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Final Regs Revert Back to Prior Partnership Disguised Sale Rules


Donald Sager

Final Regs Revert Back to Prior Partnership Disguised Sale Rules

New final regulations that address the allocation of partnership liabilities for disguised sale purposes revert back to prior regulations. Under the final regulations:

  • a partner’s share of a recourse liability of the partnership equals the partner’s share of the liability under the rules of Code Sec. 752 and the related regulations; and
  • a partner’s share of a nonrecourse liability of the partnership is determined by applying the same percentage used to determine the partner’s share of the excess nonrecourse liability under Reg. §1.752-3(a)(3) ( Reg. §1.707-5(a)(2)).

Executive Order Triggers Reversion Back to Prior Disguised Sale Rules
In October 2016, the IRS issued final and temporary regulations (707 Temporary Regulations) under which a partnership would determine all partnership liabilities for disguised sales purposes—both recourse and nonrecourse—by applying the same percentage used to determine a partner’s share of excess nonrecourse liability under Reg. §1.752-3(a)(3) ( T.D. 9788).

In April 2017, the President issued Executive Order 13789 (E.O. 13789) on reducing tax regulatory burdens. In response, the IRS identified the final and temporary regulations in T.D. 9788 as implicating some of those regulatory burdens. In turn, in 2018 Proposed Regulations, the IRS proposed to withdraw the 707 Temporary Regulations and reinstate the regulations under Reg. §1.707-5(a)(2) described above. Now, the IRS has adopted the 2018 Proposed Regulations, thereby reinstating the Prior 707 rules.

Treasury and the IRS will continue to study the merits of the approach in the 707 Temporary Regulations and other approaches, including the final regulations, to determine which results in the most appropriate treatment of liabilities in the context of disguised sales.

Effective Dates
The final regulations apply to any transaction with respect to which all transfers occur on or after October 4, 2019, the date that the 707 Temporary Regulations expire. However, partnerships and their partners may apply the final regulations to any transaction where all transfers occur on or after January 3, 2017, the applicable date of the 707 Temporary Regulations.