Tag Archives: medical practice

The Final Section 199A Regulations Eliminate the “80 Percent Cliff” for Property or Services Provided to a Commonly-Controlled SSTB

We previously blogged about the final Section 199A regulations confirming “cliff” treatment for the de minimis aggregation rule. However, the final regulations did delete a different cliff in the rules designed to defeat the so-called “crack and pack” strategy of segregating various activities of a specified service trade or business (“SSTB”) into SSTB and non-SSTB elements. Since the enactment of Section 199A as part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act late in 2017, tax practitioners have been devising ways to take an SSTB, such as a physician group, and segregate the parts of the business that are a specified service trade or business from the parts that are not. For example, there has been speculation as to whether an S corporation operating a physician group that provides medical services (an SSTB), owns its building, and employs administrative and billing staff could be divided into three S corporations. S corporation 1 would provide medical services to patients, S corporation 2 would own the medical office building and lease it to S corporation 1, and S corporation 3 would employ the administrative and billing staff and provide its services to S corporation 1 in exchange for fees. The hope would be that the common owners of the three S corporations would be eligible for a 199A deduction with respect to S corporation 2 and S corporation 3 (they would generally not be eligible for a 199A deduction if all of the components of the physician group were contained within one entity).

The proposed regulations address this issue by providing that an SSTB includes any trade or business that provides 80% or more of its property or services to a specified service trade or business if there is 50% or more common ownership of the two trades or businesses. If a trade or business provides less than 80% of its property or services to a specified service trade or business that has 50% or more common ownership, then the portion of the trade or business providing property or services to the commonly-controlled business will be treated as part of the specified service trade or business. For example, if a dentist owns a dental practice and a building used in the practice in separate entities, and 40% of the real estate is leased to the dental practice and 60% of the real estate is leased to an unrelated tenant, then 40% of the real estate business will be treated as part of the dental SSTB, but the remaining 60% of the real estate business will not be treated as an SSTB. But, if 85% of the real estate was leased to the dental practice, then all of the real estate business (including the 15% leased to the unrelated tenant) would be treated as part of the dental SSTB. Thus, this rule creates an “80% cliff” for the unrelated portion of the real estate business.

In response to criticism of this 80% cliff, Treasury removed the 80 percent rule in Section 1.199A-5(c)(2) of the final regulations. Therefore, if a non-SSTB provides property or services to a 50 percent or more commonly controlled SSTB, the portion provided to the SSTB would be treated as a separate SSTB, and the remaining portion will be treated as a non-SSTB. Using the example above, if 85% of the real estate was leased to the dental practice, then only 85% of the real estate activity would be treated as an SSTB, and the other 15% of the real estate activity would be treated as a non-SSTB.

View the  final regulations.

This post is one in a series of posts on the 199A regulations. 

Michael J. Wilson
mwilson@williamsparker.com
941-536-2043

199A Regulations Address Specified Service Trades or Businesses with Other Business Elements

In a prior blog post, we addressed rules in the proposed regulations for the treatment of a trade or business that is not a specified service trades or business (“SSTB”) but has some relatively small elements that are attributable to the performance of services in a field that would qualify as an SSTB. The topic of this post is the rules for the treatment of an SSTB that has some incidental or relatively small non-SSTB elements, which are contained in Section 1.199A-5(c)(3).

Under these rules, if a non-SSTB has (1) 50% or more common ownership with an SSTB, (2) shares expenses, such as shared wages or overhead expenses, with the SSTB, and (3) gross receipts that are no more than 5% of the total combined (SSTB and non-SSTB) gross receipts, then the non-SSTB will be treated as part of the SSTB for Section 199A purposes. Common ownership is determined by applying the related party rules in Sections 267(b) and 707(b).

The proposed regulations provide an example where a dermatologist provides medical services to patients and also sells skin care products to patients. The same employees and office space are used for the medical services and the sale of skin care products. The gross receipts of the skin care product sales do not exceed 5% of the combined gross receipts. Under the rule, the sale of the skin care products (which is not an SSTB) will be treated as incident to, and part of, the medical service SSTB. Therefore, the qualified business income, w-2 wages, and any unadjusted basis of qualified property attributable to the skin care products business will not be eligible for Section 199A purposes unless the dermatologist is under the taxable income thresholds specified in Section 199A.

The proposed regulations do not address a scenario where the gross receipts of the skin care products business were, for example, 6% of the total combined gross receipts. Presumably, the skin care products business would then be considered a separate trade or business (a non-SSTB) from the dermatology practice, which would be an SSTB. A potential gotcha is for a business that is an SSTB that is entrepreneurial and tries to expand into a business that is not a SSTB. For example, consider a financial services business that starts-up a business to create personal budgeting and retirement software and that uses some of the employees and office space of the financial services business. Unless and until either (1) the gross receipts of the software start-up exceeds 5% of the combined gross receipts or (2) there are no longer any shared expenses, then the software business will be treated as a part of the financial services SSTB.

View the proposed regulations. 

Michael J. Wilson
mwilson@williamsparker.com
941-536-2043