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e-CFR data is current as of September 28, 2020

Title 26Chapter ISubchapter APart 1 → §1.279-5


Title 26: Internal Revenue
PART 1—INCOME TAXES (CONTINUED)


§1.279-5   Rules for application of section 279(b).

(a) Taxable years to which applicable—(1) First year of disallowance. Under section 279(d)(1), the deduction of interest on any obligation shall not be disallowed under section 279(a) before the first taxable year of the issuing corporation as of the last day of which the application of either section 279(b)(4) (A) or (B) results in such obligation being classified as corporate acquisition indebtedness. See section 279(c)(1) and paragraph (b)(2) of this section for the time when an obligation is subjected to the test of section 279(b)(4).

(2) General rule for succeeding years. Under section 279(d)(2), except as provided in paragraphs (3), (4), and (5) of section 279(d), if an obligation is determined to be corporate acquisition indebtedness as of the last day of any taxable year of the issuing corporation, such obligation shall be corporate acquisition indebtedness for such taxable year and all subsequent taxable years.

(b) Time of determination—(1) In general. The determination of whether an obligation meets the conditions of section 279(b) (1), (2), and (3) shall be made as of the day on which the obligation is issued.

(2) Ratio of debt to equity, projected earnings, and annual interest to be paid or incurred. (i) Under section 279(c)(1), the determination of whether an obligation meets the conditions of section 279(b)(4) is first to be made as of the last day of the taxable year of the issuing corporation in which it issues the obligation to provide consideration directly or indirectly for an acquisition described in section 279(b)(1) of stock in, or assets of, the acquired corporation. An obligation which is not corporate acquisition indebtedness only because it does not satisfy the test of section 279(b)(4) in the taxable year of the issuing corporation in which the obligation is issued for stock in, or assets of, the acquired corporation may be subjected to the test of section 279(b)(4) again. A retesting will occur in any subsequent taxable year of the issuing corporation in which the issuing corporation issues any obligation to provide consideration directly or indirectly for an acquisition described in section 279(b)(1) with respect to the same acquired corporation, irrespective of whether such subsequent obligation is itself classified as corporate acquisition indebtedness. If the issuing corporation is a member of an affiliated group, then in accordance with section 279(g) the affiliated group shall be treated as the issuing corporation. Thus, if any member of the affiliated group issues an obligation to acquire additional stock in, or assets of, the acquired corporation, this paragraph shall apply.

(ii) For purposes of section 279(b)(4) and this paragraph, in any case where the issuing corporation is a member of an affiliated group (see section 279(g) and §1.279-6 for rules regarding application of section 279 to certain affiliated groups) which does not file a consolidated return and all the members of which do not have the same taxable year, determinations with respect to the ratio of debt to equity of, and projected earnings of, and annual interest to be paid or incurred by, any member of the affiliated group shall be made as of the last day of the taxable year of the corporation which in fact issues the obligation to provide consideration for an acquisition described in section 279(b)(1).

(3) Redetermination where control or substantially all the properties have been acquired. Under section 279(d)(3), if an obligation is determined to be corporate acquisition indebtedness as of the close of a taxable year of the issuing corporation in which section 279(c)(3)(A)(i) (relating to the projected earnings of the issuing corporation only) applied, but would not be corporate acquisition indebtedness if the determination were made as of the close of the first taxable year of such corporation thereafter in which section 279(c)(3)(A)(ii) (relating to the projected earnings of both the issuing corporation and the acquired corporation) could apply, such obligation shall be considered not to be corporate acquisition indebtedness for such later taxable year and all taxable years thereafter. Where an obligation ceases to be corporate acquisition indebtedness as a result of the application of this paragraph, the interest on such obligation shall not be disallowed under section 279(a) as a deduction for the taxable year in which the obligation ceases to be corporate acquisition indebtedness and all taxable years thereafter. However, under section 279(a)(2) the interest paid or incurred on such obligation which is allowed as a deduction will reduce the $5 million limitation provided by section 279(a)(1).

(4) Examples. The provisions of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1. In 1971, X Corporation, which files its Federal income tax return on the basis of a calendar year, issues its obligations to provide consideration for the acquisition of 15 percent of the voting stock of both Y Corporation and Z Corporation. Y Corporation and Z Corporation each have only one class of stock. When issued, such obligations satisfied the tests prescribed in section 279(b) (1), (2), and (3) and would have constituted corporate acquisition indebtedness but for the test prescribed in section 279(b)(4). On December 31, 1971, the application of section 279(b)(4) results in X Corporation's obligations issued in 1971 not being treated as corporate acquisition indebtedness for that year.

