ACL » Topics » U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations for U.S. Holders

This excerpt taken from the ACL 20-F filed Mar 19, 2007.

U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations for U.S. Holders

 

Taxation of Dividends

 

The gross amount of a distribution made by us, including any amounts of Swiss tax withheld, will be taxable to a U.S. Holder as dividend income to the extent paid out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, as determined for U.S. Federal income tax purposes. Under recent U.S. Federal income tax legislation, the Company is a "qualified foreign corporation" and thus generally dividend income received by an individual taxpayer (assuming certain holding period requirements are met) is taxable to a U.S. Holder at the rate imposed on net capital gains, which currently cannot exceed 15%. Dividends received on common shares will not be eligible for the dividends received deduction generally allowed to corporations.

 

Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits will constitute a nontaxable return of capital to a U.S. Holder to the extent of the U.S. Holder's tax basis in its common shares. To the extent that such distributions are in excess of the U.S. Holder's basis in its common shares, the distribution will constitute gain from the deemed sale or exchange of his or her shares. See "Tax on Sale or Exchange of Common Shares" below.

 

The amount of a distribution will be the U.S. dollar value of the Swiss franc payment, determined at the spot Swiss franc/U.S. dollar rate on the date the dividend is includible in a U.S. Holder's income, regardless of whether the payment in fact is converted into U.S. dollars. Generally, any gain or loss resulting from currency fluctuations during the period from the date a U.S. Holder includes the dividend in income to the date such U.S. Holder (or a third party acting for such U.S. Holder) converts the payment into U.S. dollars will be treated as ordinary income or loss. Any such income or loss generally will be income or loss from sources within the United States for U.S. foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

 

A U.S. Holder will be entitled to claim a foreign tax credit with respect to distributions received from us only for foreign taxes (such as Swiss withholding taxes) imposed on dividends paid to such U.S. Holder and not for taxes imposed on us or on any entity in which we have made an investment. Distributions with respect to the common shares that are taxable as dividends generally will be treated as foreign source passive income (or for U.S. Holders that are "financial services entities" as defined in the Treasury Regulations, foreign source "financial services income") for U.S. foreign tax credit purposes. For the purpose of determining the foreign tax credit limitation, the amount of such dividend distributions is reduced under a special rule that generally ensures that the amount of the foreign taxes imposed on the dividend that can be currently credited against the U.S. Holder's U.S. Federal income tax liability will not exceed the U.S. Federal income tax on the distribution. Alternatively, a U.S. Holder may deduct foreign taxes (such as Swiss withholding taxes) imposed on dividends paid to such U.S. Holder. The decision to claim a credit or take a deduction for foreign taxes imposed on a U.S. Holder applies to all such taxes incurred by the U.S. Holder during the taxable year.

 

Tax on Sale or Exchange of Common Shares

 

For U.S. Federal income tax purposes, a U.S. Holder generally will recognize gain or loss on a sale, exchange or other disposition of common shares, unless a specific nonrecognition provision applies. That gain or loss will be measured by the difference between the U.S. dollar value of the amount of cash, and the fair market value of any other property, received and the U.S. Holder's tax basis in the common shares. A U.S. Holder's tax basis in the common shares will generally equal the amount paid by the U.S. Holder for the common shares. Gain or loss arising from a sale or exchange of common shares will be capital gain or loss and will be long term if the holding period of the U.S. Holder for the shares exceeds one year. In general, gain from a sale or exchange of shares by a U.S. Holder will be treated as United States source income for U.S. foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

 

Controlled Foreign Corporation

 

We do not expect to be deemed a "controlled foreign corporation" because we expect more than 50% of the voting power and value of our shares to be held by non-U.S. persons. If more than 50% of the voting power or value of our shares were owned (directly or indirectly or by attribution) by U.S. Holders who hold 10% or more of the voting power of our outstanding shares, then we would become a controlled foreign corporation and the U.S. Holders who hold 10% or more of our voting power would be required to include in their taxable income as a constructive dividend an amount equal to their share of certain of our undistributed income.

