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Proposed Rule

Encouraging New Markets Tax Credit Non-Real Estate Investments

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

ACTION:

Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

This document invites comments from the public on issues that the Treasury Department and the IRS may address in regulations relating to the new markets tax credit. Specifically, this document invites comments from the public on how the new markets tax credit program may be amended to encourage non-real estate investments. The regulations will affect taxpayers claiming the new markets tax credit. The Treasury Department and the IRS have published separately in this issue of the Federal Register, a notice of proposed rulemaking REG-101826-11 modifying the new markets tax credit program by providing specific rules concerning a qualified community development entity's investment of certain returns of capital from non-real estate businesses.

DATES:

Written and electronic comments must be submitted by September 6, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

Send submissions to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-114206-11), room 5205, Internal Revenue Service, PO Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044. Submissions may be hand-delivered Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-114206-11), Start Printed Page 32881Courier's Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC, or sent electronically, via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (IRS REG-114206-11).

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Concerning the proposals, Julie Hanlon-Bolton, (202) 622-3040; concerning submissions, Oluwafunmilayo Taylor, (202) 622-7180 (not toll-free numbers).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Section 45D was added to the Internal Revenue Code by section 121 of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-554, 114 Stat. 2763 (2000)) and amended by section 221 of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-357, 118 Stat. 1418 (2004)); section 101 of the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109-135, 119 Stat. 25 (2005)); section 102, Division A, of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-432, 120 Stat. 2922 (2006)); section 302 of the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-343, 122 Stat 3765 (2008)); section 1403(a) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (Pub. L. 111-5, 123 Stat 115 (2009)); and section 733 of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-312, 124 Stat 3296 (2010)).

Section 45D(a)(1) allows a new markets tax credit on certain credit allowance dates described in section 45D(a)(3) with respect to a qualified equity investment in a qualified community development entity (CDE) described in section 45D(c).

Under section 45D(b)(1), an equity investment in a CDE is a qualified equity investment if, among other requirements: (A) The investment is acquired by the taxpayer at its original issue (directly or through an underwriter) solely in exchange for cash; (B) substantially all of the cash is used by the CDE to make qualified low-income community investments; and (C) the investment is designated for purposes of section 45D by the CDE.

Section 45D(c)(1) provides that an entity is a CDE if, among other requirements, the entity is certified by the Secretary as a CDE.

Section 45D(d)(1) defines the term qualified low-income community investment to mean: (A) Any capital or equity investment in, or loan to, any qualified active low-income community business (as defined in section 45D(d)(2)); (B) the purchase from another CDE of any loan made by the entity that is a qualified low-income community investment; (C) financial counseling and other services specified in regulations prescribed by the Secretary to businesses located in, and residents of, low-income communities; and (D) any equity investment in, or loan to, any CDE.

Under section 45D(d)(2), a qualified active low-income community business is any corporation (including a nonprofit corporation) or partnership if for such year, among other requirements, (i) at least 50 percent of the total gross income of the entity is derived from the active conduct of a qualified business within any low-income community, (ii) a substantial portion of the use of the tangible property of the entity (whether owned or leased) is within any low-income community, and (iii) a substantial portion of the services performed for the entity by its employees are performed in any low-income community.

Under section 45D(d)(3), with certain exceptions, a qualified business is any trade or business. The rental to others of real property is a qualified business only if, among other requirements, the real property is located in a low-income community.

Groups and organizations representing investors, qualified community development entities, businesses, and other entities involved with the new markets tax credit program have submitted comments requesting additional guidance to encourage greater investment in non-real estate businesses. The commentators suggested that revising the new markets tax credit program to encourage investment in non-real estate businesses will bring increased amounts of capital to underserved businesses in low-income communities. The Treasury Department believes that revisions to the regulations under the new markets tax credit program would have a favorable effect on the ability of the program to benefit non-real estate businesses in low-income communities.

The new markets tax credit has been a successful tool for encouraging private sector investments in low-income communities. According to the Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, through 2009, the new markets tax credit has helped to spur $16 billion of investments in approximately 3,000 businesses and real estate projects located in low-income communities throughout the country, including investments in manufacturing businesses, alternative energy companies, charter schools, health care facilities, and job training centers. Although new markets tax credit investments may be made in non-real estate businesses, the investments made to date have been predominantly in real estate projects. Through 2009, only 35 percent of new market tax credit dollars invested in qualified active low-income community businesses were invested in non-real estate businesses, and much of these investments supported real estate related projects (for example, purchasing or renovations of owner-occupied facilities).

