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Financial Institution Letters


[Federal Register: November 23, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 225)] [Notices] [Page 64757-64759] From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov] [DOCID:fr23no98-162] [[Page 64757]] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [Docket No. 98-17] FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM [Docket No. R-1022] FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Office of Thrift Supervision [Docket No. 98-93] Interagency Policy Statement on Income Tax Allocation in a Holding Company Structure AGENCIES: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Treasury; Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and Office of Thrift Supervision, Treasury. ACTION: Notice of interagency policy statement. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- SUMMARY: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) (collectively, the Agencies) are adopting a uniform interagency policy statement regarding intercompany tax allocation agreements for banking organizations and savings associations (institutions) that file an income tax return as members of a consolidated group. The intent of this interagency policy statement is to provide guidance to institutions regarding the allocation and payment of taxes among a holding company and its depository institution subsidiaries. In general, intercorporate tax settlements between an institution and its parent company should be conducted in a manner that is no less favorable to the institution than if it were a separate taxpayer. This policy statement is the result of the Agencies' ongoing effort to implement section 303 of the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 (CDRI Act), which requires the Agencies to work jointly to make uniform their regulations and guidelines implementing common statutory or supervisory policies. DATES: This interagency policy statement is effective November 23, 1998. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: OCC: Gene Green, Deputy Chief Accountant, (202/874-4933), or Tom Rees, Senior Accountant, (202/874- 5411), Office of the Chief Accountant, Core Policy Division, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 250 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20219. Board: Charles Holm, Manager, (202/452-3502), or Arthur Lindo, Supervisory Financial Analyst, (202/452-2695), Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th and C Streets, NW, Washington, DC 20551. For the hearing impaired only, Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD), Diane Jenkins (202/452-3544). FDIC: For supervisory issues, Robert F. Storch, Chief, (202/898- 8906), or Carol L. Liquori, Examination Specialist, (202/898-7289), Accounting Section, Division of Supervision; for legal issues, Jamey Basham, Counsel, (202/898-7265), Legal Division, FDIC, 550 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20429. OTS: Timothy J. Stier, Chief Accountant, (202/906-5699), or Christine Smith, Capital and Accounting Policy Analyst, (202/906-5740), Accounting Policy Division, Office of Thrift Supervision, 1700 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20552. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background Section 303(a)(3) of the of the CDRI Act directs the Agencies, consistent with the principles of safety and soundness, statutory law and policy, and the public interest, to work jointly to make uniform regulations and guidelines implementing common statutory or supervisory policies. Section 303(a)(1) of the CDRI Act also requires the Agencies to review their regulations and written policies and to streamline those regulations where possible. In 1978, the FDIC, the OCC, and the Board each published a separate policy statement regarding the allocation and payment of income taxes by depository institutions which are members of a group filing a consolidated income tax return. The OTS provides supervisory guidance on this subject in its Holding Company Handbook. As part of the ongoing effort to fulfill the section 303 mandate, the Agencies have reviewed, both internally and on an interagency basis, the present policy statements and the supervisory guidance that has developed over the years. As a result of this review, the Agencies identified minor inconsistencies in the policy statements and supervisory guidance. Although largely limited to differences in language and not to the substance of the policies and guidelines themselves, the Agencies determined that it would be beneficial to adopt a uniform interagency policy statement regarding intercorporate tax allocation in a holding company structure. II. Policy Statement This interagency policy statement reiterates and clarifies the position the Agencies will take as they carry out their supervisory responsibilities for institutions regarding the allocation and payment of income taxes by institutions that are members of a group filing a consolidated return. The interagency policy statement reaffirms that intercorporate tax settlements between an institution and the consolidated group should result in no less favorable treatment to the institution than if it had filed its income tax return as a separate entity. Accordingly, tax remittances from a subsidiary institution to its parent for its current tax expense should not exceed the amount the institution would have paid had it filed separately. The payments by the subsidiary to the parent generally should not be made before the subsidiary would have been obligated to pay the taxing authority had it filed as a separate entity. Similarly, an institution incurring a tax loss should receive a refund from its parent. The refund should be in an amount no less than the amount the institution would have received as a separate entity, regardless of whether the consolidated group is receiving a refund. However, adjustments for statutory tax considerations which may arise in