Example 2. Assume the same facts as in Example 1, except that in 1972, X Corporation issues more obligations which come within the tests of section 279(b) (1), (2), and (3) to acquire an additional 10 percent of the voting stock of Y Corporation. No stock of Z Corporation is acquired after 1971. The application of section 279(b)(4)(B) (relating to the projected earnings of X Corporation) as of the end of 1972 results in the obligations issued in 1972 to provide consideration for the acquisition of the stock of Y Corporation being treated as corporate acquisition indebtedness. Since X Corporation during 1972 did issue obligations to acquire more stock of Y Corporation, under the provisions of section 279(c)(1) and subparagraph (2) of this paragraph the obligations issued by X Corporation in 1971 to acquire stock in Y Corporation are again tested to determine whether the test of section 279(b)(4) with respect to such obligations is satisfied for 1972. Thus, since such obligations issued by X Corporation to acquire Y Corporation's stock in 1971 previously came within the provisions of section 279(b) (1), (2), and (3) and the projected earnings test of section 279(b)(4)(B) is satisfied for 1972, all of such obligations are to be deemed to constitute corporate acquisition indebtedness for 1972 and subsequent taxable years. The obligations issued in 1971 to acquire stock in Z Corporation continue not to constitute corporate acquisition indebtedness.

Example 3. Assume the same facts as in Examples 1 and 2. In 1973, X Corporation issues more obligations which come within the tests of section 279(b) (1), (2), and (3) to acquire more stock (but not control) in Y Corporation. On December 31, 1973, it is determined with respect to X Corporation that neither of the conditions described in section 279(b)(4) are present. Thus, the obligations issued in 1973 do not constitute corporate acquisition indebtedness. However, the obligations issued in 1971 and 1972 by X Corporation to acquire stock in Y Corporation continue to be treated as corporate acquisition indebtedness.

Example 4. Assume the same facts as in Example 3, except that X Corporation acquires control of Y Corporation in 1973. Since X Corporation has acquired control of Y Corporation, the average annual earnings (as defined in section 279(c)(3)(B) and the annual interest to be paid or incurred (as provided by section 279(c)(4)) of both X Corporation and Y Corporation under section 279(c)(3)(A)(ii) are taken into account in computing for 1973 the ratio of projected earnings to annual interest to be paid or incurred described in section 279(b)(4)(B). Assume further that after applying section 279(b)(4)(B) the obligations issued in 1973 escape treatment as corporate acquisition indebtedness for 1973. Under section 279(d)(3), all of the obligations issued by X Corporation to acquire stock in Y Corporation in 1971 and 1972 are removed from classification as corporate acquisition indebtedness for 1973 and all subsequent taxable years.

Example 5. In 1975, M Corporation, which files its Federal income tax return on the basis of a calendar year, issues its obligations to acquire 30 percent of the voting stock of N Corporation. N Corporation has only one class of stock. Such obligations satisfy the tests prescribed in section 279(b) (1), (2), and (3). Additionally, as of the close of 1975, M Corporation's ratio of debt to equity exceeds the ratio of 2 to 1 and its projected earnings do not exceed three times the annual interest to be paid or incurred. The obligations issued by M Corporation are corporate acquisition indebtedness for 1975 since all the provisions of section 279(b) are satisfied. In 1976 M Corporation issues its obligations to acquire from the shareholders of N Corporation an additional 60 percent of the voting stock of N Corporation, thereby acquiring control of N Corporation. However, with respect to the obligations issued by M Corporation in 1975, there is no redetermination under section 279(d)(3) and subparagraph (3) of this paragraph as to whether such obligations may escape classification as corporate acquisition indebtedness because in 1975 it was the ratio of debt to equity test which caused such obligations to be corporate acquisition indebtedness. If in 1975, M Corporation met the conditions of section 279(b)(4) solely because of the ratio of projected earnings to annual interest to be paid or incurred described in section 279(b)(4)(B), its obligation issued in 1975 could be retested in 1976.

(c) Acquisition of stock or assets of several corporations. An issuing corporation which acquires stock in, or assets of, more than one corporation during any taxable year must apply the tests described in section 279(b) (1), (2), and (3) separately with respect to each obligation issued to provide consideration for the acquisition of the stock in, or assets of, each such acquired corporation. Thus, if an acquisition is made with obligations of the issuing corporation that satisfy the tests described in section 279(b) (2) and (3) and obligations that fail to satisfy such tests, only those obligations satisfying such tests need be further considered to determine whether they constitute corporate acquisition indebtedness. Those obligations which meet the test of section 279(b)(1) but which are not deemed corporate acquisition indebtedness shall be taken into account for purposes of determining the reduction in the $5 million limitation of section 279(a)(1).

