The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) represents the most significant tax reform package enacted since 1986. Included in this reform are a number of crucial changes to existing international tax provisions. While many of these international changes relate directly to U.S. corporations doing business outside the United States, they nevertheless will have a substantial impact on U.S. individuals with the same overseas activities or assets.
One notable change under the new law was the reduction of the maximum U.S. corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%. Not surprisingly, this change will have a corresponding impact on the ability of U.S. shareholders (both corporations and individuals) of controlled foreign corporations (“CFCs”) to qualify for the Section 954(b)(4) “high-tax exception” from Subpart F income. This is because the effective foreign tax rate imposed on a CFC that is needed to qualify for this purpose must be greater than 90% of the U.S. corporate tax rate. Therefore, this exception now will be available when the effective rate of foreign tax is greater than 18.9% (as opposed to 31.5% under prior law). Continue Reading