|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 8-K on 03/06/2018|
MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSEQUENCES
This section is a summary of the material U.S. federal income tax consequences that may be relevant to prospective Plan participants and is based upon current provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations thereunder, and current administrative rulings and court decisions, all of which are subject to change. Changes in these authorities may cause the tax consequences to vary substantially from the consequences described below, possibly on a retroactive basis. Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this section to us, we or the Partnership are references to Enterprise Products Partners L.P. and Enterprise Products Operating LLC (EPO). This section replaces the section under the heading Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences in Post-Effective Amendment No. 1 to the Registration Statement on Form S-3D filed by the Partnership (File No. 333-211318) and the prospectus included therein. This section should be read in conjunction with the risk factors included under the caption Tax Risks to Common Unitholders in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The following discussion does not comment on all U.S. federal income tax matters affecting us or our unitholders and does not describe the application of the alternative minimum tax that may be applicable to certain unitholders. Moreover, the discussion focuses on unitholders who are individual citizens or residents of the United States, whose functional currency is the U.S. dollar and who hold common units as capital assets (generally, property that is held as an investment). This section has only limited application to corporations, estates, entities treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes, trusts, nonresident aliens, U.S. expatriates and former citizens or long-term residents of the United States or other unitholders subject to specialized tax treatment, such as banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions, tax-exempt institutions, non-U.S. persons (including, without limitation, controlled foreign corporations, passive foreign investment companies and non-U.S. persons eligible for the benefits of an applicable income tax treaty with the United States), individual retirement accounts (IRAs), real estate investment trusts (REITs) or mutual funds, dealers in securities or currencies, traders in securities, U.S. persons whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar, persons holding their units as part of a straddle, hedge, conversion transaction or other risk reduction transaction, persons subject to special tax accounting rules as a result of any item of gross income with respect to our common units being taken into account in an applicable financial statement and persons deemed to sell their units under the constructive sale provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, the discussion only comments, to a limited extent, on state, local, and non-U.S. tax consequences. Accordingly, we encourage each prospective common unitholder to consult his own tax advisor in analyzing the U.S. federal, state, local and non-U.S. tax consequences particular to him of the ownership or disposition of common units and potential changes in applicable laws, including the impact of the recently enacted U.S. tax reform legislation.
No ruling has been or will be requested from the IRS regarding our status as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Instead, we will rely on the opinions of Sidley Austin LLP with respect to the matters described herein. An opinion of counsel represents only that counsels best legal judgment and does not bind the Internal Revenue Service (the IRS) or a court. Accordingly, the opinions and statements made below may not be sustained by a court if contested by the IRS. Any contest of this sort with the IRS may materially and adversely impact the market for our common units and the prices at which our common units trade. In addition, the costs of any contest with the IRS, principally legal, accounting and related fees, will result in a reduction in cash available for distribution to our unitholders and thus will be borne indirectly by the unitholders. Furthermore, the tax treatment of us or of an investment in our common units may be significantly modified by future legislative or administrative changes or court decisions. Any modifications may or may not be retroactively applied.
All statements as to matters of U.S. federal income tax law and legal conclusions with respect thereto, but not as to factual matters, contained in this section, unless otherwise noted, are the opinion of Sidley Austin LLP and are based on the accuracy of the representations made by us and our general partner.
For the reasons described below, Sidley Austin LLP has not rendered an opinion with respect to the following specific U.S. federal income tax issues: (i) the treatment of a unitholder whose common units are the subject of a securities loan (please read Tax Consequences of Common Unit OwnershipTreatment of Securities Loans); (ii) whether all aspects of our monthly method for allocating taxable income and losses is permitted by existing Treasury Regulations (please read Disposition of Common UnitsAllocations Between Transferors and Transferees); and (iii) whether our method for taking into account Section 743 adjustments is sustainable in certain cases (please read Tax Consequences of Common Unit OwnershipSection 754 Election and Uniformity of Common Units).
We are treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, therefore, subject to the discussion below under Administrative MattersInformation Returns and Audit Procedures, generally will not be liable for entity-level U.S. federal income taxes. Instead, each partner of a partnership is required to take into account his share of items of income, gain, loss and deduction of the partnership in computing his U.S. federal income tax liability, regardless of whether cash distributions are made to him by the partnership. Distributions by a partnership to a partner are generally not taxable to the partner unless the amount of cash distributed to him is in excess of the partners adjusted basis in his partnership interest. Please read Tax Consequences of Common Unit OwnershipTreatment of Distributions and Disposition of Common Units.
Section 7704 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that publicly traded partnerships will, as a general rule, be taxed as corporations. However, an exception, referred to as the Qualifying Income Exception, exists with respect to publicly traded partnerships of which 90% or more of the gross income for every taxable year consists of qualifying income. Qualifying income includes income and gains derived from the exploration, development, mining or production, processing, refining, transportation, storage and marketing of any mineral or natural resource. Other types of qualifying income include interest (other than from a financial business), dividends, gains from the sale of real property and gains from the sale or other disposition of capital assets held for the production of income that otherwise constitutes qualifying income. We estimate that less than 5% of our current gross income is not qualifying income; however, this estimate could change from time to time. Based on and subject to this estimate, the factual representations made by us and our general partner and a review of the applicable legal authorities, Sidley Austin LLP is of the opinion that at least 90% of our current gross income constitutes qualifying income. The portion of our income that is qualifying income may change from time to time.
The IRS has made no determination as to our status or the status of EPO for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Instead, we will rely on the opinion of Sidley Austin LLP on such matters. It is the opinion of Sidley Austin LLP that, based upon the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations thereunder, current administrative rulings and court decisions and the representations described below, we and EPO will be classified as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
In rendering its opinion, Sidley Austin LLP has relied on factual representations made by us and our general partner, including, but not limited to:
We believe that these representations have been true in the past, are true as of the date hereof 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 an association taxable as a corporation 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. In addition, any distribution made to a unitholder would be treated as taxable dividend income, to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits, or, in the absence of earnings and profits, a nontaxable return of capital, to the extent of the unitholders tax basis in his common units, or taxable capital gain, after the unitholders tax basis in his common units is reduced to zero. Accordingly, taxation as a corporation would result in a material reduction in our cash available for distribution to unitholders 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.
Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership
Limited Partner Status. Unitholders of the Partnership who are admitted as limited partners will be treated as partners of the Partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Unitholders whose common units are held in street name or by a nominee and who have the right to direct the nominee in the exercise of all substantive rights attendant to the ownership of their common units, will be treated as partners of Enterprise Products Partners L.P. for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
As there is no direct or indirect controlling authority addressing assignees of common units who are entitled to execute and deliver transfer applications and thereby become entitled to direct the exercise of attendant rights, but who fail to execute and deliver transfer applications, Sidley Austin LLPs opinion does not extend to these persons. Furthermore, a purchaser or other transferee of common units who does not execute and deliver a transfer application may not receive some federal income tax information or reports furnished to record holders of common units unless the common units are held in a nominee or street name account and the nominee or broker has executed and delivered a transfer application for those common units. In addition, a beneficial owner of common units whose units are the subject of a securities loan would appear to lose his status as a partner with respect to those common units for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Please read Tax Consequences of Common Unit OwnershipTreatment of Securities Loans.
