Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski and I’m back again with Frank Landreneau, one of our International Tax Directors. Frank, welcome back to the Playbook.
Frank: Thanks, Jen. It’s great to be back.
Jen: Last time we talked about the GILTI tax. Remind our viewers, if they didn’t watch last time, what does it stand for?
Frank: What GILTI stands for – it’s an acronym for Global Intangible Low Tax Income, and the whole idea is that some level of foreign earnings should be taxed on a current basis in the U.S.
Jen: How does GILTI actually work?
Frank: First of all, you take a look at the foreign corporations’ earnings in its totality. And then, there are a bunch of carve outs, which you take a look at, and then that is the income that would be subject to the GILTI tax.
In theory, it’s supposed to work where a routine return, a normal operating return from normal operations, would be not taxed under GILTI. Any return so called “excess returns,” this would be returns earned through the fact that you’ve got special processes, intellectual property – that type of thing would be subject to the GILTI tax. That’s where the name comes from. There’s a lot of gyrations and calculations needed to get to that amount.
Jen: Are there particular industries that are impacted by this more so than others?
Frank: That’s a great question. Because of the way the Congress decided to spell out this legislation, it’s a mechanical test in how the computation works. Industries with very little or few fixed assets, such as service industries or distributing companies, would be hit more hard than manufacturing companies.
Jen: Would this be something that a company would consider maybe restructuring to a different structure?
Frank: There are some planning ideas. One thought would be for companies that are owned by individuals outright, or what’s common in the U.S. is ownership through pass through entities. Those entities are thinking perhaps putting a domestic corporate blocker entity between the individual owner and the form corporation. There’s some special considerations that are beneficial if you do that structure.
Jen: And does this take in effect already, because of the new tax reform?
Frank: Absolutely. It took effect technically from January 1, because the legislature was signed into law back in December.
Jen: Perfect. Well, we’ll get you back to talking a little bit more about some international tax reform.
Frank: Thank you. There’s plenty to talk about it.
Jen: All right, great. To learn more about other international topics, visit www.pkftexas.com/internationaldesk. This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by PKF Texas The Entrepreneur’s Playbook. Tune in next week for another chapter.