The purpose of this document is to seek comments on measures that could facilitate greater investment in non-real estate businesses without disrupting the success of new markets tax credit real estate investments overall. The Treasury Department and the IRS have identified certain issues with regard to non-real estate businesses under the new markets tax credit program that may be considered for guidance or administrative pronouncements. The Treasury Department and the IRS invite comments from the public on the following issues and any other issues for which the taxpayers believe guidance would be necessary to promote greater investment in non-real estate businesses under the new markets tax credit program while still maintaining the structure of the credit that has been so successful for other types of investments.

A. Streamlined Substantiation Requirements for Second Tier CDEs Making Small Loans to Non-Real Estate Businesses

Under § 1.45D-1(d)(1)(iv)(A)(1), the term qualified low-income community investment includes any equity investment in, or loan to, any CDE (the second CDE) by a CDE (the primary CDE), but only to the extent that the second CDE uses the proceeds of the investment or loan in a manner described in § 1.45D-1(d)(1)(i) or (d)(1)(iii) and that would constitute a qualified low-income community investment if it were made directly by the primary CDE. The net effect of this provision is that, if the primary CDE makes a qualified low-income community investment into a second CDE, the primary CDE must ensure that the new markets tax credit proceeds are ultimately invested in a qualified active low-income community business and/or are used to provide financial counseling and other services. This added layer of substantiation has placed constraints on the ability of a primary CDE to invest funds in a second CDE—particularly in instances where the second CDE intends to make smaller sized loans to non-real Start Printed Page 32882estate businesses because transaction and compliance monitoring costs are higher relative to the size of smaller loans than they are for larger, real estate-secured transactions.

The Treasury Department and the IRS are soliciting comments on whether the substantiation requirements governing investments under § 1.45D-1(d)(1)(iv)(A)(1) should be simplified in cases where: (i) The second CDE uses the new markets tax credit proceeds to make smaller-sized loans (for example, less than $250,000) to non-real estate businesses; (ii) neither the second CDE nor the non-real estate business receiving the new markets tax credit proceeds is affiliated with the primary CDE or the qualified equity investment investors; and (iii) the second CDE demonstrates that, at the time of initial investment in the non-real estate business, the non-real estate business receiving the new markets tax credit proceeds met some basic qualifying requirements (for example, the business is in a low-income community).

In particular, the Treasury Department and the IRS encourage taxpayers to submit comments on the following issues:

1. Would simplifying the substantiation requirements in the manner proposed facilitate greater new markets tax credit investment in non-real estate businesses? Are there other areas where § 1.45D-1 could be modified to achieve a similar outcome?

2. The Treasury Department and the IRS believe that, if there is to be a simplification of the substantiation requirements for these transactions, there may need to be a cap on the total transaction size. Is $250,000 the appropriate cap to put on the initial loan size? Should special considerations be made for follow-on investments and/or lines of credit? For example, should there be a cap on the total aggregate investment in one business? If so, what should that cap be?

3. What are the appropriate minimum requirements that a non-real estate business should satisfy in order for the second CDE to be able to take advantage of the simplified substantiation requirements (for example, the business must be located in a low-income community, employ community residents, etc. at the time of initial investment)? How should this be measured (for example, that substantially all of the real property is located in a low-income community)?

4. Should the Treasury Department and the IRS consider additional limitations (other than those specified) on unaffiliated CDEs or businesses? For example, should the regulations require that the second CDE be a non-profit entity or the affiliate of a non-profit entity?

B. Encouraging Equity Investments in Non-Real Estate Businesses

1. What non-statutory requirements in § 1.45D-1 can be revised to encourage CDEs to make equity investments in non-real estate businesses?

2. If consideration is given to potential changes to the reasonable expectations test of § 1.45D-1(d)(6)(i), what modifications would be most effective in encouraging equity investments in non-real estate businesses, while still preserving the purpose of the existing limitations on the reasonable expectations test?

Request for Comments

Before the notice of proposed rulemaking is issued, consideration will be given to any written and electronic comments that are submitted timely to the IRS. All comments will be available for public inspection and copying.

Drafting Information

The principal author of this advance notice of proposed rulemaking is Julie Hanlon-Bolton of the Office of Chief Counsel (Passthroughs and Special Industries). However, other personnel from the IRS and the Treasury Department participated in its development.

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Steven T. Miller,

Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.

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[FR Doc. 2011-13981 Filed 6-3-11; 4:15 pm]

BILLING CODE 4830-01-P