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Tax Blawg

Tax Talk for Tax Pros

Introduction

Welcome to TaxBlawg, a resource for news and analysis of current legal issues facing tax practitioners. Although blawg.com identifies nearly 1,400 active “blawgs,” including 20+ blawgs related to taxation and estate planning, the needs of tax professionals have received surprisingly little attention. The Wall Street Journal's Tax Blog gives “tips and advice for filers,” and Paul Caron’s legendary TaxProf Blog is an excellent clearinghouse for academic and policy-oriented news. Yet, tax practitioners still lack a dedicated resource to call their own. For those intrepid souls, we offer TaxBlawg, a forum of tax talk for tax pros.

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International Tax Changes Take Flight

The House of Representatives passed, and the President signed into law, H.R. 1586, the "FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act," which curiously became the chosen vehicle for Congress and the Administration to provide assistance to states with budget shortfalls while paying for that assistance with changes in a number of international tax provisions.  Text of the final bill is available here; pdf is here.  See here for our prior summary of the relevant international tax provisions.

Although the changes are largely similar to what was proposed in earlier legislation, it appears that Congress eliminated a number of earlier proposals from the final bill, including the limitation on distributions in leveraged spin-offs and the repeal of the "boot dividend" rule.  Of particular note, Congress eliminated the new sourcing rule that would have treated guarantee fees as U.S.-source income. Earlier this year, the Tax Court held that guarantee fees paid by a U.S. company to its Mexican parent were properly treated as non-U.S. source income and therefore not subject to U.S. withholding taxes.  Container Corp. v. Comm’r, 134 T.C. No. 5 (2010).  Our prior discussion of the Tax Court opinion is here, with additional commentary here.  It remains to be seen whether the removal of this provision reflects a permanent abandonment of the proposal or whether it will reappear in one of the several other legislative vehicles floating through Congress.