Items of our income, gain, loss or deduction would not appear to be reportable by a unitholder who is not a partner for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and any cash distributions received by a unitholder who is not a partner for U.S. federal income tax purposes would therefore appear to be fully taxable as ordinary income. These unitholders are urged to consult their tax advisors with respect to the tax consequences to them of holding common units in Enterprise Products Partners L.P.
The references to unitholders in the discussion that follows are to persons who are treated as partners in Enterprise Products Partners L.P. for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
Flow-through of Taxable Income. Subject to the discussion below under Entity-Level Collections and Administrative MattersInformation Returns and Audit Procedures, we will not pay any U.S. federal income tax. Instead, each unitholder is required to report on his income tax return his share of our income, gains, losses and deductions for our taxable year or years ending with or within his taxable year, without regard to whether we make cash distributions to him. Consequently, we may allocate income to a unitholder even if he has not received a cash distribution. Our taxable year ends on December 31.
Treatment of Distributions. Distributions by us to a unitholder generally will not be taxable to the unitholder for U.S. federal income tax purposes, except to the extent the amount of any such cash distribution exceeds his tax basis in his common units immediately before the distribution. Cash distributions in excess of a unitholders tax basis in his common units generally will be treated as amounts realized from the sale or exchange of the common units, taxable in accordance with the rules described under Disposition of Common Units below. Any reduction in a unitholders share of our liabilities for which no partner bears the economic risk of loss, known as nonrecourse liabilities, will be treated as a distribution of cash to that unitholder. To the extent our distributions cause a unitholders at risk amount to be less than zero at the end of any taxable year, the unitholder must recapture any losses deducted in previous years. Please read Limitations on Deductibility of Losses.
If, and to the extent that, a unitholder participates in the Plan, such unitholder will receive common units in lieu of all or a portion of any cash distribution he would otherwise receive from us. The tax consequences of such participation are generally expected to be the same to the Plan participants as if they had received their cash distributions paid to the common unitholders and then used these cash distributions to purchase additional common units either from us or on the open market, depending on how we instruct the Administrator to reinvest the distributions subject to the Plan.
A decrease in a unitholders percentage interest in us because of our issuance of additional common units will decrease his share of our nonrecourse liabilities, and thus will result in a corresponding deemed distribution of cash which may constitute a non-pro rata distribution. A non-pro rata distribution of money or property may result in ordinary income to a unitholder, regardless of his tax basis in his common units, if the distribution reduces the unitholders share of our unrealized receivables, including depreciation recapture, and/or substantially appreciated inventory items, both as defined in Section 751 of the Internal Revenue Code, and collectively, Section 751 Assets. To that extent, he will be treated as having been distributed his proportionate share of the Section 751 Assets and having then exchanged those assets with us in return for the non-pro rata portion of the actual distribution made to him. This latter deemed exchange will generally result in the unitholders recognition of ordinary income, which will equal the excess of the non-pro rata portion of that distribution over the unitholders tax basis (typically zero) for the share of Section 751 Assets deemed relinquished in the exchange.
Basis of Common Units. A unitholders initial tax basis in his common units will be the amount he paid for those common units plus his share of our nonrecourse liabilities. That basis will be increased by his share of our income and gains, by any increases in his share of our nonrecourse liabilities and, upon the disposition of common units, by his share of certain items related to business interest not yet deductible by him due to applicable limitations. Please read Limitations on Interest Deductions. That basis will be decreased, but not below zero, by distributions from us, by the unitholders share of our losses and deductions, by any decreases in his share of our nonrecourse liabilities, by his share of our excess business interest (generally, the excess of our business interest over the amount that is deductible) and by his share of our expenditures that are not deductible in computing taxable income and are not required to be capitalized. A unitholder will have a share of our nonrecourse liabilities generally based on Book-Tax Disparity (as described in Allocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction) attributable to such unitholder, to the extent of such amount, and thereafter, such unitholders share of our profits. Please read Disposition of Common UnitsRecognition of Gain or Loss.
Limitations on Deductibility of Losses. The deduction by a unitholder of his share of our losses will be limited to the tax basis in his common units and, in the case of an individual unitholder or a corporate unitholder, if more than 50% of the value of the corporate unitholders stock is owned directly or indirectly by or for five or fewer individuals or some tax-exempt organizations, to the amount for which the unitholder is considered to be at risk with respect to our activities, if that amount is less than his tax basis. A unitholder subject to these limitations must recapture losses deducted in previous years to the extent that distributions (including distributions deemed to result from a reduction in a unitholders share of nonrecourse liabilities) cause his at risk amount to be less than zero at the end of any taxable year. Losses disallowed to a unitholder or recaptured as a result of these limitations will carry forward and will be allowable as a deduction in a later year to the extent that his tax basis or at risk amount, whichever is the limiting factor, is subsequently increased provided that such losses are otherwise allowable. Upon the taxable disposition of a common unit, any gain recognized by a unitholder can be offset by losses that were previously suspended by the at risk limitation but may not be offset by losses suspended by the basis limitation. Any excess loss above that gain previously suspended by the at risk or basis limitations is no longer utilizable.
In general, a unitholder will be at risk to the extent of the tax basis of his common units, excluding any portion of that basis attributable to his share of our nonrecourse liabilities, reduced by (i) any portion of that basis representing amounts other than those protected against loss because of a guarantee, stop-loss agreement or other similar arrangement and (ii) any amount of money he borrows to acquire or hold his units, if the lender of those borrowed funds owns an interest in us, is related to another unitholder who has an interest in us, or can look only to the common units for repayment. A unitholders at risk amount will increase or decrease as the tax basis of the unitholders common units increases or decreases, other than tax basis increases or decreases attributable to increases or decreases in his share of our nonrecourse liabilities.
In addition to the basis and at-risk limitations on the deductibility of losses, the passive loss limitations generally provide that individuals, estates, trusts and some closely-held corporations and personal service corporations are permitted to deduct losses from passive activities, which are generally trade or business activities in which the taxpayer does not materially participate, only to the extent of the taxpayers income from those passive activities. The passive loss limitations are applied separately with respect to each publicly traded partnership. Consequently, any passive losses we generate will only be available to offset our passive income generated in the future and will not be available to offset income from other passive activities or investments, including our investments or a unitholders investments in other publicly traded partnerships, or the unitholders salary, active business or other income. Passive losses that are not deductible because they exceed a unitholders share of income we generate may be deducted in full when the unitholder disposes of his entire investment in us in a fully taxable transaction with an unrelated party. The passive activity loss limitations are applied after other applicable limitations on deductions, including the at-risk rules and the basis limitation.
