Article prepared by and republished courtesy of our colleagues Evan Migdail, Bruce Thompson and Linda Pfatteicher; originally published here: http://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2014/11/tax-reform-after-the-mid-terms/.

While some aspects of the agenda for the incoming Republican-controlled 114th Congress are still in formulation, there is no question that tax reform will be a top priority.

Both the expected new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have repeatedly stated that tax reform is a fundamental part of their promise to move the country in a new direction. Also, in
Continue Reading Tax reform after the mid-terms: Why we can expect Congress to act

Perkins, Rachel_Headshot.jpgCONTRIBUTED BY
Rachel M. Perkins
rachel.perkins@dlapiper.com

Startups and public companies alike often use equity to help attract, retain and incentivize talented employees and other service providers. The different forms of awards have proliferated in the past several years, though, leading to a confusing “alphabet soup” of jargon that often frustrates both the recipients of grants and the company itself. Many angel and venture capital investors continue to prefer seeing stock options and restricted stock awards in their portfolio private companies, as these are the most common and simplest to administer. Other forms of awards can also be challenging for startups because there is no public market to easily set a contemporaneous per share stock price or provide liquidity for the award recipients. However, while stock options—both nonstatutory (NSO) and incentive (ISO)—and restricted stock awards (RSAs) remain the most popular and most recommended form of equity compensation, other forms—such as restricted stock units (RSUs) and stock appreciation rights (SARs)—are gaining popularity in certain markets, and we are being asked more and more frequently about these alternatives.

Adding to our previous discussions of adopting your first equity incentive plan, NSOs vs. ISOs and options for issuing employee equity in LLCs, we have put together the below quick reference charts, which are intended as high-level summaries of the most common equity incentive awards as well as some of the other less common awards available.  The following charts highlight some of the key features and tax consequences of each type of award, as well as some of the potential drawbacks associated with each:
Continue Reading Equity Compensation Alphabet Soup – ISO, NSO, RSA, RSU and more

Article prepared by and republished courtesy of our colleagues Joseph Langhirt and David Plewa; originally published here: http://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2014/04/bitcoin-is-property-not-currency/.

The Internal Revenue Service has joined several other jurisdictions in publishing guidance regarding the income tax consequences of certain convertible virtual currency transactions.i IRS Notice 2014-21ii clarifies that existing general tax principles apply to transactions using convertible virtual currency and that such virtual currencies should be treated as “property” rather than “currency” for US federal income tax purposes.  Classification as property may affect the timing and character of income, gain or loss. While the immediate implications of the Notice are apparent, the mid-term and long-term consequences are still being considered.  The IRS has indicated that penalties may apply to taxpayers that have taken return positions that are inconsistent with its position in the Notice or that have failed to file the appropriate information returns.

Virtual currency, such as bitcoin, that is “convertible” (i.e., has an equivalent value in or acts as a substitute for “real currency”iii) and that is sold or exchanged or used to pay for goods or services in certain transactions has tax consequences that may result in a tax liability to the person disposing of such virtual currency and/or receiving such virtual currency.

In addition, such tax consequences may be immediate or deferred, and any tax imposed may be at varying rates, depending on the nature of the transaction and the type of person disposing of or receiving such virtual currency.

In the following paragraphs, we discuss the Notice and its immediate implications, and we point out some legal, factual and practical issues that the Notice raises.
Continue Reading Bitcoin is property, not currency, IRS says – Notice leaves many open questions about convertible virtual currencies

Article prepared by and republished courtesy of our colleagues Evan M. Migdail and Bruce Thompson; originally published here: http://www.dlapiper.com/camp-unveils-major-tax-reform-plan-today/.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Michigan) today unveiled his comprehensive tax reform proposal. Released as draft legislation, the Camp proposal calls for the most fundamental reform of the tax code in 27 years.

Upon releasing the plan, Camp said his reforms would make the tax code simpler and fairer for families and job creators, spur economic growth, create jobs, and put money back in the pockets of hardworking taxpayers.

The proposal would reduce the top individual tax rate to 25 percent from 39.6 percent and the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent. The seven individual tax brackets would be reduced to two brackets of 10 and 25 percent, and a 10 percent surtax would be imposed on certain income above $450,000. Capital gains and dividends would be taxed as ordinary income, with a 40 percent exclusion.

The lower tax rates would be offset by eliminating or limiting a long list of individual and corporate tax deductions, exclusions and credits.
Continue Reading Major U.S. tax reform plan unveiled today – key points

Just a reminder to those who have Delaware corporations, your annual report and franchise tax payment are both due on or before March 1 (which falls on a Saturday this year). At this point, you have likely already received from Delaware your notification of annual report and franchise tax due, which is sent to a corporation’s registered agent in December or January of each year. Delaware requires these reports to be filed electronically.

