Company management, however, was blissfully unaware of this development and continued to file the business’s federal corporate income tax return and pay all federal income taxes.
Eventually, company officers learned of their plight and reincorporated the business in the same state.
A fine line exists between definitions of a corporate liquidation and dissolution.
But for tax purposes, the defining line can make a big difference.
It can be recognized only after the corporation has made its final distribution, or at least its last substantial distribution. Contributor Robert Willens, founder and principle of Robert Willens LLC, writes a regular tax column for
The last substantial distribution can be used only if, at that time, the amount of the final distribution is both de minimis and determinable with “reasonable certainty.” (See in this regard Rev. Footnotes *Except in instances where the liquidation is governed by Section 332(a), and Section 337(a).
As a director, you can employ the services of an insolvency practitioner (IP) to close your business.
Your company will need to have some money or assets that can be sold to pay the IP's fees.
Such a transaction is popularly known as a liquidation/reincorporation. In the instant case, the corporate taxpayer would have been unaware of the fact that it had been completely liquidated and, thus, its eventual reincorporation, in belated response to such liquidation, could not be seen as part of a unitary transaction which encompassed both the liquidation and reincorporation. A creditor can also apply to the court if you owe them .The court will use a liquidator (the Official Receiver) to sell company assets, pay company creditors, deal with the affairs of your company and then close your company.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.The anomaly is corporate dissolution without liquidation.Further, shareholders are permitted to recover their entire basis in a block before reporting gain. More to the point, notwithstanding the dissolution and reincorporation, no new corporation is deemed to come into existence so the corporate taxpayer is not required to apply for a new Employer Identification Number.A loss from the liquidation, garners different treatment. For that reason, it is well-settled that a liquidation can occur without a formal or legal dissolution and, now, thanks to LTR 200806006, we also know that a dissolution—which does not give rise to an automatic transfer of the dissolved corporation’s assets to its shareholders—also does not give rise to, in and of itself, a complete liquidation.However, in some cases, complete liquidation need not be accompanied by a formal or legal dissolution of the corporation. Complete liquidation When a corporation is completely liquidated, it transfers all of its assets to its shareholders—whether the assets are cash or property—and the shareholders assume the corporation’s remaining liabilities. According to Section 1.332-2(c) of the tax code, “…legal dissolution is not required…” What’s more, a related revenue rule (Rev. Accordingly, the continuation of existence, after dissolution, may well depend on whether the governing state law provides that a dissolved corporation can still own assets.The tax treatment of the shareholders is governed by the tax code’s Section 331(a), which provides that amounts distributed in complete liquidation, “shall be treated as in full payment in exchange for the stock.” Generally, stockholders record a gain (usually capital in nature), if the net distributions of the surrendered stock is greater than the shareholder’s adjusted basis in the stock. If state law allows a dissolved company to own assets, the dissolution, unless accompanied by an actual conveyance of the entity’s assets to its shareholders, will not give rise to a liquidation.In the ruling, a corporate taxpayer had been incorporated in a state on a particular date, let’s say January 19, 2007.The company was “administratively dissolved” some time after, for example, effective January 25, 2008, due to its failure to timely pay state franchise taxes.