 

101

 

Passive Foreign Investment Company

 

We do not expect to be a passive foreign investment company because less than 75% of our gross income will consist of certain "passive" income and less than 50% of the average value of our assets will consist of assets that produce, or are held for the production of, such passive income. For this purpose, "passive" income generally includes dividends from unrelated companies, interest, royalties, rents, annuities and the excess of gains over losses from the disposition of assets that produce passive income. If we were to become a passive foreign investment company, which determination will be made on an annual basis, the passive foreign investment company rules could produce significant adverse consequences for a U.S. Holder (regardless of the ownership percentage of our shares held by such holder), including the loss of the preferential tax rate on dividends.

 

Backup Withholding and Information Reporting

 

Under certain circumstances, a U.S. Holder who is an individual may be subject to information reporting requirements and backup withholding, currently at a 28% rate, on dividends received on common shares. This withholding generally applies only if that individual holder:

 

fails to furnish his or her taxpayer identification number to the U.S. financial institution that is in charge of the administration of that holder's common shares or any other person responsible for the payment of dividends on the common shares;

 

furnishes an incorrect taxpayer identification number;

 

is notified by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service that he or she has failed to properly report payments of interest or dividends and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has notified us that the individual holder is subject to backup withholding; or

 

fails, under specified circumstances, to comply with applicable certification requirements.

 

Any amount withheld from a payment to a U.S. Holder under the backup withholding rules will be allowable as a credit against such U.S. Holder's U.S. Federal income tax liability, provided that the required information is furnished to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

 

U.S. Holders should consult their own tax advisor as to the application of the U.S. Federal information reporting and backup withholding requirements to them and their qualification, if any, for an exemption under these rules.

 

This discussion, which does not address any aspects of U.S. taxation other than Federal income taxation relevant to U.S. Holders of common shares, is of a general nature only and is not intended to be, and should not be construed to be, legal or tax advice to any prospective investor and no representation with respect to the tax consequences to any particular investor is made.

This excerpt taken from the ACL 20-F filed Mar 15, 2006.

U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations for U.S. Holders

 

Taxation of Dividends

 

The gross amount of a distribution made by us, including any amounts of Swiss tax withheld, will be taxable to a U.S. Holder as dividend income to the extent paid out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, as determined for U.S. Federal income tax purposes. Under recent U.S. Federal income tax legislation, the Company is a "qualified foreign corporation" and thus generally dividend income received by an individual taxpayer (assuming certain holding period requirements are met) is taxable to a U.S. Holder at the rate imposed on net capital gains, which currently cannot exceed 15 percent. Dividends received on common shares will not be eligible for the dividends received deduction generally allowed to corporations.

 

Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits will constitute a nontaxable return of capital to a U.S. Holder to the extent of the U.S. Holder's tax basis in its common shares. To the extent that such distributions are in excess of the U.S. Holder's basis in its common shares, the distribution will constitute gain from the deemed sale or exchange of his or her shares. See "Tax on Sale or Exchange of Common Shares" below.

 

The amount of a distribution will be the U.S. dollar value of the Swiss franc payment, determined at the spot Swiss franc/U.S. dollar rate on the date the dividend is includible in a U.S. Holder's income, regardless of whether the payment in fact is converted into U.S. dollars. Generally, any gain or loss resulting from currency fluctuations during the period from the date a U.S. Holder includes the dividend in income to the date such U.S. Holder (or a third party acting for such U.S. Holder) converts the payment into U.S. dollars will be treated as ordinary income or loss. Any such income or loss generally will be income or loss from sources within the United States for U.S. foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

 

A U.S. Holder will be entitled to claim a foreign tax credit with respect to distributions received from us only for foreign taxes (such as Swiss withholding taxes) imposed on dividends paid to such U.S. Holder and not for taxes imposed on us or on any entity in which we have made an investment. Distributions with respect to the common shares that are taxable as dividends generally will be treated as foreign source passive income (or for U.S. Holders that are "financial services entities" as defined in the Treasury Regulations, foreign source "financial services income") for U.S. foreign tax credit purposes. For the purpose of determining the foreign tax credit limitation, the amount of such dividend distributions is reduced under a special rule that generally ensures that the amount of the foreign taxes imposed on the dividend that can be currently credited against the U.S. Holder’s U.S. Federal income tax liability will not exceed the U.S. Federal income tax on the distribution. Alternatively, a U.S. Holder may deduct foreign taxes (such as Swiss withholding taxes) imposed on dividends paid to such U.S. Holder. The decision to claim a credit or take a deduction for foreign taxes imposed on a U.S. Holder applies to all such taxes incurred by the U.S. Holder during the taxable year.