(d) Ratio of debt to equity and projected earnings—(1) In general. One of the four tests to determine whether an obligation constitutes corporate acquisition indebtedness is contained in section 279(b)(4). An obligation will meet the test of section 279(b)(4) if, as of a day determined under section 279(c)(1) and paragraph (b)(2) of this section, either:

(i) The ratio of debt to equity (as defined in paragraph (f) of this section) of the issuing corporation exceeds 2 to 1, or

(ii) The projected earnings (as defined in subparagraph (2) of this paragraph) of the issuing corporation, or of both the issuing corporation and acquired corporation in any case where subparagraph (2)(ii) of this paragraph is applicable, do not exceed three times the annual interest to be paid or incurred (as defined in paragraph (e) of this section) by such issuing corporation, or, where applicable, by such issuing corporation and acquired corporation. Where paragraphs (d)(2)(ii) and (e)(1)(ii) of this section are applicable in computing projected earnings and annual interest to be paid or incurred, 100 percent of the acquired corporation's projected earnings and annual interest to be paid or incurred shall be included in such computation, even though less than all of the stock or assets of the acquired corporation have been acquired.

(2) Projected earnings. The term projected earnings means the “average annual earnings” (as defined in subparagraph (3) of this paragraph) of:

(i) The issuing corporation only, if subdivision (ii) of this subparagraph, does not apply, or

(ii) Both the issuing corporation and the acquired corporation, in any case where the issuing corporation as of the close of its taxable year has acquired control, or has acquired substantially all of the properties, of the acquired corporation.

For purposes of subdivision (ii) of this subparagraph, an acquisition of “substantially all of the properties” of the acquired corporation means the acquisition of assets representing at least 90 percent of the fair market value of the net assets and at least 70 percent of the fair market value of the gross assets held by the acquired corporation immediately prior to the acquisition.

(3) Average annual earnings. (i) The term average annual earnings referred to in subparagraph (2) of this paragraph is, for any corporation, the amount of its earnings and profits for any 3-year period ending with the last day of a taxable year of the issuing corporation in which it issues any obligation to provide consideration for an acquisition described in section 279(b)(1), computed without reduction for:

(a) Interest paid or incurred,

(b) Depreciation or amortization allowed under Chapter 1 of the Code,

(c) Liability for tax under Chapter 1 of the Code, and

(d) Distributions to which section 301(c)(1) apply (other than such distributions from the acquired corporation to the issuing corporation), and reduced to an annual average for such 3-year period. For the rules to determine the amount of earnings and profits of any corporation, see section 312 and the regulations thereunder.

(ii) Except as provided for in subdivision (iii) of this subparagraph, for purposes of subdivision (i) of this subparagraph in the case of any corporation, the earnings and profits for such 3-year period shall be reduced to an annual average by dividing such earnings and profits by 36 and multiplying the quotient by 12. If a corporation was not in existence during the entire 36-month period as of the close of the taxable year referred to in subdivision (i) of this subparagraph, its average annual earnings shall be determined by dividing its earnings and profits for the period of its existence by the number of whole calendar months in such period and multiplying the quotient by 12.

(iii) Where the issuing corporation acquires substantially all of the properties of an acquired corporation, the computation of earnings and profits of such acquired corporation shall be made for the period of such corporation beginning with the first day of the 3-year period of the issuing corporation and ending with the last day prior to the date on which substantially all of the properties were acquired. In determining the number of whole calendar months for such acquired corporation where the period for determining its earnings and profits includes 2 months which are not whole calendar months and the total number of days in such 2 fractional months exceeds 30 days, the number of whole calendar months for such period shall be increased by one. Where the number of days in the 2 fractional months total 30 days or less such fractional months shall be disregarded. After the number of whole calendar months is determined, the calculation for average annual earnings shall be made in the same manner as described in the last sentence of subdivision (ii) of this subparagraph.

(e) Annual interest to be paid or incurred—(1) In general. For purposes of section 279(b)(4)(B), the term annual interest to be paid or incurred means:

(i) If subdivision (ii) of this subparagraph does not apply, the annual interest to be paid or incurred by the issuing corporation only, for the taxable year beginning immediately after the day described in section 279(c)(1), determined by reference to its total indebtedness outstanding as of such day, or

(ii) If projected earnings are determined under paragraph (d)(2)(ii) of this section, the annual interest to be paid or incurred by both the issuing corporation and the acquired corporation for 1 year beginning immediately after the day described in section 279(c)(1), determined by reference to their combined total indebtedness outstanding as of such day. However, where the issuing corporation acquires substantially all of the properties of the acquired corporation, the annual interest to be paid or incurred will be determined by reference to the total indebtedness outstanding of the issuing corporation only (including any indebtedness it assumed in the acquisition) as of the day described in section 279(c)(1).

