ABSTRACT

After numerous failed previous attempts to enact legislation taxing “carried interest” income attributable to services as compensation income versus capital gains, Congress enacted Section 1061 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Unlike previous proposals, which would tax carried interest income attributable to services as compensation income, Section 1061 simply reclassifies some carried interest income attributable to services as short-term capital gain. By choosing to treat carried interest income attributable to services as short-term capital gain instead of as compensation income, Section 1061 exempts such income from self-employment tax and allows taxpayers to offset such income with an unlimited amount of short-term capital losses. This paper reviews the requirements under Section 1061 and explains several ambiguities created by the new law. In addition, this paper examines whether Section 1061 follows sound tax policy. The authors find that Section 1061 does not follow the tax policy concepts of equity and fairness, economic efficiency, neutrality, simplicity, or certainty. In addition, the authors find that Section 1061 will have minimal impact, as most carried interest is held longer than the required period to qualify as long-term capital gain.

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