A unitholders share of our net income may be offset by any of our suspended passive losses, but it may not be offset by any other current or carryover losses from other passive activities, including those attributable to other publicly traded partnerships.
An additional loss limitation may apply to certain of our unitholders for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026. A non-corporate unitholder will not be allowed to take a deduction for certain excess business losses in such taxable years. An excess business loss is the excess (if any) of a taxpayers aggregate deductions for the taxable year that are attributable to the trades or businesses of such taxpayer (determined without regard to the excess business loss limitation) over the aggregate gross income or gain of such taxpayer for the taxable year that is attributable to such trades or businesses plus a threshold amount. The threshold amount is equal to $250,000, or $500,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return. Any losses disallowed in a taxable year due to the excess business loss limitation may be used by the applicable unitholder in the following taxable year if certain conditions are met. Unitholders to which this excess business loss limitation applies will take their allocable share of our items of income, gain, loss and deduction into account in determining this limitation. This excess business loss limitation will be applied to a non-corporate unitholder after the passive loss limitations and may limit such unitholders ability to utilize any losses we generate allocable to such unitholder that are not otherwise limited by the basis, at-risk and passive loss limitations described above.
Limitations on Interest Deductions. In general, we are entitled to a deduction for interest paid or accrued on indebtedness properly allocable to our trade or business (business interest). However, our deduction for business interest is limited to the sum of our business interest income and 30% of our adjusted taxable income, which is generally taxable income, computed without regard to business interest expense, business interest income, and in the case of taxable years beginning before January 1, 2022, any deduction allowable for depreciation, amortization, or depletion. This limitation is first applied at the partnership level and any deduction for business interest is taken into account in determining our non-separately stated taxable income or loss. Then, in applying this business interest limitation at the partner level, the adjusted taxable income of each of our unitholders is determined without regard to such unitholders distributive share of any of our items of income, gain, deduction, or loss and is increased by such unitholders distributive share of our excess taxable income, which is generally equal to the excess of 30% of our adjusted taxable income over the amount of our deduction for business interest for a taxable year.
To the extent our deduction for business interest is not limited, we will allocate the full amount of our deduction for business interest among our unitholders in accordance with their percentage interests in us. To the extent our deduction for business interest is limited, the amount of any disallowed deduction for business interest (excess business interest) will also be allocated to each unitholder in accordance with his percentage interest in us, but such amount of excess business interest will not be currently deductible. Should our ability to deduct business interest be limited, the amount of taxable income allocated to our unitholders in the taxable year in which the limitation is in effect may increase. However, in certain circumstances, a unitholder may be able to carry forward and deduct the excess business interest in future taxable years. Prospective unitholders should consult their tax advisors regarding the impact of this business interest deduction limitation on an investment in our common units.
In addition, the deductibility of a non-corporate taxpayers investment interest expense is generally limited to the amount of that taxpayers net investment income. Investment interest expense includes:
The computation of a unitholders investment interest expense will take into account interest on any margin account borrowing or other loan incurred to purchase or carry a common unit. Net investment income includes gross income from property held for investment and amounts treated as portfolio income under the passive loss rules, less deductible expenses, other than interest, directly connected with the production of investment income, but generally does not include gains attributable to the disposition of property held for investment. The IRS has indicated that net passive income earned by a publicly traded partnership will be treated as investment income to its unitholders for purposes of the investment interest deduction limitation. In addition, the unitholders share of our portfolio income will be treated as investment income for purposes of the investment interest expense limitation.
Entity-Level Collections. If we are required or elect under applicable law to pay any federal, state, local or non-U.S. tax on behalf of any current or former unitholder, our partnership agreement authorizes us to treat the payment as a distribution of cash to the unitholder on whose behalf the payment was made. If the payment is made on behalf of a person whose identity cannot be determined, we are authorized to treat the payment as a distribution to all current unitholders. We are authorized to amend our partnership agreement in the manner necessary to maintain uniformity of intrinsic tax characteristics of common units and to adjust later distributions, so that after giving effect to these distributions, the priority and characterization of distributions otherwise applicable under our partnership agreement is maintained as nearly as is practicable. Payments by us as described above could give rise to an overpayment of tax on behalf of an individual unitholder in which event the unitholder would be required to file a claim in order to obtain a credit or refund. Please read Administrative MattersInformation Returns and Audit Procedures.
Allocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction. Our items of income, gain, loss and deduction will be allocated among the unitholders in accordance with their percentage interests in us. Specified items of our income, gain, loss and deduction will be allocated to account for the difference between the tax basis and fair market value of our assets, a Book-Tax Disparity, at the time we issue units in an offering or engage in certain other transactions. The effect of these allocations, referred to as Section 704(c) Allocations, to a unitholder purchasing common units in such offering will be essentially the same as if the tax bases of our assets were equal to their fair market values at the time of such offering. In the event we issue additional common units or engage in certain other transactions in the future, reverse Section 704(c) Allocations, similar to the Section 704(c) Allocations described above, will be made to all of our unitholders immediately prior to such issuance or other transactions to account for any Book-Tax Disparity at the time of the future transaction. In addition, items of recapture income will be allocated to the extent possible to the unitholder who was allocated the deduction giving rise to the treatment of that gain as recapture income in order to minimize the recognition of ordinary income by other unitholders. Finally, although we do not expect that our operations will result in the creation of negative capital accounts, if negative capital accounts nevertheless result, items of our income and gain will be allocated in such amount and manner as is needed to eliminate the negative balance as quickly as possible.
An allocation of items of our income, gain, loss or deduction, other than an allocation required by the Internal Revenue Code to eliminate a Book-Tax Disparity, will generally be given effect for U.S. federal income tax purposes in determining a partners share of an item of income, gain, loss or deduction only if the allocation has substantial economic effect. In any other case, a partners share of an item will be determined on the basis of his interest in us, which will be determined by taking into account all the facts and circumstances, including:
Sidley Austin LLP is of the opinion that, with the exception of the issues described in Section 754 Election and Disposition of Common UnitsAllocations Between Transferors and Transferees, allocations under our partnership agreement will be given effect for federal income tax purposes in determining a partners share of an item of income, gain, loss or deduction.
Treatment of Securities Loans. A unitholder whose common units are the subject of a securities loan (for example, a loan to a short seller to cover a short sale of common units) may be considered as having disposed of those units during the period of the loan and may recognize gain or loss as a result of such deemed disposition. As a result, during this period (i) he would no longer be treated for tax purposes as a partner with respect to those common units, (ii) any of our income, gain, loss or deduction allocated to those units would not be reportable by the lending unitholder, and (iii) any cash distributions received by the lending unitholder as to those units may be treated as ordinary taxable income.
