The Renewed Need for Guidance Addressing Partnership 754 Election Revocations
The section 754 election of the Internal Revenue Code allows partnerships to make basis adjustments to avoid potentials for double taxation that can arise following transfers of partnership interests and distributions of partnership property. Once made, a 754 election applies to all future tax years and is revocable only with the consent of the Internal Revenue Service (Service). One subsection of the Treasury Regulations addresses when the Service might approve or deny a partnership’s request to revoke a 754 election. Despite the process contemplated in this regulation, until recently, partnerships could default out of a 754 election without Service approval through a technical termination. The lack of recorded application of the regulation implies that partnerships have largely not needed to rely on—and the Service has not needed to apply—the 754 election revocation regulation. The repeal of technical terminations under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, however, foreclosed the ability of partnerships to default out of a 754 election, creating not only a renewed permanence of 754 elections but also a new need for guidance concerning requests for revocation. In anticipation of both partnerships’ and the Service’s need to rely more heavily on requests for 754 election revocation, this Note provides potential factors the Service might use to consider such requests and highlights other ways partnerships might still effect a 754 election revocation without Service approval.