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Shareholders that do not have a strong preference on whether distributions in 2012 are taxed as dividends or capital gain/loss may prefer sale or exchange (capital) treatment in 2012 if they: Shareholders that assume corporate liabilities or receive property subject to corporate liabilities take the liabilities into account in computing their gain or loss.
No such requirement exists for distributions made in a complete liquidation of a corporation. The IRS indicates it will normally not issue a ruling or determination letter on the tax effects of a corporate liquidation accomplished through a series of distributions made over a period in excess of three years from adoption of the plan of liquidation (Rev. 541 personal holding corporation (PHC) status for the corporation after the assets are sold. However, there have been some exceptions to this rule (e.g., in the year the last substantial distribution was made because the amount of the final distribution was then determinable with reasonable certainty) (Rev. A corporation can accelerate the period in which the IRS can assess tax by requesting a prompt assessment of tax (Sec. Form 4810, Request for Prompt Assessment Under Internal Revenue Code Section 6501(d), is used to request a prompt assessment.
But for tax purposes, the defining line can make a big difference.
Witness the situation described in recent letter from the Internal Revenue Service (LTR 200806006, November 7, 2007), which addresses a seeming anomaly related to the tax code.
If the stock is a capital asset in the shareholder’s hands, the transaction qualifies for capital gain or loss treatment.
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Instead, the liability reduces the amount realized by the shareholder.