Sidley Austin LLP has not rendered an opinion regarding the tax treatment of a unitholder that enters into a securities loan with respect to its common units. A unitholder desiring to assure its status as a partner and avoid the risk of income recognition from a loan of its common units is urged to consult a tax advisor to discuss whether it is advisable to modify any applicable brokerage account agreements to prohibit their brokers from borrowing and loaning their common units. The IRS has previously announced that it is studying issues relating to the tax treatment of short sales of partnership interests. Please also read Disposition of Common UnitsRecognition of Gain or Loss.
Tax Rates. Under current law, the highest marginal U.S. federal income tax rate for individuals applicable to ordinary income and long-term capital gains (generally, gains from the sale or exchange of certain investment assets held for more than one year) are 37% and 20%, respectively. These rates are subject to change by new legislation at any time.
In addition, a 3.8% net investment income tax applies to certain net investment income earned by individuals, estates and trusts. For these purposes, net investment income generally includes a unitholders allocable share of our income and gain realized by a unitholder from a sale of common units. In the case of an individual, the tax will be imposed on the lesser of (i) the unitholders net investment income or (ii) the amount by which the unitholders modified adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 (if the unitholder is married and filing jointly or a surviving spouse), $125,000 (if the unitholder is married and filing separately) or $200,000 (in any other case). In the case of an estate or trust, the tax will be imposed on the lesser of (i) the undistributed net investment income, or (ii) the excess adjusted gross income over the dollar amount at which the highest income tax bracket applicable to an estate or trust begins. Prospective unitholders are urged to consult with their own tax advisors as to the impact of the net investment income tax on an investment in our common units.
For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and ending on or before December 31, 2025, an individual unitholder is entitled to a deduction equal to 20% of his qualified business income attributable to us, subject to certain limitations. For purposes of this deduction, a unitholders qualified business income attributable to us is equal to the sum of:
Prospective unitholders should consult their tax advisors regarding the application of the deduction for qualified business income.
Section 754 Election. We have made the election permitted by Section 754 of the Internal Revenue Code. That election is irrevocable without the consent of the IRS. The election generally permits us to adjust a common unit purchasers tax basis in our assets (inside basis) under Section 743(b) of the Internal Revenue Code to reflect his purchase price. This election applies to a person who purchases common units from a selling unitholder but does not apply to a person who purchases common units directly from us. The Section 743(b) adjustment belongs to the purchaser and not to other unitholders. For purposes of this discussion, a unitholders inside basis in our assets will be considered to have two components: (i) his share of our tax basis in our assets (common basis) and (ii) his Section 743(b) adjustment to that basis.
Treasury Regulations under Section 743 of the Internal Revenue Code require, if the remedial allocation method is adopted (which we have adopted), a portion of the Section 743(b) adjustment that is attributable to recovery property subject to depreciation under Section 168 of the Internal Revenue Code to be depreciated over the remaining cost recovery period for the propertys unamortized Book-Tax Disparity. Under Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6), a Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to property subject to depreciation under Section 167 of the Internal Revenue Code, rather than cost recovery deductions under Section 168, is generally required to be depreciated using either the straight-line method or the 150% declining balance method. Thus, a literal application of these Treasury Regulations may give rise to differences in the taxation of unitholders purchasing common units from us and unitholders purchasing from other unitholders. Under our partnership agreement, our general partner is authorized to take a position to preserve the uniformity of common units even if that position is not consistent with these and any other Treasury Regulations. Please read Uniformity of Common Units.
Although Sidley Austin LLP is unable to opine as to the validity of this approach because there is no controlling authority on this issue, we intend to depreciate the portion of a Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to unrealized appreciation in the value of Contributed Property, to the extent of any unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, using a rate of depreciation or amortization derived from the depreciation or amortization method and useful life applied to the unamortized Book-Tax Disparity of the property, or treat that portion as non-amortizable to the extent attributable to property which is not amortizable. This method is consistent with methods employed by other publicly traded partnerships but is arguably inconsistent with Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6), which is not expected to directly apply to a material portion of our assets. To the extent this Section 743(b) adjustment is attributable to appreciation in value in excess of the unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, we will apply the rules described in the Treasury Regulations and legislative history. If we determine that this position cannot reasonably be taken, we may take a depreciation or amortization position under which all purchasers acquiring common units in the same month would receive depreciation or amortization, whether attributable to common basis or a Section 743(b) adjustment, based upon the same applicable rate as if they had purchased a direct interest in our assets. This kind of aggregate approach may result in lower annual depreciation or amortization deductions than would otherwise be allowable to some unitholders. Please read Uniformity of Common Units. A unitholders tax basis for his common units is reduced by his share of our deductions (whether or not such deductions were claimed on an individuals income tax return) so that any position we take that understates deductions will overstate the common unitholders basis in his common units, which may cause the unitholder to understate gain or overstate loss on any sale of such units. Please read Disposition of Common UnitsRecognition of Gain or Loss. The IRS may challenge our position with respect to depreciating or amortizing the Section 743(b) adjustment we take to preserve the uniformity of the common units. If such a challenge were sustained, the gain from the sale of common units might be increased without the benefit of additional deductions.
A Section 754 election is advantageous if the transferees tax basis in his common units is higher than the units share of the aggregate tax basis of our assets immediately prior to the transfer. In that case, as a result of the election, the transferee would have, among other items, a greater amount of depreciation deductions and his share of any gain or loss on a sale of our assets would be less. Conversely, a Section 754 election is disadvantageous if the transferees tax basis in his common units is lower than those units share of the aggregate tax basis of our assets immediately prior to the transfer. Thus, the fair market value of the common units may be affected either favorably or unfavorably by the election. A basis adjustment is required regardless of whether a Section 754 election is made in the case of a transfer of an interest in us if we have a substantial built-in loss immediately after the transfer, or if we distribute property and have a substantial basis reduction. Generally a basis reduction or a built-in loss is substantial if it exceeds $250,000.
The calculations involved in the Section 754 election are complex and will be made on the basis of assumptions as to the value of our assets and other matters. For example, the allocation of the Section 743(b) adjustment among our assets must be made in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS could seek to reallocate some or all of any Section 743(b) adjustment we allocated to our tangible assets to goodwill instead. Goodwill, as an intangible asset, is generally either non-amortizable or amortizable over a longer period of time or under a less accelerated method than our tangible assets. We cannot assure you that the determinations we make will not be successfully challenged by the IRS and that the deductions resulting from them will not be reduced or disallowed altogether. Should the IRS require a different basis adjustment to be made, and should, in our opinion, the expense of compliance exceed the benefit of the election, we may seek permission from the IRS to revoke our Section 754 election. If permission is granted, a subsequent purchaser of common units may be allocated more income than he would have been allocated had the election not been revoked.
Tax Treatment of Operations
Accounting Method and Taxable Year. We use the year ending December 31 as our taxable year and the accrual method of accounting for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Each unitholder will be required to include in income his share of our income, gain, loss and deduction for our taxable year or years ending within or with his taxable year. In addition, a unitholder who has a taxable year different than our taxable year and who disposes of all of his common units following the close of our taxable year but before the close of his taxable year must include his share of our income, gain, loss and deduction in income for his taxable year, with the result that he will be required to include in income for his taxable year his share of more than one year of our income, gain, loss and deduction. Please read Disposition of Common UnitsAllocations Between Transferors and Transferees.
