Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Stephen D.D. Hamilton, David Shechtman and Jonathan D. Grossberg: “Although the new rules under the Budget Act will first apply to returns filed during 2019 ( i.e., for a partnership’s 2018 taxable year), partnerships and their advisors need to plan now for these eventual changes. Anyone entering into a new partnership agreement or acquiring an interest in an existing partnership should focus on what tax audit rights, and what tax representations and covenants, to seek. Partners of “small partnerships” should consider whether to bind themselves to the election-out procedures and whether to adopt transfer restrictions that will insure that the election-out remains available. Existing partnerships should begin consideration of the procedures for designating the PR and whether to utilize the alternative regime for allocation of assessed tax liability back to the partners in the Audit Year.”
Kaye Scholer LLP, David A. Sausen, Willys H. Schneider and Zeno Houston: “The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (the Budget Act), which was signed into law on November 2, 2015, has dramatically reformed how the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will assess and collect taxes from partnerships, including limited liability companies (LLCs) treated as partnerships for tax purposes. . . . Accordingly, absent the exercise of an election as described below, the New Audit Rules can result in the imposition of an entity-level tax on the partnership as a result of audit adjustments. This heralds a significant change from the existing partnership audit procedures”
The authors state:
“All partnerships will need to consider appropriate revisions to existing partnership agreements—preferably, long in advance of the Effective Date
Ropes & Gray LLP: “On Monday, November 2, President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (the “BBA”) into law, effecting sweeping changes to the rules governing audits of entities treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The new rules can be expected to increase partnership audit rates by making audits and related tax assessments more efficient for the IRS, including by imposing an entity-level tax on the partnership on audit adjustments, absent an election (described below) to shift tax liability to partners. The new rules constitute a stark change from existing law“
The authors said the partners of a partnership and the members of an LLC taxed as a partnership should take the following action:
“Revision of partnership agreement provisions addressing the sharing among the partners of any partnership-level tax and related items.”
The authors described six other issues that partnerships and LLCs taxed as partnerships must consider.
Shearman & Sterling LLP, David S. Raab, Julie M. Marion and Thomas H. Halpern: “Existing partnerships should review operating agreements before new rules take effect. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (the Act), which President Obama signed on November 2, upends the way the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conducts partnership audits, with potentially far-reaching effects. . . . Small partnerships will have to decide whether they want to elect out of the new regime, thereby weakening the ability to control consistent partner reporting. Partnerships that do not elect out or that are ineligible to elect out will need to ensure their operating agreements address the new procedural requirements, such as addressing whether the partnership is required to elect to pass-through audit adjustments to the partners or who will have the authority to make that decision.
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, Thomas A. Cullinan, Sheldon M. Kay , Daniel R. McKeithen, David A. Roby, Jr., Amish M. Shah and H. Karl Zeswitz: “On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed the Budget Act of 2015 (the “2015 Budget Act”), which makes significant amendments to the procedural rules governing federal income tax audits and judicial proceedings that apply to partnerships and other entities (such as limited liability companies or statutory trusts) classified as partnerships for federal income tax purposes. . . . existing partnerships and their partners will also need to consider the extent to which the new rules will necessitate amendments to their partnership agreements to preserve their existing arrangements.”
The Tax Advisor: “S corporation shareholders [and owners of LLCs taxed as S corporations] generally prefer dividend distributions of their S corporations’ [or LLC’s] profits over compensation payments from the S corporations [LLCs] because the compensation payments are subject to payroll taxes and dividend distributions are not. To prevent S corporations and their shareholders from avoiding payroll taxes by maximizing distributions and minimizing compensation payments, the IRS requires S corporations to pay shareholders who provide substantial services reasonable compensation. Disputes between the IRS and taxpayers have required courts to determine on a regular basis whether an S corporation has paid reasonable compensation to its shareholder(s).