§ I-305. Surplus and Undivided Profits
A. Determination of Value-Assets
1. For the purpose of determining the tax imposed by R.S. 47:601, there are statutory limitations on both the maximum and minimum amounts which shall be included in the taxable base with respect to surplus and undivided profits. The minimum amount which shall be included in the taxable base shall be no less than the amount reflected on the books of the taxpayer. Irrespective of the reason for any book entry which increases the franchise tax base, such as, but not limited to, entries to record asset appreciation, entries to reflect equity accounting for investments in affiliates or subsidiaries, and amounts credited to surplus to record accrual of anticipated future tax refunds created by accounting timing differences, the amount reflected on the books must be included in the tax base.
2. Entries to the books of any corporation to record the decrease in value of any investment through the use of equity accounting will be allowed as a reduction in taxable surplus and its related asset account for property factor purposes. This is only in those cases in which all investments are recorded under the principles of equity accounting, and such reductions in the value of any particular investment below cost thereof to the taxpayer will not be allowed. The exception is in those instances in which the taxpayer can show that such reduction is in the nature of a bona fide valuation adjustment based on the fair value of the investment. In no case will a reduction below zero value be recognized. Corresponding adjustments shall in all instances be made to the value of assets for property factor purposes.
3. In any instance in which an asset is required to be included in the property factor under the provisions of R. S. 47:606 and the regulations issued thereunder, the acquisition of which resulted in the establishment of a contra account, such as, but not limited to, an account to record unrealized gain from an installment sale, all such contra accounts shall be included in the taxable base, except to the extent such contra accounts constitute a reserve permitted to be excluded under the provisions of R.S. 47:605(A) and the regulations issued under § 305. A. See § 306. A for required adjustments to assets with respect to any contra account or reserve which is not included in the taxable base.
4. The minimum value under the statute is subject to examination and revision by the secretary of revenue and taxation. The recorded book value of surplus and undivided profits may be increased, but not in excess of cost, as the result of such examination to the extent found necessary by the secretary to reflect the true value of surplus and undivided profits. The secretary is prohibited from making revisions which would reflect any value below the amount reflected on the books of the taxpayer. A taxpayer may, in his own discretion, reflect values in excess of cost; that option is not extended to the secretary in any examination of recorded cost.
5. In determining cost to which the revisions limitation applies, the fair market value of any asset received in an exchange of properties shall be deemed to constitute the cost of the asset to the taxpayer under the generally recognized concept that no prudent person will exchange an article of value for one of lesser value. In application of that concept, the secretary of revenue and taxation shall, except as provided in the following Paragraphs, construe cost of any asset to be fair market value of the asset received in exchange therefor.
6. Exception to the rules stated above will be made only in those instances in which the exchange resulted in a fully tax-free exchange under provisions of the Louisiana income tax law, in which case cost shall be construed to be the income tax basis of the properties received for purposes of calculating depreciation and the determination of gain or loss on any subsequent disposition of the assets. Limitation of the valuation of the cost of any asset to the income tax basis will be considered only in the case of fully tax-free exchanges and will not be considered if the transaction was taxable to any extent under the provisions of the Louisiana income tax law contained in R.S. 47:131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, and 138.
B. Determination of Value-Reserves
1. There must be included in the franchise taxable base determined in the manner heretofore described, all reserves other than those for:
a. definitely fixed liabilities;
b. reasonable depreciation (or amortization), but only to the extent recorded on the books of the taxpayer, except as noted in the following Paragraphs with respect to taxpayers subject to regulations of governmental agencies controlling the books of such taxpayers;
c. bad debts; and
d. other established valuation reserves.
2. No deduction from surplus and undivided profits shall be made with respect to any reserve for contingencies of any nature, without regard to whether the reserve is partially or fully funded. Reserves for future liability for income taxes shall not be excluded from the tax base. Deferred federal income tax accounts may be netted in determining the amount of reserve to be included in the taxable base. Reserves for fixed liabilities shall be included in the taxable base to the extent that they constitute borrowed capital under the provisions of R.S. 47:603 and the regulations issued thereunder.
3. In addition to the four classifications of reserves which may be excluded from the taxable base, any amount of surplus which has been set aside and segregated pursuant to a court order so as not to be available for distribution to stockholders or for investment in properties which would produce income which would be distributable to stockholders may also be excluded from the taxable base.
C. Adjustment by regulated companies for depreciation sustained but not recorded. When, because of regulations of a governmental agency controlling the books of a taxpayer, the taxpayer is unable to record on its books the full amount of depreciation sustained, the taxpayer may apply to the collector of revenue for permission to add to its reserve for depreciation and deduct from its surplus the amount of depreciation sustained but not recorded, and if the collector finds that the amount proposed to be so added represents a reasonable allowance for actual depreciation, he shall grant such permission.
1. Permission to add to depreciation reserves and reduce surplus must be requested in advance and shall be granted only in those instances in which a governmental agency requires that the books of the corporation reflect a depreciation method under which the total accumulated depreciation reflected on the books is less than would be reflected if the straight-line method of depreciation had been applied from the date of acquisition of the asset. The period over which depreciation shall be computed shall be the expected useful life of the asset.
2. The amount of adjustment shall be the amount of accumulated depreciation which would be reflected on the books if the straight-line method had been applied from the date of acquisition of the asset, less the amount of accumulated depreciation actually reflected on the books.
3. Permission granted by the secretary shall be automatically revoked upon a material change in the facts and circumstances presented by the taxpayer.
4. Permission granted by the secretary shall be for a period of six years, at which time the taxpayer must reapply for permission to continue making the adjustment.
D. For purposes of this Chapter, reserves include all accounts appearing on the books of a corporation that represent amounts payable or potentially payable to others. However, the term reserves shall not include accounts included in capital stock as used in R.S. 47:604 and shall not include accounts that represent indebtedness, regardless of maturity date, as indebtedness is used in R.S. 47:603.
E. For purposes of this Chapter, the term assets shall mean all of a corporation's property and rights of every kind. The definition of the term assets for corporation franchise tax purposes may differ from the definition of assets for general accounting purposes.(Promulgated by the Department of Revenue and Taxation, Income and Corporation Franchise Taxes Section, Office of Group III, LR 6:25 (January 1980), amended LR 11:108 (February 1985), LR 28:1995 (September 2002), LR 29:1520 (August 2003), repromulgated by the Department of Revenue, Policy Services Division, LR 30:452 (March 2004).)
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with R.S. 47:605.
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