Tax Basis, Depreciation and Amortization. We use the tax basis of our assets for purposes of computing depreciation and cost recovery deductions and, ultimately, gain or loss on the disposition of these assets. The U.S. federal income tax burden associated with the difference between the fair market value of our assets and their tax basis immediately prior to the time of an offering will be borne by our common unitholders immediately prior to the offering. Please read Tax Consequences of Common Unit OwnershipAllocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction. To the extent allowable, we may elect to use the depreciation and cost recovery methods, including bonus depreciation to the extent available, that will result in the largest deductions being taken in the early years after assets subject to these allowances are placed in service. Property we subsequently acquire or construct may be depreciated using accelerated methods permitted by the Internal Revenue Code.
If we dispose of depreciable property by sale, foreclosure, or otherwise, all or a portion of any gain, determined by reference to the amount of depreciation previously deducted and the nature of the property, may be subject to the recapture rules and taxed as ordinary income rather than capital gain. Similarly, a common unitholder who has taken cost recovery or depreciation deductions with respect to property we own will likely be required to recapture some, or all, of those deductions as ordinary income upon a sale of his interest in us. Please read Tax Consequences of Common Unit OwnershipAllocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction, and Disposition of Common UnitsRecognition of Gain or Loss.
The costs incurred in selling our common units (called syndication expenses) must be capitalized and cannot be deducted currently, ratably or upon our termination. There are uncertainties regarding the classification of costs as organization expenses, which we may amortize, and as syndication expenses, which we may not be able to amortize. The underwriting discounts and commissions we incur will be treated as syndication expenses.
Valuation and Tax Basis of Our Properties. The U.S. federal income tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of common units will depend in part on our estimates of the relative fair market values, and the tax bases, of our assets. Although we may from time to time consult with professional appraisers regarding valuation matters, we will make many of the relative fair market value estimates ourselves. These estimates and determinations of basis are subject to challenge and will not be binding on the IRS or the courts. If the estimates of fair market value or basis are later found to be incorrect, the character and amount of items of income, gain, loss or deductions previously reported by unitholders might change, and unitholders might be required to adjust their tax liability for prior years and incur interest and penalties with respect to those adjustments.
Disposition of Common Units
Recognition of Gain or Loss. Gain or loss will be recognized on a sale of common units equal to the difference between the unitholders amount realized and the unitholders tax basis for the common units sold. A unitholders amount realized will be measured by the sum of the cash or the fair market value of other property received by him plus his share of our nonrecourse liabilities attributable to the common units sold. Because the amount realized includes a unitholders share of our nonrecourse liabilities, the gain recognized on the sale of common units could result in a tax liability in excess of any cash received from the sale.
Prior distributions from us in excess of cumulative net taxable income for a common unit that decreased a unitholders tax basis in that common unit will, in effect, become taxable income if the common unit is sold at a price greater than the unitholders tax basis in that common unit, even if the price received is less than his original cost.
Except as noted below, gain or loss recognized by a unitholder, other than a dealer in common units, on the sale or exchange of a common unit will generally be taxable as capital gain or loss. Capital gain recognized by an individual on the sale of common units held more than 12 months will generally be taxed at the U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to long-term capital gains. However, a portion of this gain or loss, which will likely be substantial, will be separately computed and taxed as ordinary income or loss under Section 751 of the Internal Revenue Code to the extent attributable to our Section 751 Assets, such as assets giving rise to depreciation recapture, our unrealized receivables or our inventory items regardless of whether such inventory item has substantially appreciated in value. Ordinary income attributable to Section 751 Assets may exceed net taxable gain realized on the sale of a common unit and may be recognized even if there is a net taxable loss realized on the sale of a common unit. Thus, a unitholder may recognize both ordinary income and a capital loss upon a sale of common units. Net capital losses may offset capital gains and no more than $3,000 of ordinary income each year in the case of individuals and may only be used to offset capital gains in the case of corporations. Both ordinary income and capital gain recognized on the sale or exchange of units may be subject to the net investment income tax in certain circumstances. Please read Tax Consequences of Common Unit OwnershipTax Rates.
For purposes of calculating gain or loss on the sale or exchange of a common unit, the unitholders adjusted tax basis will be adjusted by its allocable share of our income or loss in respect of its common unit for the year of the sale. Additionally, the IRS has ruled that a partner who acquires interests in a partnership in separate transactions must combine those interests and maintain a single adjusted tax basis for all those interests. Upon a sale or other disposition of less than all of those interests, a portion of that tax basis must be allocated to the interests sold using an equitable apportionment method, which generally means that the tax basis allocated to the interest sold equals an amount that bears the same relation to the partners tax basis in his entire interest in the partnership as the value of the interest sold bears to the value of the partners entire interest in the partnership. Treasury Regulations under Section 1223 of the Internal Revenue Code allow a selling unitholder who can identify common units transferred with an ascertainable holding period to elect to use the actual holding period of the common units transferred. Thus, according to the ruling discussed above, a common unitholder will be unable to select high or low basis common units to sell as would be the case with corporate stock, but, according to the Treasury Regulations, may designate specific common units sold for purposes of determining the holding period of common units transferred. A unitholder electing to use the actual holding period of common units transferred must consistently use that identification method for all subsequent sales or exchanges of common units. A unitholder considering the purchase of additional common units or a sale of common units purchased in separate transactions is urged to consult his tax advisor as to the possible consequences of this ruling and application of the Treasury Regulations.
Specific provisions of the Internal Revenue Code affect the taxation of some financial products and securities, including partnership interests, by treating a taxpayer as having sold an appreciated partnership interest, one in which gain would be recognized if it were sold, assigned or terminated at its fair market value, if the taxpayer or related persons enter(s) into:
in each case, with respect to the partnership interest or substantially identical property.
Moreover, if a taxpayer has previously entered into a short sale, an offsetting notional principal contract or a futures or forward contract with respect to the partnership interest, the taxpayer will be treated as having sold that position if the taxpayer or a related person then acquires the partnership interest or substantially identical property. The Secretary of the Treasury is also authorized to issue regulations that treat a taxpayer that enters into transactions or positions that have substantially the same effect as the preceding transactions as having constructively sold the financial position.
Allocations Between Transferors and Transferees. In general, our taxable income or loss will be determined annually, will be prorated on a monthly basis and will be subsequently apportioned among the unitholders in proportion to the number of common units owned by each of them as of the opening of the applicable exchange on
the first business day of the month, which we refer to in this prospectus as the Allocation Date. However, gain or loss realized on a sale or other disposition of our assets other than in the ordinary course of business will be allocated among the unitholders on the Allocation Date in the month in which that gain or loss is recognized. As a result, a unitholder transferring common units may be allocated income, gain, loss and deduction realized after the date of transfer.