a consolidated return are permitted as long as the adjustments are made on a basis that is equitable and consistently applied among the holding company affiliates. Regardless of the method used to settle intercorporate income tax obligations, when depository institution members prepare regulatory reports, they must provide for current and deferred income taxes in amounts that would be reflected as if the institution had filed on a separate entity basis. An institution should not pay its deferred tax liabilities or the deferred portion of its applicable income taxes to its parent since these are not liabilities required to be paid in the current reporting period. Similarly, transactions in which a parent ``forgives'' any portion of a subsidiary institution's deferred tax liability should not be reflected in the institution's regulatory reports. This is because a parent cannot relieve its subsidiary of this potential future obligation to the taxing authorities, since these authorities can collect some or all of a group liability [[Page 64758]] from any of the group members if tax payments are not made when due. Finally, the Agencies recommend that financial institution members of a consolidated group have a written, comprehensive tax allocation agreement to address intercorporate tax policies and procedures. This interagency policy statement revises and replaces the Board's ``Policy Statement on Intercorporate Income Tax Accounting Transactions of Bank Holding Companies and State Member Banks,'' (43 FR 22782, May 26, 1978); the OCC's ``Statement of Policy on Income Tax Remittance to Holding Company Affiliates,'' (Banking Circular No. 105, May 22, 1978); the FDIC's Statement of Policy on ``Income Tax Remittance by Banks to Holding Company Affiliates'' (43 FR 22241, May 24, 1978); and the OTS's ``OTS Tax-Sharing Policy,'' (Section 500, ``Funds Distribution,'' OTS Holding Companies Handbook). This interagency policy statement does not materially change any of the guidance previously issued by any of the Agencies. The text of the interagency policy statement follows: Interagency Policy Statement on Income Tax Allocation in a Holding Company Structure The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision (``the Agencies'') are issuing this policy statement to provide guidance to banking organizations and savings associations regarding the allocation and payment of taxes among a holding company and its subsidiaries. A holding company and its depository institution subsidiaries will often file a consolidated group income tax return. However, each depository institution is viewed as, and reports as, a separate legal and accounting entity for regulatory purposes. Accordingly, each depository institution's applicable income taxes, reflecting either an expense or benefit, should be recorded as if the institution had filed on a separate entity basis.1 Furthermore, the amount and timing of payments or refunds should be no less favorable to the subsidiary than if it were a separate taxpayer. Any practice that is not consistent with this policy statement may be viewed as an unsafe and unsound practice prompting either informal or formal corrective action. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ Throughout this policy statement, the terms ``separate entity'' and ``separate taxpayer'' are used synonymously. When a depository institution has subsidiaries of its own, the institution's applicable income taxes on a separate entity basis include the taxes of the subsidiaries of the institution that are included with the institution in the consolidated group return. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tax Sharing Agreements A holding company and its subsidiary institutions are encouraged to enter into a written, comprehensive tax allocation agreement tailored to their specific circumstances. The agreement should be approved by the respective boards of directors. Although each agreement will be different, tax allocation agreements usually address certain issues common to consolidated groups. Therefore, such an agreement should: Require a subsidiary depository institution to compute its income taxes (both current and deferred) on a separate entity basis; Discuss the amount and timing of the institution's payments for current tax expense, including estimated tax payments; Discuss reimbursements to an institution when it has a loss for tax purposes; and Prohibit the payment or other transfer of deferred taxes by the institution to another member of the consolidated group. Measurement of Current and Deferred Income Taxes Generally accepted accounting principles, instructions for the preparation of both the Thrift Financial Report and the Reports of Condition and Income, and other guidance issued by the Agencies require depository institutions to provide for their current tax liability or benefit. Institutions also must provide for deferred income taxes resulting from any temporary differences and tax carryforwards. When the depository institution members of a consolidated group prepare separate regulatory reports, each subsidiary institution should record current and deferred taxes as if it files its tax returns on a separate entity basis, regardless of the consolidated group's tax paying or refund status. Certain adjustments for statutory tax considerations that arise in a consolidated return, e.g., application of graduated tax rates, may be made to the separate entity calculation as long as they are made on a consistent and equitable basis among the holding company affiliates. In addition, when an organization's consolidated income tax obligation arising from the alternative minimum tax (AMT) exceeds its regular tax on a consolidated basis, the excess should be consistently and equitably allocated among the members of the consolidated group. The allocation method should be based upon the portion of tax preferences, adjustments, and other items generated by each group member which causes the AMT to be applicable at the consolidated level. Tax Payments to the Parent Company Tax payments from a subsidiary institution to the parent company should not exceed the amount the institution has properly recorded as its current tax expense on a separate entity basis. Furthermore, such payments, including estimated tax payments, generally should not be made before the institution would have been obligated to pay the taxing authority had it filed as a separate entity. Payments made in advance may be considered extensions of credit from the subsidiary to the parent and may be subject to affiliate transaction rules, i.e., Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act. A subsidiary institution should not pay its deferred tax liabilities or the deferred portion of its applicable income taxes to the parent. The deferred tax account is not a tax liability required to be paid in the current reporting period. As a result, the payment of deferred income taxes by an institution to its holding company is considered a dividend subject to dividend restrictions,2 not the extinguishment of a liability. Furthermore, such payments may constitute an unsafe and unsound banking practice. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \2\ These restrictions include the Prompt Corrective Action provisions of section 38(d)(1) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1831o(d)(1)) and its implementing regulations: for insured state nonmember banks, 12 CFR part 325, subpart B; for national banks, 12 CFR 6.6; for savings associations, 12 CFR part 565; and for state member banks, 12 CFR 208.45. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tax Refunds From the Parent Company An institution incurring a loss for tax purposes should record a current income tax benefit and receive a refund from its parent in an amount no less than the amount the institution would have been entitled to receive as a separate entity. The refund should be made to the institution within a reasonable period following the date the institution would have filed its own return, regardless of whether the consolidated group is receiving a refund. If a refund is not made to the institution within this period, the institution's primary federal regulator may consider the receivable as either an extension of credit or a dividend from the subsidiary to the parent. A parent company may reimburse an institution more than the refund amount it is due on a separate entity basis. Provided the [[Page 64759]] institution will not later be required to repay this excess amount to the parent, the additional funds received should be reported as a capital contribution. If the institution, as a separate entity, would not be entitled to a current refund because it has no carryback benefits available on a separate entity basis, its holding company may still be able to utilize the institution's tax loss to reduce the consolidated group's current tax liability. In this situation, the holding company may reimburse the institution for the use of the tax loss. If the reimbursement will be made on a timely basis, the institution should reflect the tax benefit of the loss in the current portion of its applicable income taxes in the period the loss is incurred. Otherwise, the institution should not recognize the tax benefit in the current portion of its applicable income taxes in the loss year. Rather, the tax loss represents a loss carryforward, the benefit of which is recognized as a deferred tax asset, net of any valuation allowance. Regardless of the treatment of an institution's tax loss for regulatory reporting and supervisory purposes, a parent company that receives a tax refund from a taxing authority obtains these funds as agent for the consolidated group on behalf of the group members.3 Accordingly, an organization's tax allocation agreement or other corporate policies should not purport to characterize refunds attributable to a subsidiary depository institution that the parent receives from a taxing authority as the property of the parent. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \3\ See 26 CFR 1.1502-77(a). --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Income Tax Forgiveness Transactions A parent company may require a subsidiary institution to pay it less than the full amount of the current income tax liability that the institution calculated on a separate entity basis. Provided the parent will not later require the institution to pay the remainder of the current tax liability, the amount of this unremitted liability should be accounted for as having been paid with a simultaneous capital contribution by the parent to the subsidiary. In contrast, a parent cannot make a capital contribution to a subsidiary institution by ``forgiving'' some or all of the subsidiary's deferred tax liability. Transactions in which a parent ``forgives'' any portion of a subsidiary institution's deferred tax liability should not be reflected in the institution's regulatory reports. These transactions lack economic substance because the parent cannot legally relieve the subsidiary of a potential future obligation to the taxing authorities. Although the subsidiaries have no direct obligation to remit tax payments to the taxing authorities, these authorities can collect some or all of a group liability from any of the group members if tax payments are not made when due. Dated: October 14, 1998. Julie L. Williams, Acting Comptroller of the Currency. By order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, October 29, 1998. Jennifer J. Johnson, Secretary of the Board. By order of the Board of Directors. Dated at Washington, DC, this 5th day of November, 1998. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary. Dated: October 14, 1998. By the Office of Thrift Supervision. Ellen Seidman, Director. [FR Doc. 98-31179 Filed 11-20-98; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-13-P, 6210-01-P, 6714-01-P, 6720-01-P
Last Updated 07/17/1999 communications@fdic.gov