 

Tax on Sale or Exchange of Common Shares

 

For U.S. Federal income tax purposes, a U.S. Holder generally will recognize gain or loss on a sale, exchange or other disposition of common shares, unless a specific nonrecognition provision applies. That gain or loss will be measured by the difference between the U.S. dollar value of the amount of cash, and the fair market value of any other property, received and the U.S. Holder's tax basis in the common shares. A U.S. Holder's tax basis in the common shares will generally equal the amount paid by the U.S. Holder for the common shares. Gain or loss arising from a sale or exchange of common shares will be capital gain or loss and will be long term if the holding period of the U.S. Holder for the shares exceeds one year. In general, gain from a sale or exchange of shares by a U.S. Holder will be treated as United States source income for U.S. foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

 

 

98

 

Controlled Foreign Corporation; Foreign Personal Holding Company

 

We do not expect to be deemed a "controlled foreign corporation" or a "foreign personal holding company" because we expect more than 50% of the voting power and value of our shares to be held by non-U.S. persons. If more than 50% of the voting power or value of our shares were owned (directly or indirectly or by attribution) by U.S. Holders who hold 10% or more of the voting power of our outstanding shares, then we would become a controlled foreign corporation and the U.S. Holders who hold 10% or more of our voting power would be required to include in their taxable income as a constructive dividend an amount equal to their share of certain of our undistributed income. If more than 50% of the voting power or value of our shares were owned (directly or indirectly or by attribution) by five or fewer individuals who are citizens or residents of the United States and if at least 60% of our income were to consist of certain interest, dividend or other enumerated types of income, we would become a foreign personal holding corporation and all U.S. Holders (regardless of their ownership percentage) would be required to include in their taxable income as a constructive dividend an amount equal to their share of certain of our undistributed income.

 

Passive Foreign Investment Company

 

We do not expect to be a passive foreign investment company because less than 75% of our gross income will consist of certain "passive" income and less than 50% of the average value of our assets will consist of assets that produce, or are held for the production of, such passive income. For this purpose, "passive" income generally includes dividends from unrelated companies, interest, royalties, rents, annuities and the excess of gains over losses from the disposition of assets that produce passive income. If we were to become a passive foreign investment company, which determination will be made on an annual basis, the passive foreign investment company rules could produce significant adverse consequences for a U.S. Holder (regardless of the ownership percentage of our shares held by such holder), including the loss of the preferential tax rate on dividends.

 

Backup Withholding and Information Reporting

 

Under certain circumstances, a U.S. Holder who is an individual may be subject to information reporting requirements and backup withholding, currently at a 28% rate, on dividends received on common shares. This withholding generally applies only if that individual holder:

 

fails to furnish his or her taxpayer identification number to the U.S. financial institution that is in charge of the administration of that holder's common shares or any other person responsible for the payment of dividends on the common shares;

 

furnishes an incorrect taxpayer identification number;

 

is notified by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service that he or she has failed to properly report payments of interest or dividends and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has notified us that the individual holder is subject to backup withholding; or

 

fails, under specified circumstances, to comply with applicable certification requirements.

 

Any amount withheld from a payment to a U.S. Holder under the backup withholding rules will be allowable as a credit against such U.S. Holder's U.S. Federal income tax liability, provided that the required information is furnished to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

 

U.S. Holders should consult their own tax advisor as to the application of the U.S. Federal information reporting and backup withholding requirements to them and their qualification, if any, for an exemption under these rules.

 

This discussion, which does not address any aspects of U.S. taxation other than Federal income taxation relevant to U.S. Holders of common shares, is of a general nature only and is not intended to be, and should not be construed to be, legal or tax advice to any prospective investor and no representation with respect to the tax consequences to any particular investor is made.

EXCERPTS ON THIS PAGE:

20-F
Mar 19, 2007
20-F
Mar 15, 2006
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