The U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS have issued Treasury Regulations that permit publicly traded partnerships to use a monthly simplifying convention similar to ours, but they do not specifically authorize all aspects of the proration method we have adopted. Accordingly, Sidley Austin LLP is unable to opine on the validity of this method of allocating income and deductions between transferor and transferee unitholders. If the IRS determines that this method is not allowed under the Treasury Regulations, our taxable income or losses could be reallocated among our unitholders. We are authorized to revise our method of allocation between transferor and transferee unitholders, as well as unitholders whose interests vary during a taxable year.
A unitholder who owns common units at any time during a quarter and who disposes of them prior to the record date set for a cash distribution for that quarter will be allocated items of our income, gain, loss and deductions attributable to that quarter through the month of disposition but will not be entitled to receive that cash distribution.
Notification Requirements. A unitholder who sells any of his common units, other than through a broker, generally is required to notify us in writing of that sale within 30 days after the sale (or, if earlier, January 15 of the year following the sale). A purchaser of common units who purchases common units from another unitholder is also generally required to notify us in writing of that purchase within 30 days after the purchase. Upon receiving such notification, we are required to notify the IRS of that transaction and to furnish specified information to the transferor and transferee. Failure to notify us of a transfer of common units may, in some cases, lead to the imposition of penalties. However, these reporting requirements do not apply to a sale by an individual who is a citizen of the U.S. and who effects the sale or exchange through a broker who will satisfy such requirements.
Uniformity of Common Units
Because we cannot match transferors and transferees of common units, we must maintain uniformity of the economic and tax characteristics of the common units to a purchaser of these units. In the absence of uniformity, we may be unable to completely comply with a number of U.S. federal income tax requirements, both statutory and regulatory. A lack of uniformity can result from a literal application of Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6). Any non-uniformity could have a negative impact on the value of the common units. Please read Tax Consequences of Common Unit OwnershipSection 754 Election.
We intend to depreciate the portion of a Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to unrealized appreciation in the value of Contributed Property, to the extent of any unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, using a rate of depreciation or amortization derived from the depreciation or amortization method and useful life applied to the unamortized Book-Tax Disparity of that property, or treat that portion as nonamortizable, to the extent attributable to property which is not amortizable, consistent with the Treasury Regulations under Section 743 of the Internal Revenue Code, even though that position may be inconsistent with Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6). Please read Tax Consequences of Common Unit OwnershipSection 754 Election. To the extent that the Section 743(b) adjustment is attributable to appreciation in value in excess of the unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, we will apply the rules described in the Treasury Regulations and legislative history. If we determine that this position cannot reasonably be taken, we may adopt a depreciation and amortization position under which all purchasers acquiring common units in the same month would receive depreciation and amortization deductions, whether attributable to a common basis or Section 743(b) adjustment, based upon the same applicable methods and lives as if they had purchased a direct interest in our property. If this position is adopted, it may result in lower annual depreciation and amortization deductions than would otherwise be allowable to some unitholders and risk the loss of depreciation and amortization deductions not taken in the year that these deductions are otherwise allowable. This position will not be adopted if we determine that the loss of depreciation and amortization deductions will have a material adverse effect on the unitholders. If we choose not to utilize this aggregate method, we may use any other reasonable depreciation and amortization method to preserve the uniformity of the intrinsic tax characteristics of any common units that would not have a material adverse effect on the unitholders. Sidley Austin LLP is unable to opine on the validity of any of these positions. The IRS may challenge any method of depreciating the Section 743(b) adjustment described in this paragraph. If this challenge were sustained, the uniformity of common units might be affected, and the gain
from the sale of common units might be increased without the benefit of additional deductions. We do not believe these allocations will affect any material items of income, gain, loss or deduction. Please read Disposition of Common UnitsRecognition of Gain or Loss.
Tax-Exempt Organizations and Other Investors
Ownership of common units by employee benefit plans and other tax-exempt organizations, as well as by non-resident alien individuals, non-U.S. corporations, and other non-U.S. persons (collectively, Non-U.S. Unitholders) raises issues unique to those investors and, as described below to a limited extent, may have substantially adverse tax consequences to them. Each prospective unitholder that is a tax-exempt entity or a Non-U.S. Unitholder should consult its tax advisors before investing in our common units.
Employee benefit plans and most other tax-exempt organizations, including IRAs and other retirement plans, are subject to U.S. federal income tax on unrelated business taxable income. Virtually all of our income allocated to a unitholder that is a tax-exempt organization will be unrelated business taxable income and will be taxable to it. Tax exempt unitholders with more than one unrelated trade or business (including by attribution from us) are required to separately compute their unrelated business taxable income with respect to each unrelated trade or business. As a result, it may not be possible for tax-exempt unitholders to utilize losses from an investment in us to offset unrelated business taxable income from another unrelated trade or business and vice versa.
Non-U.S. Unitholders are taxed by the United States on income effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business (effectively connected income) and on certain types of U.S.-source non-effectively connected income (such as dividends), unless exempted or further limited by an income tax treaty. Each Non-U.S. Unitholder that owns common units will be considered to be engaged in a trade or business in the United States because of the ownership of common units. Furthermore, Non-U.S. Unitholders will be deemed to conduct such activities through a permanent establishment in the United States within the meaning of an applicable tax treaty. As a consequence, they will be required to file U.S. federal tax returns to report their share of our income, gain, loss or deduction and pay U.S. federal income tax at regular rates on their share of our net income or gain. Moreover, under rules applicable to publicly traded partnerships, our quarterly distribution to Non-U.S. Unitholders will be subject to withholding at the highest applicable effective tax rate. Each Non-U.S. Unitholder must obtain a taxpayer identification number from the IRS and submit that number to our transfer agent on a Form W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E or applicable substitute form in order to obtain credit for these withholding taxes. A change in applicable law may require us to change these procedures.
In addition, a Non-U.S. Unitholder that is classified as a non-U.S. corporation will be treated as engaged in a United States trade or business and may be subject to the U.S. branch profits tax at a rate of 30%, in addition to regular U.S. federal income tax, on its share of our income and gain, as adjusted for changes in the non-U.S. corporations U.S. net equity, that is effectively connected with the conduct of a United States trade or business. That tax may be reduced or eliminated by an income tax treaty between the United States and the country in which the non-U.S. corporate unitholder is a qualified resident. In addition, this type of unitholder is subject to special information reporting requirements under Section 6038C of the Internal Revenue Code.
