This excerpt taken from the SSW 20-F filed Mar 31, 2009.
We, or any of our vessel-owning subsidiaries, may become subject to U.S. federal income taxation on our U.S. source income, which would reduce our earnings.
Under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, 50% of the gross income of a vessel owning or chartering corporation, such as ourselves and our subsidiaries, that is attributable to transportation that either begins or ends, but that does not both begin and end, in the United States is characterized as U.S. source transportation income. Such income generally is subject to a 4% U.S. federal income tax without allowance for deduction or, if such income is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States, U.S. federal corporate income tax (the highest statutory rate presently is 35%) as well as a branch profits tax (presently imposed at a 30% rate on effectively connected earnings), unless the corporation qualifies for exemption from tax under Section 883 of the Code and the Treasury Regulations promulgated thereunder, or the Section 883 Exemption.
We believe that we and each of our subsidiaries qualified for the Section 883 Exemption for the year ended December 31, 2008, or our 2008 Year, and we will take this position for U.S. federal income tax return reporting purposes. However, there are legal uncertainties involved in this determination, and therefore, no assurance can be given that the Internal Revenue Service, or the IRS, will accept our position. Further, we can give no assurance regarding our continued qualification for the Section 883 Exemption due to the factual nature of determining whether the exemption applies for any taxable year. If we or our subsidiaries are not entitled to the Section 883 Exemption for a taxable year, we or our subsidiaries generally would be subject to a 4% U.S. federal gross income tax on our U.S. source transportation income for such year. The imposition of this taxation would result in decreased earnings available for distribution to our shareholders and could have a negative effect on our
business. Please refer to Item 10. Additional InformationE. TaxationU.S. Federal Income Tax ConsiderationsU.S. Federal Income Taxation of the Company for additional information related to the Section 883 Exemption.