As you will notice, there are two methods that you can use to calculate the amount of Delaware franchise tax due for your corporation (i.e., the “Authorized Shares Method” and the “Assumed Par Value Capital Method”), which result in vastly different amounts due. The default payment amount listed on your notification is set by Delaware using the Authorized Shares Method, which method will almost always result in a much high amount due for startups with limited assets. The minimum franchise tax is $75 and the maximum franchise tax is $180,000.

Franchise taxes are generally due in arrears for the prior calendar year. However, note that Delaware requires corporations owing $5,000 or more for the prior year to make estimated payments for the current (going-forward) year’s franchise tax with 40% due June 1, 20% due by September 1, 20% due by December 1, and the remainder due March 1.

Here are some examples showing how the different methods can dramatically impact the amount of Delaware franchise tax due:


Continue Reading Franchise tax due on or before March 1 for Delaware corporations: two methods of calculation, two vastly different results

Employers, from startups to public companies, need to be aware of the following requirements and take action by January 31st if they apply.  Section 6039 of the Internal Revenue Code requires a corporation to furnish a written statement to any employee or former employee who either (i) exercised an incentive stock option within the meaning of Section 422 of the Code (ISO) during 2013 or (ii) during 2013 first transferred legal title to shares acquired under the corporation’s employee stock purchase plan within the meaning of Section 423 of the
Continue Reading Employers: 2014 Deadlines to Furnish ISO and ESPP Information Statements and Returns

Just a reminder that the temporary 100% exclusion for Federal capital gains tax on the sale of “qualified small business stock” (“QSBS”), under Section 1202 of the IRS regulations, is set to expire at the end of calendar year 2013.

The QSBS tax exemption was originally enacted to incentivize investment in certain small businesses by providing (non-corporate) investors the opportunity to exclude all or a portion of their gains from Federal capital gains tax in certain circumstances.

In order to qualify as QSBS, stock must be purchased from a domestic C corporation that (i) is engaged in an active trade or business (as defined by the IRS regulations) and (ii) has gross assets which do not exceed $50 million (measured when the stock is purchased). Further, in order to qualify for the tax exemption, the investor must hold the qualified stock for at least five years from the date of purchase. In addition, the timing of an investor’s purchase of the qualified stock will impact the amount excluded from Federal capital gains tax that may later apply when the stock is ultimately sold, according to the following percentages:
Continue Reading Tax planning for year-end; expiration of the 100% tax exemption for gain on QSBS

Article prepared by and republished courtesy of our colleagues Evan M. Migdail and Steven R. Phillips; originally published here: http://www.dlapiper.com/shutdown-likely-to-drag-on-as-issues-grow-more-complicated/.

The federal government shutdown, now in its fourth day, appears likely to continue a while longer as the list of issues under discussion between the President and Congressional leaders, and within the Congress, becomes longer and more complex.

Congress faced two major fiscal deadlines as October approached: the expiration of funding for most government operations on October 1, and the October 17 deadline reported by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew at which the United States is at risk of defaulting on its obligations absent the authority to borrow above the current debt limit of US$16.7 trillion. While discussions in late September focused on the spending deadline, the proximity of the October 17 deadline has forced a practical merger of the two issues. A resolution of the spending shutdown appears virtually unachievable without a formula on the debt issue as well.
Continue Reading Shutdown likely to drag on as issues grow more complicated

Interesting tax update courtesy of Bruce Thompson, a Senior Policy Advisor with DLA Piper.  He continues to see momentum for comprehensive tax reform and wrote the following summary of what that might mean for fund managers and partnerships:

“The Chairmen of the Tax Committees in the House and Senate—Rep. Dave Camp and Sen. Max Baucus—are committed to moving a major tax reform bill, and the House leadership has reserved HR 1 for the tax reform bill.


Continue Reading Tax Reform Update: Impact on Private Equity, Hedge Funds, and Real Estate Partnerships

Choosing the best type of entity for a company can be a challenge.  C corporations are the norm for most emerging growth businesses, particularly those raising money from investors.  However, LLCs are becoming more widespread, even for operating businesses.  Founders may want to have the tax benefits of LLCs, which are not subject to a company-level tax (as is the case with C corporations) and may enable more tax deductions.

This potential for tax savings does not, however, come without a cost.  LLCs tend to be more complicated and expensive to setup and manage, particularly for operating businesses.  LLCs can become even more tricky for businesses that want to issue equity to incentivize employees or other service providers.  This article addresses some of the ways LLCs can use equity to incentivize service providers, and the implications of each option (pardon the pun).


Continue Reading Options for Issuing Employee Equity in LLCs