The term annual interest to be paid or incurred refers to both actual interest and unstated interest. Such unstated interest includes original issue discount as defined in paragraph (a)(1) of §1.163-4 and amounts treated as interest under section 483. For purposes of this paragraph and paragraph (f) of this section (relating to the ratio of debt to equity), the indebtedness of any corporation shall be determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Thus, for example, the indebtedness of a corporation includes short-term liabilities, such as accounts payable to suppliers, as well as long-term indebtedness. Contingent liabilities, such as those arising out of discounted notes, the assignment of accounts receivable, or the guarantee of the liability of another, shall be included in the determination of the indebtedness of a corporation if the contingency is likely to become a reality. In addition, the indebtedness of a corporation includes obligations issued by the corporation, secured only by property of the corporation, and with respect to which the corporation is not personally liable. See section 279(g) and §1.279-6 for rules with respect to the computation of annual interest to be paid or incurred in regard to members of an affiliated group of corporations.

(2) Examples. The provisions of these paragraphs may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1. Corporation X's earnings and profits calculated in accordance with section 279(c)(3)(B) for 1972, 1971, and 1970 respectively were $29 million, $23 million, and $20 million. The interest to be paid or incurred during the calendar year of 1973 as determined by reference to the issuing corporation's total outstanding indebtedness as of December 31, 1972, was $10 million. By dividing the sum of the earnings and profits for the 3 years by 36 (the number of whole calendar months in the 3-year period) and multiplying the quotient by 12, the average annual earnings for X Corporation is $24 million. Since the projected earnings of X Corporation do not exceed by three times the annual interest to be paid or incurred (they exceed by only 2.4 times), one of the circumstances described in section 279(b)(4) is present.

Example 2. On March 1, 1972, W Corporation acquires substantially all of the properties of Z Corporation in exchange for W Corporation's bonds which satisfy the tests of section 279(b) (2) and (3). W Corporation files its income tax returns on the basis of fiscal years ending June 30. Z Corporation, which was formed on September 1, 1969, is a calendar year taxpayer. The earnings and profits of W Corporation for the last 3 fiscal years ending June 30, 1972, calculated in accordance with the provisions of section 279(c)(3)(B) were $300 million, $400 million, and $380 million, respectively. The average annual earnings of W Corporation is $360 million ($1,080 million ÷ 36 × 12). The earnings and profits of Z Corporation calculated in accordance with the provisions of section 279(c)(3)(B) were $4 million for the period of September 1, 1969 to December 31, 1969, $10 million and $14 million for the calendar years of 1970 and 1971, respectively, and $2 million for the period of January 1, 1972, through February 29, 1972, or a total of $30 million. To arrive at the average annual earnings, the sum of the earnings and profits, $30 million, must be divided by 30 (the number of whole calendar months that Z Corporation was in existence during W Corporation's 3-year period ending with the day prior to the date substantially all the assets were acquired) and the quotient is multiplied by 12, which results in an average annual earnings of $12 million ($30 million ÷ 30 × 12) for Z Corporation. The combined average annual earnings of W Corporation and Z Corporation is $372 million. The interest for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1973, to be paid or incurred by W Corporation on its outstanding indebtedness as of June 30, 1972, is $110 million. Since the projected earnings exceed the annual interest to be paid or incurred by more than three times, the obligation will not be corporate acquisition indebtedness, unless the issuing corporation's debt to equity ratio exceeds 2 to 1.

(f) Ratio of debt to equity—(1) In general. The condition described in section 279(b)(4)(A) is present if the ratio of debt to equity of the issuing corporation exceeds 2 to 1. Under section 279(c)(2), the term ratio of debt to equity means the ratio which the total indebtedness of the issuing corporation bears to the sum of its money and all its other assets (in an amount equal to adjusted basis for determining gain) less such total indebtedness. For the meaning of the term indebtedness, see paragraph (e)(1) of this section. See section 279(g) and §1.279-6 for rules with respect to the computation of the ratio of debt to equity in regard to an affiliated group of corporations.

