IRS may also require us to make adjustments with respect to our unitholders or pay other amounts), we will be treated as if we had transferred all of our assets, subject to liabilities, to a newly formed corporation, on the first day of the year in which we fail to meet the Qualifying Income Exception, in return for stock in that corporation, and then distributed that stock to the unitholders in liquidation of their interests in us. This deemed contribution and liquidation should be tax-free to unitholders and us except to the extent that our liabilities exceed the tax basis of our assets at that time. Thereafter, we would be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
The present federal income tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships, including us, or an investment in our common units may be modified by administrative or legislative action or judicial interpretation at any time. For example, from time to time, the President and members of the U.S. Congress propose and consider substantive changes to the existing federal income tax laws that affect publicly traded partnerships. We are unable to predict whether any such changes will ultimately be enacted. However, it is possible that a change in law could affect us and may be applied retroactively. Any such changes could negatively impact the value of an investment in our units.
In addition, on January 24, 2017, final regulations regarding which activities give rise to qualifying income within the meaning of Section 7704 of the Code were published in the Federal Register. We do not believe these final regulations affect our ability to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
If we were taxable as a corporation in any taxable year, either as a result of a failure to meet the Qualifying Income Exception or otherwise, our items of income, gain, loss and deduction would be reflected only on our tax return rather than being passed through to the unitholders, and our net income would be taxed to us at corporate rates. If we were taxable as a corporation, losses we recognized would not flow through to our unitholders. In addition, any distribution made by us to a unitholder would be treated as (i) taxable dividend income, to the extent of current or accumulated earnings and profits, then (ii) a nontaxable return of capital, to the extent of the unitholders tax basis in his common units, and thereafter (iii) taxable capital gain from the sale of such common units. Accordingly, taxation of us as a corporation would result in a material reduction in a unitholders cash flow and after-tax return and thus would likely result in a substantial reduction of the value of the common units. The discussion below is based on Sidley Austin LLPs opinion that we will be classified as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes.