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5000 - Statements of Policy


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.

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 estimate 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 Thirft 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.

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 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.

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.

By order of the Board of Directors, November 5, 1998

[Source: 63 Fed. Reg. 64757, November 23, 1998]

Addendum to Interagency Policy Statement on Income Tax Allocation in a Holding Company Structure

In 1998, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) (collectively, the Agencies), and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) issued the "Interagency Policy Statement on Income Tax Allocation in a Holding Company Structure" (the "Interagency Policy Statement")1 Under the Interagency Policy Statement, members of a consolidated group, comprised of one or more insured depository institutions (IDIs) and their holding company and affiliates (the Consolidated Group), may prepare and file their federal and state income tax returns as a group so long as the act of filing as a group does not prejudice the interests of any one of the IDIs. That is, the Interagency Policy Statement affirms that intercorporate tax settlements between an IDI and its parent company should be conducted in a manner that is no less favorable to the IDI than if it were a separate taxpayer and that any practice that is not consistent with the policy statement may be viewed as an unsafe and unsound practice prompting either informal or formal corrective action.

The Interagency Policy Statement also addresses the nature of the relationship between an IDI and its parent company.

It states in relevant part that:

* "[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," and

* A Consolidated Group's tax allocation agreement should not "characterize refunds attributable to a subsidiary depository institution that the parent receives from a taxing authority as the property of the parent."

Since the issuance of the Interagency Policy Statement, courts have reached varying conclusions regarding whether tax allocation agreements create a debtor-creditor relationship between a holding company and its IDI2 Some courts have found that the tax refunds in question were the property of the holding company in bankruptcy (rather than property of the subsidiary IDI) and held by the holding company as the IDI's debtor3 The Agencies are issuing this addendum to the Interagency Policy Statement (Addendum) to explain that Consolidated Groups should review their tax allocation agreements to ensure the agreements achieve the objectives of the Interagency Policy Statement. This Addendum also clarifies how certain of the requirements of sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act (FRA) apply to tax allocation agreements between IDIs and their affiliates.

In reviewing their tax allocation agreements, Consolidated Groups should ensure the agreements: (1) Clearly acknowledge that an agency relationship exists between the holding company and its subsidiary IDIs with respect to tax refunds, and (2) do not contain other language to suggest a contrary intent.4 In addition, all Consolidated Groups should amend their tax allocation agreements to include the following paragraph or substantially similar language:

The [holding company] is an agent for the [IDI and its subsidiaries] (the "Institution") with respect to all matters related to consolidated tax returns and refund claims, and nothing in this agreement shall be construed to alter or modify this agency relationship. If the [holding company] receives a tax refund from a taxing authority, these funds are obtained as agent for the Institution. Any tax refund attributable to income earned, taxes paid, and losses incurred by the Institution is the property of and owned by the Institution, and shall be held in trust by the [holding company] for the benefit of the Institution. The [holding company] shall forward promptly the amounts held in trust to the Institution. Nothing in this agreement is intended to be or should be construed to provide the [holding company] with an ownership interest in a tax refund that is attributable to income earned, taxes paid, and losses incurred by the Institution. The [holding company] hereby agrees that this tax sharing agreement does not give it an ownership interest in a tax refund generated by the tax attributes of the Institution.

Going forward, the Agencies generally will deem tax allocation agreements that contain this or similar language to acknowledge that an agency relationship exists for purposes of the Interagency Policy Statement, this Addendum, and sections 23A and 23B of the FRA.

All tax allocation agreements are subject to the requirements of section 23B of the FRA, and tax allocation agreements that do not clearly acknowledge that an agency relationship exists may be subject to additional requirements under section 23A of the FRA.5 In general, section 23B requires affiliate transactions to be made on terms and under circumstances that are substantially the same, or at least as favorable to the IDI, as comparable transactions involving nonaffiliated companies or, in the absence of comparable transactions, on terms and circumstances that would in good faith be offered to non-affiliated companies.6 Tax allocation agreements should require the holding company to forward promptly any payment due the IDI under the tax allocation agreement and specify the timing of such payment. Agreements that allow a holding company to hold and not promptly transmit tax refunds received from the taxing authority and owed to an IDI are inconsistent with the requirements of section 23B and subject to supervisory action. However, an Agency's determination of whether such provision, or the tax allocation agreement in total, is consistent with section 23B will be based on the facts and circumstances of the particular tax allocation agreement and any associated refund.

[Source 79 Fed. Reg. 35229, June 19, 2014, the Agencies expect institutions and holding companies to implement fully the Addendum to the Interagency Policy Statement as soon as reasonably possible, which the Agencies expect would not be later than October 31, 2014]

1Throughout 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. Go back to Text

2These 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. Go back to Text

3See 26 CFR 1.1502--77(a). Go back to Text

163 FR 64757 (Nov. 23, 1998). Responsibilities of the OTS were transferred to the Board, FDIC, and OCC pursuant to Title III of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.Go back to Text

2Case law on this issue is mixed. Compare Zucker v. FDIC, as Receiver for Bank United, 727 F.3d 1100, 1108--09 (11th Cir. Aug. 15, 2013) ("The relationship between the Holding Company and the Bank is not a debtor-creditor relationship. When the Holding Company received the tax refunds it held the funds intact--as if in escrow--for the benefit of the Bank and thus the remaining members of the Consolidated Group.") with F.D.I.C. v. Siegel (In re IndyMac Bancorp, Inc.), ll F. App'x ll, 2014 WL 1568759, *2 (9th Cir. Apr. 21, 2014) (per curiam) ("The TSA does not create a trust relationship. The absence of language creating a trust relationship is explicitly an indication of a debtor-creditor relationship in California").Go back to Text

3See e.g., F.D.I.C. v. Siegel (In re IndyMac Bancorp, Inc.), ll F. App'x ll, 2014 WL 1568759 (9th Cir. Apr. 21, 2014) (per curiam).Go back to Text

This Addendum clarifies and supplements but does not replace the Interagency Policy Statement.Go back to Text

5Section 23A requires, among other things, that loans and extensions of credit from a bank to its affiliates be properly collateralized. 12 U.S.C 371c(c).Go back to Text

612 U.S.C. 371c--1(a). Transactions subject to section 23B include the payment of money by a bank to an affiliate under contract, lease, or otherwise and transactions in which the affiliate acts as agent of the bank. Id. at § 371c--1(a)(2) & (a)(4).Go back to Text


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