A Non-U.S. Unitholder who sells or otherwise disposes of a common unit will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on gain realized from the sale or disposition of that common unit to the extent the gain is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the Non-U.S. Unitholder. Gain realized by a Non-U.S. Unitholder from the sale of its interest in a partnership that is engaged in a trade or business in the United States will be considered to be effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business to the extent that gain that would be recognized upon a sale by the partnership of all of its assets would be effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business. It is expected that, under this rule, all or substantially all of a Non-U.S. Unitholders gain from the sale or other disposition of our common units would be treated as effectively connected with a unitholders indirect U.S. trade or business constituted by its investment in us and would be subject to U.S. federal income tax. As a result of the effectively connected income rules described above, the exclusion from U.S. taxation under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act for gain from the sale of partnership units regularly traded on an established securities market will not prevent a Non-U.S. Unitholder from being subject to U.S. federal income tax on gain from the sale or disposition of its common units.
Under recently enacted tax law, if a unitholder sells or otherwise disposes of a common unit, the transferee is required to withhold 10% of the amount realized by the transferor unless the transferor certifies that it is not a foreign person, and we are required to deduct and withhold from the transferee amounts that should have been withheld by the transferee but were not withheld. Because the amount realized would include a unitholders share of our nonrecourse liabilities, 10% of the amount realized could exceed the total cash purchase price for the common units. However, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS have determined that this withholding requirement should not apply to any disposition of a publicly traded interest in a publicly traded partnership (such as us) until Treasury Regulations or other guidance have been issued clarifying the application of this withholding requirement to dispositions of interests in publicly traded partnerships. Accordingly, while this new withholding requirement does not currently apply to sales or dispositions of our common units, there can be no assurance that such requirement will not apply in the future.
Information Returns and Audit Procedures. We intend to furnish to each unitholder, within 90 days after the close of each taxable year, specific tax information, including a Schedule K-1, which describes each unitholders share of our income, gain, loss and deduction for our preceding taxable year. In preparing this information, which will not be reviewed by counsel, we will take various accounting and reporting positions, some of which have been mentioned earlier, to determine each unitholders share of income, gain, loss and deduction. We cannot assure you that those positions will in all cases yield a result that conforms to the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations or administrative interpretations of the IRS. The IRS may audit our U.S. federal income tax information returns. Neither we nor Sidley Austin LLP can assure prospective unitholders that the IRS will not challenge the positions we adopt. Any challenge by the IRS could negatively affect the value of the common units.
Partnerships generally are treated as separate entities for purposes of U.S. federal income tax audits, judicial review of administrative adjustments by the IRS and tax settlement proceedings. The tax treatment of partnership items of income, gain, loss and deduction are determined in a partnership proceeding rather than in separate proceedings with the partners. Adjustments to items of our income, gain, loss or deduction resulting from an IRS audit may require each unitholder to adjust a prior years tax liability, and possibly may result in an audit of his return. Any audit of a unitholders return could result in adjustments not related to our returns as well as those related to our returns.
Pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, if the IRS makes audit adjustments to our income tax returns, it may assess and collect any taxes (including any applicable penalties and interest) resulting from such audit adjustment directly from us, unless we elect to have our unitholders and former unitholders take any audit adjustment into account in accordance with their interest in us during the taxable year under audit. Similarly, for such taxable years, if the IRS makes audit adjustments to income tax returns filed by an entity in which we are a member or partner, it may assess and collect any taxes (including penalties and interest) resulting from such audit adjustment directly from such entity. Generally, we expect to elect to have our unitholders and former unitholders take any such audit adjustment into account in accordance with their interests in us during the taxable year under audit, but there can be no assurance that such election will be effective in all circumstances. If, we are unable or if it is not economical to have our unitholders and former unitholders take such an audit adjustment into account in accordance with their interests in us during the taxable year under audit, our then current unitholders may bear some or all of the tax liability resulting from such audit adjustment, even if such unitholders did not own our common units during the taxable year under audit. If, as a result of any such audit adjustment, we are required to make payments of taxes, penalties and interest, our cash available for distribution to our unitholders might be substantially reduced. Congress has proposed changes to the Bipartisan Budget Act, and we anticipate that amendments may be made. Accordingly, the manner in which these rules may apply to us in the future is uncertain.
Additionally, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, we will be required to designate a partner, or other person, with a substantial presence in the United States as the partnership representative (Partnership Representative). The Partnership Representative will have the sole authority to act on our behalf for purposes of, among other things, U.S. federal income tax audits and judicial review of administrative adjustments by the IRS. If we do not make such a designation, the IRS can select any person as the Partnership Representative. Our partnership agreement designates our general partner as our Partnership Representative. Further,
any actions taken by us or by the Partnership Representative on our behalf with respect to, among other things, U.S. federal income tax audits and judicial review of administrative adjustments by the IRS, will be binding on us and all of our unitholders.
Additional Withholding Requirements. Withholding taxes may apply to certain types of payments made to foreign financial institutions (as specially defined in the Internal Revenue Code) and certain other foreign entities. Specifically, a 30% withholding tax may be imposed on interest, dividends and other fixed or determinable annual or periodical gains, profits and income from sources within the United States (FDAP Income), or gross proceeds from the sale or other disposition of any property of a type that can produce interest or dividends from sources within the United States (Gross Proceeds) paid to a foreign financial institution or to a non-financial foreign entity (as specially defined in the Internal Revenue Code), unless (i) the foreign financial institution undertakes certain diligence and reporting, (ii) the non-financial foreign entity either certifies it does not have any substantial U.S. owners or furnishes identifying information regarding each substantial U.S. owner or (iii) the foreign financial institution or non-financial foreign entity otherwise qualifies for an exemption from these rules. If the payee is a foreign financial institution and is subject to the diligence and reporting requirements in clause (i) above, it must enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Treasury requiring, among other things, that it undertake to identify accounts held by certain U.S. persons or U.S.-owned foreign entities, annually report certain information about such accounts, and withhold 30% on payments to noncompliant foreign financial institutions and certain other account holders. Foreign financial institutions located in jurisdictions that have an intergovernmental agreement with the United States governing these requirements may be subject to different rules.
These rules generally apply to payments of FDAP Income currently and generally will apply to payments of relevant Gross Proceeds made on or after January 1, 2019. Thus, to the extent we have FDAP Income or have Gross Proceeds on or after January 1, 2019, that are not treated as effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business (please read Tax-Exempt Organizations and Other Investors), unitholders who are foreign financial institutions or certain other foreign entities, or persons that hold their common units through such foreign entities, may be subject to withholding on distributions they receive from us, or their distributive share of our income, pursuant to the rules described above.
Prospective common unitholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding the potential application of these withholding provisions to their investment in our common units.
Nominee Reporting. Persons who hold an interest in us as a nominee for another person are required to furnish the following information to us:
Brokers and financial institutions are required to furnish additional information, including whether they are United States persons and specific information on common units they acquire, hold or transfer for their own account. A penalty of $270 per failure, up to a maximum of $3,282,500 per calendar year, is imposed by the Internal Revenue Code for failure to report that information to us. The nominee is required to supply the beneficial owner of the common units with the information furnished to us.