(2) Examples. The provisions of section 279(b)(4)(A) and this paragraph may be illustrated by the following example:

[$5 million interest to be paid or incurred × $80 million owed to X Bank by its customers/$100 million total indebtedness]

Example 1. On June 1, 1971, X Corporation, which files its federal income tax returns on a calendar year basis, issues an obligation for $45 million to the shareholders of Y Corporation to provide consideration for the acquisition of all of the stock of Y Corporation. Such obligation has the characteristics of corporate acquisition indebtedness described in section 279(b) (2) and (3). The projected earnings of X Corporation and Y Corporation exceed 3 times the annual interest to be paid or incurred by those corporations and, accordingly, the condition described in section 279(b)(4)(B) is not present. Also, on December 31, 1971, X Corporation has total assets with an adjusted basis of $150 million (including the newly acquired stock of Y Corporation having a basis of $45 million) and total indebtedness of $90 million. Hence, X Corporation's equity is $60 million computed by subtracting its $90 million of total indebtedness from its $150 million of total assets. Since X Corporation's ratio of debt to equity of 1.5 to 1 ($90 million of total indebtedness over $60 million equity) does not exceed 2 to 1, the condition described in section 279(b)(4)(A) is not present. Therefore, X Corporation's obligation for $45 million is not corporate acquisition indebtedness because on December 31, 1971, neither of the conditions specified in section 279(b)(4) existed.

(g) Special rules for banks and lending or finance companies—(1) Debt to equity and projected earnings. Under section 279(c)(5), with respect to any corporation which is a bank (as defined in section 581) or is primarily engaged in a lending or finance business, the following rules are to be applied:

(i) In determining under paragraph (f) of this section the ratio of debt to equity of such corporation (or of the affiliated group of which such corporation is a member), the total indebtedness of such corporation (and the assets of such corporation) shall be reduced by an amount equal to the total indebtedness owed to such corporation which arises out of the banking business of such corporation, or out of the lending or finance business of such corporation, as the case may be;

(ii) In determining under paragraph (e) of this section the annual interest to be paid or incurred by such corporation (or by the issuing corporation and acquired corporation referred to in section 279(c)(4)(B) or by the affiliated group of corporations of which such corporation is a member), the amount of such interest (determined without regard to this subparagraph) shall be reduced by an amount which bears the same ratio to the amount of such interest as the amount of the reduction for the taxable year under subdivision (i) of this subparagraph bears to the total indebtedness of such corporation; and

(iii) In determining under section 279(c)(3)(B) the average annual earnings, the amount of the earnings and profits for the 3-year period shall be reduced by the sum of the reductions under subdivision (ii) of this subparagraph for such period.

For purposes of this paragraph, the term lending or finance business means a business of making loans or purchasing or discounting accounts receivable, notes, or installment obligations. Additionally, the rules stated in this paragraph regarding the application of the ratio of debt to equity, the determination of the annual interest to be paid or incurred, and the determination of the average annual earnings also apply if the bank or lending or finance company is a member of an affiliated group of corporations. However, the rules are to be applied only for purposes of determining the debt, equity, projected earnings and annual interest of the bank or lending or finance company which then are taken into account in determining the debt to equity ratio and ratio of projected earnings to annual interest to be paid or incurred by the affiliated group as a whole. Thus, these rules are to be applied to reduce the bank's or lending or finance corporation's indebtedness, annual interest to be paid or incurred, and average annual earnings which are taken into account with respect to the group, but are not to reduce the indebtedness of, annual interest to be paid or incurred by, and average annual earnings of, any corporation in the affiliated group which is not a bank or a lending or finance company. In determining whether any corporation which is a member of an affiliated group is primarily engaged in a lending or finance business, only the activities of such corporation, and not those of the whole group, are to be taken into account. See §1.279-6 for the application of section 279 to certain affiliated groups of corporations.

(2) Examples. The provisions of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1. As of the close of the taxable year, X Bank has a total indebtedness of $100 million, total assets of $115 million, and $80 million is owed to X Bank by its customers. Bank X's indebtedness is $20 million ($100 million total indebtedness less $80 million owed to the X Bank by its customers) and its assets are $35 million ($115 million total assets less $80 million owed to the bank by its customers). If its annual interest to be paid or incurred is $5 million, such amount is reduced by $4 million. Thus, X Bank's annual interest to be paid or incurred is $1 million.

Example 2. Assume the same facts as in Example 1. X Bank has earnings and profits of $23 million for the 3-year period used to determine projected earnings. In computing the average annual earnings, the $23 million amount will be reduced by $12 million (three times the $4 million reduction of interest in Example 1, assuming that the reduction was the same for each year). Thus X Bank's earnings and profits for such 3-year period are $11 million ($23 million total earnings and profits less $12 million reduction).

[T.D. 7262, 38 FR 5847, Mar. 7, 1973, as amended by T.D. 9264, 71 FR 30593, May 30, 2006]

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