Daily Tax Update - March 29, 2017: House Committee Holds Hearing on Energy Tax Policy

House Committee Holds Hearing on Energy Tax Policy:  Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing titled “Federal Energy Related Tax Policy and its Effects on Markets, Prices, and Consumers.”  The background memo to the hearing stated that “[a]s Congress evaluates the tax code and contemplates tax reform, there has been interest in understanding the effects of energy-related tax policy on evolving energy markets, prices, and consumers.”  The following witnesses testified:

  • Joseph E. Aldy
    Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University, School of Government
  • Steve Clemmer
    Director of Energy Research and Analysis, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Dr. Terry Dinan
    Senior Advisor, Congressional Budget Office
  • Devin Hartman
    Electricity Policy Manager, R Street Institute
  • Dr. Robert Murphy
    Senior Economist, Institute for Energy Research
  • Dr. Ben Zycher
    Resident Scholar and John G. Searle Chair, American Enterprise Institute

Ways and Means Holds Markup on Trump Tax Return Disclosure Resolution:  Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee held a markup of H.Res. 186, which would direct the Department of Treasury to provide to the House President Trump’s full tax returns for the years 2006-2015.  The resolution was defeated 24-16, along a party-line vote. 

Bearer Stock Does Not Count for Foreign Ownership Threshold:  Yesterday, the US Tax Court issued an opinion in Good Fortune Shipping SA, v. Comm’r, 148 T.C. No. 10, holding that bearer-only stock cannot be used to meet the 50% foreign ownership threshold for exemption from income tax under section 883.  The court ruled that the regulations precluding bearer shares from being taken into account for determining the ownership threshold under section 883 were valid under two-step analysis described in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984), because section 883 and its legislative history are silent as to how to a foreign corporation can determine ownership, and the Treasury Department acted reasonably to exclude bearer shares.