Tax on a liquidating distribution
For purposes of clauses (ii) and (iii), the term “securities” includes obligations of State and local governments, commodity futures contracts, shares of regulated investment companies and real estate investment trusts, and other investments constituting a security within the meaning of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U. For purposes of the preceding sentence, if the acquired corporation is liquidated pursuant to the plan of reorganization, any distribution to its creditors in connection with such liquidation shall be treated as pursuant to the plan of reorganization. in the case of a transaction with respect to which the requirements of subparagraphs (A) and (B) of section 354(b)(1) are met, the term “control” has the meaning given such term by section 304(c), and in the case of a transaction with respect to which the requirements of section 355 (or so much of section 356 as relates to section 355) are met, the fact that the shareholders of the distributing corporation dispose of part or all of the distributed stock, or the fact that the corporation whose stock was distributed issues additional stock, shall not be taken into account. Corporate shareholders may prefer that the distribution be treated as a dividend, allowing the corporation to take advantage of the special dividends-received deduction under Code § 243 (which allows the dividends to only be taxed once at the corporate level).On the other hand, individual shareholders often prefer that the distribution be treated as a redemption, for three reasons: A distribution qualifies as a stock redemption only if it significantly reduces the interest of the shareholder in the corporation.In making the 50-percent and 80-percent determinations under the preceding sentence, stock and securities in any subsidiary corporation shall be disregarded and the parent corporation shall be deemed to own its ratable share of the subsidiary’s assets, and a corporation shall be considered a subsidiary if the parent owns 50 percent or more of the combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote, or 50 percent or more of the total value of shares of all classes of stock outstanding.
If the corporation distributes property that has depreciated (i.e., property with a built-in loss), Code § 311(b) does not apply.
To the extent that a distribution is made from the corporation’s earnings and profits, it is taxed to the shareholder as a dividend. The portion of the distribution that is not considered a dividend is applied first to reduce the shareholder’s basis in the corporation’s stock. Any remaining portion is treated as gain from the sale or exchange of property (capital gain). Important Note: If a shareholder assumes a liability or takes property subject to a liability, the amount of the distribution is reduced by the amount of the liability. Special rules also apply at the corporate level. Special rules apply to distributions to a shareholder in exchange for the shareholder’s stock (redemptions).
Instead of being treated as dividends, redemptions are treated as a sale or exchange of the stock by the shareholder. The distinction can be important when the long-term capital gains rates (which apply to redemptions) are higher than the tax rates on dividends.
Government securities, and, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary, assets acquired (through incurring indebtedness or otherwise) for purposes of meeting the requirements of clause (ii) or ceasing to be an investment company.
If an investment company which does not meet the requirements of clause (ii) acquires assets of another corporation, clause (i) shall be applied to such investment company and its shareholders and security holders as though its assets had been acquired by such other corporation.