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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Yu: Cross-Deductions In The Net Investment Income Tax Imposed On A Trust Or Estate With Separate Shares

Michael T. Yu (California-Western), Cross-Deductions in the Net Investment Income Tax Imposed on a Trust or Estate with Separate Shares, 14 Pitt. Tax. Rev. 77 (2016):

The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 imposed, through new Code § 1411, a tax of 3.8% on certain net investment income (NII) of certain individuals, estates, and trusts for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012 (the Net Investment Income Tax, or NIIT). Final regulations under § 1411 were published on December 16, 2013, which are effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2013.2 Section 1411 and the regulations thereunder, despite imposing the NIIT on certain trusts and estates, contain no reference to § 663 or the regulations thereunder (the separate share rule). Neither § 663(c) nor the regulations thereunder have been amended to reflect new § 1411 or the regulations thereunder. Treasury Regulation § 1.1411-1(a) ostensibly incorporates § 663(c) (and all other Chapter 1 Code provisions that determine taxable income under § 63(a), sometimes referred to in this article as the regular income tax) into determining the NIIT, but I argue that the regulation uses imprecise language and should be amended along the lines of my proposed language.

Additionally, § 1411 currently allows for certain cross-deductions between and among the separate shares of a trust or estate, which I have previously criticized as to the regular income tax imposed on trusts and estates imposed under § 641. By allowing such cross-deductions, § 1411 contravenes the separate share regulation providing that deductions and losses applicable solely to one separate share of a trust or estate are “not available to any other share of the same trust or estate.” Consequently, I propose a calculation and allocation of distributable net income (DNI) for purposes of the NIIT that allows for tracing of the separate economic interests of the separate shares of a trust or estate.

Part I of this article first provides a general overview of §§ 1411 and 663(c) and the interaction between them and the respective regulations thereunder and then proposes a revised regulation to clarify the relationship between and among the two sections and their regulations. Part II discusses the possibility of certain cross-deductions under § 1411, in conjunction with §§ 661, 662, and 663(c). Finally, Part III presents and discusses a proposed calculation and allocation, to the separate shares of a trust or estate, of income and deduction items entering into the computation of NII and DNI of the trust or estate.

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