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Foreign Tax Credit Did Not Apply Against Net Investment Income Tax

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Foreign Tax Credit Did Not Apply Against Net Investment Income Tax

The foreign tax credit did not apply against the net investment income tax (NIIT). The structure of the Internal Revenue Code made the credit inapplicable to the NIIT, and tax treaties did not override that fact.

Under Code, Foreign Tax Credit Did Not Apply to NIIT
The foreign tax credit is in chapter 1, subtitle A of the Code, and it expressly applies only against taxes imposed by chapter 1. However, the NIIT is in chapter 2A. Thus, the credit does not apply against the NIIT. Although Reg. §1.1411-1(a) provides that all Code provisions that apply to the determination of taxable income under chapter 1 also apply to the NIIT, tax credits are not taken into account in determining taxable income. In fact, Reg. §1.1411-1(e) explicitly provides that credits against the tax imposed by chapter 1, including the foreign tax credit, are not allowed against the NIIT unless specifically provided by the Code.

Tax Treaties Did Not Override Code
Provisions in the U.S.-France and U.S.-Italy tax treaties that provided a foreign tax credit against U.S. income tax also did not provide an independent foreign tax credit against the NIIT. Although the treaties were intended to limit double taxation, they were expressly subject to the provisions and limitations of the Code. Thus, any allowable foreign tax credit had to be determined in accordance with the Code, and was limited by the Code’s provision of a credit. Although the taxpayer claimed that the Code was silent as to whether there was a foreign tax credit against the NIIT, the placement of the NIIT in chapter 2A made the foreign tax credit inapplicable. The creation of a new chapter for the NIIT was not happenstance or a mere clerical choice; rather, it was a deliberate decision by Congress and part of the Code’s fundamental structure.

No Summary Judgment on Penalty
Finally, issues of material fact precluded summary judgement as to the taxpayer’s liability for the penalty for failing to pay tax shown due on a return. She reported zero tax due on her Form 1040, though she did show the correct amount of the NIIT on her attached Form 8060, Net Investment Income Tax. Even if her Form 8960 constituted a return, the taxpayer argued that she had reasonable cause for her failure to pay because when she filed her return, she included a disclosure that she was claiming the foreign tax credit against the NIIT.