Accuracy-Related Penalties. An additional tax equal to 20% of the amount of any portion of an underpayment of tax that is attributable to one or more specified causes, including negligence or disregard of rules or regulations, substantial understatements of income tax and substantial valuation misstatements, is imposed by the Internal Revenue Code. No penalty will be imposed, however, for any portion of an underpayment if it is shown that there was a reasonable cause for the underpayment of that portion and that the taxpayer acted in good faith regarding the underpayment of that portion.
For individuals, a substantial understatement of income tax in any taxable year exists if the amount of the understatement exceeds the greater of 10% of the tax required to be shown on the return for the taxable year or $5,000. The amount of any understatement subject to penalty generally is reduced if any portion is attributable to a position adopted on the return:
If any item of income, gain, loss or deduction included in the distributive shares of unitholders might result in that kind of an understatement of income for which no substantial authority exists, we must disclose the pertinent facts on our return. In addition, we will make a reasonable effort to furnish sufficient information for unitholders to make adequate disclosure on their returns and to take other actions as may be appropriate to permit unitholders to avoid liability for this penalty. More stringent rules apply to tax shelters, which we do not believe includes us.
A substantial valuation misstatement exists if (i) the value of any property, or the adjusted basis of any property, claimed on a tax return is 150% or more of the amount determined to be the correct amount of the valuation or adjusted basis, (ii) the price for any property or services (or for the use of property) claimed on any such return with respect to any transaction between persons described in Internal Revenue Code Section 482 is 200% or more (or 50% or less) of the amount determined under Section 482 to be the correct amount of such price, or (iii) the net Internal Revenue Code Section 482 transfer price adjustment for the taxable year exceeds the lesser of $5 million or 10% of the taxpayers gross receipts. No penalty is imposed unless the portion of the underpayment attributable to a substantial valuation misstatement exceeds $5,000 ($10,000 for most corporations). If the valuation claimed on a return is 200% or more than the correct valuation, the penalty imposed increases to 40%. We do not anticipate making any valuation misstatements.
In addition, the 20% accuracy-related penalty also applies to any portion of an underpayment of tax that is attributable to transactions lacking economic substance. To the extent that such transactions are not disclosed, the penalty imposed is increased to 40%. Additionally, there is no reasonable cause defense to the imposition of this penalty to such transactions.
Reportable Transactions. If we were to engage in a reportable transaction, we (and possibly the unitholders and others) would be required to make a detailed disclosure of the transaction to the IRS. A transaction may be a reportable transaction based upon any of several factors, including the fact that it is a type of tax avoidance transaction publicly identified by the IRS as a listed transaction or that it produces certain kinds of losses in excess of $2 million in any single year, or $4 million in any combination of six successive taxable years. Our participation in a reportable transaction could increase the likelihood that our U.S. federal income tax information return (and possibly your tax return) would be audited by the IRS. Please read Information Returns and Audit Procedures above.
Moreover, if we were to participate in a reportable transaction with a significant purpose to avoid or evade tax, or in any listed transaction, you may be subject to the following additional consequences:
We do not expect to engage in any reportable transactions.
Registration as a Tax Shelter. We registered as a tax shelter under the law in effect at the time of our initial public offering and were assigned a tax shelter registration number. Issuance of a tax shelter registration number to us does not indicate that investment in us or the claimed tax benefits have been reviewed, examined or approved by the IRS. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 repealed the tax shelter registration rules and replaced them with the reporting regime described above at Reportable Transactions. The term tax shelter has a different meaning for this purpose than under the penalty rules described above at Accuracy-Related Penalties.
Recent Legislative Developments
The present U.S. federal income tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships, including us, or an investment in our common units may be modified by administrative, legislative or judicial interpretation at any time. For example, from time to time, members of Congress and the President propose and consider substantive changes to the existing U.S. federal income tax laws that affect the tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships and our common unitholders.
On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law comprehensive U.S. federal tax reform legislation that significantly reforms the Internal Revenue Code. This legislation, among other things, contains significant changes to the taxation of our operations and an investment in our common units, including a partial limitation on the deductibility of certain business interest expenses, a deduction for our common unitholders relating to certain income from partnerships, immediate deductions for certain new investments instead of deductions for depreciation over time and the modification or repeal of many business deductions and credits. We continue to examine the impact of this tax reform legislation, and as its overall impact on us or an investment in our common units is uncertain, we note that this tax reform legislation could adversely affect the value of an investment in our common units. Prospective common unitholders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the impact of this tax reform legislation on an investment in our common units.
Additional modifications to the U.S. federal income tax laws and interpretations thereof may or may not be retroactively applied and could make it more difficult or impossible to meet the exception for us to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Please read Partnership Status. 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 any such changes could negatively impact the value of an investment in our common units.
In addition, at the state level, several states have been evaluating ways to subject partnerships to entity-level taxation through the imposition of state income, franchise, or other forms of taxation. Imposition of a similar tax on us in the jurisdictions in which we operate or in other jurisdictions to which we may expand could substantially reduce our cash available for distribution to our unitholders.
State, Local, Non-U.S. and Other Tax Considerations
In addition to U.S. federal income taxes, a unitholder likely will be subject to other taxes, such as state, local and non-U.S. income taxes, unincorporated business taxes, and estate, inheritance or intangible taxes that may be imposed by the various jurisdictions in which, we do business or own property or in which a unitholder is a resident. Although an analysis of those various taxes is not presented here, each prospective unitholder should consider their potential impact on his investment in us. We currently own property or do business in a substantial number of states, virtually all of which impose tax obligations on nonresident partners receiving a distributive share of state sourced income. We may also own property or do business in other states in the future. Although a unitholder may not be required to file a return and pay taxes in some states because its income from that state falls below the filing and payment requirement, a unitholder will be required to file income tax returns and to pay income taxes in some or all of the jurisdictions in which we do business or own property and may be subject to penalties for failure to comply with those requirements. In some jurisdictions, tax losses may not produce a tax benefit in the year incurred and also may not be available to offset income in subsequent taxable years. Some of the jurisdictions may require us, or we
may elect, to withhold a percentage of income from amounts to be distributed to a unitholder who is not a resident of the jurisdiction. Withholding, the amount of which may be greater or less than a particular unitholders income tax liability to the jurisdiction, generally does not relieve a nonresident unitholder from the obligation to file an income tax return. Amounts withheld will be treated as if distributed to unitholders for purposes of determining the amounts distributed by us. Please read Tax Consequences of Common Unit OwnershipEntity-Level Collections. Based on current law and our estimate of future operations, any amounts required to be withheld are not contemplated to be material.
It is the responsibility of each unitholder to investigate the legal and tax consequences, under the laws of pertinent jurisdictions, of his investment in us. Accordingly, each prospective unitholder is urged to consult, and depend on, his own tax counsel or other advisor with regard to those matters. Further, it is the responsibility of each unitholder to file all state, local, and non-U.S. as well as U.S. federal tax returns, that may be required of him. Sidley Austin LLP has not rendered an opinion on the state, local, alternative minimum tax or non-U.S. tax consequences of an investment in us.