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WEEKEND INSIGHTS: Opportunity Zone Outlook and Fortune 500 HQs

Nov. 20, 2020, 3:21 PM

This is a weekend roundup of Bloomberg Tax Insights, written by practitioners and featuring expert analysis on current issues in tax practice and policy. The articles featured here represent just a handful of the many Insights published each week. For a full archive of articles, browse by jurisdiction at Daily Tax Report, Daily Tax Report: State, Daily Tax Report: International, and Financial Accounting.

This week we look at the outlook for the opportunity zone program in 2021, EY’s 2020 global headquarters study, PPP loan forgiveness pitfalls, and more. We’ll hear from:

  • Libin Zhang of Fried Frank on where the opportunity zone program could be going in the next year
  • Brandon Pizzola, Robert Carrol, and James Mackie of Ernst & Young on the changing locations of Fortune Global 500 companies
  • Nicholas Gutzmer of Smolin Lupin & Co. on potential pitfalls of Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness applications
  • EY Global tax leaders on how Covid-19 has transformed tax policy in the Asia-Pacific
  • Alan Viard of the American Enterprise Institute on why the U.S. needs a value-added tax
  • Shailendra Sharma on a tribunal ruling on permanent establishment in India
  • Steve Minhoo Kim and Tom Kwon of Lee & Ko on trends in transfer pricing in South Korea
  • Paul Falvey of BDO on the operational changes made by the U.K.’s tax authority HMRC
Vacant storefronts and empty buildings in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York, which has been designated an opportunity zone.
Photographer: Allison Joyce/Bloomberg

Opportunity zones have generated much enthusiasm and apparently $75 billion of investments since they first appeared over three years ago in the bill that became the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Libin Zhang of Fried Frank looks at some issues that affected opportunity funds and their investors in 2020, what the future may hold for the program under a Biden administration, and diversity and inclusion concerns that opportunity zone fund advisers have in mind in 2021 and over the next 10 or 30 years. Read: Three Years of Opportunity Zones and 2021 Outlook

The headquarters of the world’s largest companies are shifting away from the U.S. and the larger European countries. Bob Carroll, James Mackie, and Brandon Pizzola of Ernst & Young LLP analyze the latest statistics from the Fortune Global 500. Read: The Changing Headquarters Landscape for Fortune Global 500 Companies

The Paycheck Protection Program remains something of an obstacle course for businesses that used the program’s loans to keep their businesses afloat and their employees paid. Nicholas Gutzmer of Smolin outlines the potential pitfalls in applying for PPP loan forgiveness and how to avoid them. Read: Pitfalls of Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Application

The Asia-Pacific was the first region to enter the Covid-19 pandemic. How has it navigated the “new normal”? As the 2020 EY Asia-Pacific Tax Symposium comes to a close, Kate Barton, EY Global Vice Chair-Tax, and other EY tax leaders share how the pandemic has transformed the region’s policy outlook and highlight how tax has been instrumental in building a better working world. Read: How Covid-19 Has Transformed Tax Policy in the Asia-Pacific

The U.S. faces a large long-term imbalance between projected federal tax revenue and federal spending, which has widened during the coronavirus pandemic. Alan Viard of the American Enterprise Institute posits that a value-added tax is a viable path to reducing the imbalance. Read: The United States Needs a Value-Added Tax

Shailendra Sharma describes how a Mauritius-based shipping business, owned by UAE resident shareholders, engaged in shipping activity in India does not constitute a fixed place permanent establishment in India under the India–Mauritius tax treaty. Read: Mumbai Tribunal Ruling on Permanent Establishment Under India–Mauritius Tax Treaty

Steve Minhoo Kim and Tom Kwon of Lee & Ko discuss recent trends in transfer pricing in the post-BEPS era, and how the South Korean government has tried to address and keep pace with the recent OECD developments and practices in the midst of an era of unprecedented global change on the international tax scene. Read: South Korea—Trends in Transfer Pricing

Paul Falvey of BDO considers the operational changes that the U.K.’s tax authority HMRC has made to address the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and which it ought to retain for the future. Read: Rethinking the Tax System: Building the U.K.’s Tax Authority Back Better

Corporate Tax Chat With Ratul Narain, CEO of Bempu Health

Ratul Narain, founder and CEO of Bempu Health, spoke with Bloomberg Tax about how India’s landmark indirect tax reform is impacting the cash flow at his medical device startup. Bempu, based in Bangalore, India, focuses on bringing wearable sensors to at-risk newborns and children. It has delivered lifesaving products to thousands of babies in countries across Africa, Asia, and South America by partnering with governments and UNICEF. Read: Corporate Tax Chat with Ratul Narain, CEO of Bempu Health

From the Archive

Bloomberg Tax contributors have kept us up to date on the developments in the opportunity zone program and have been quick to identify what will and won’t work in guidance and proposed regulations.

A company created to buy and rent out newly built condominiums could generate qualified opportunity fund benefits. Alan Lederman of Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart P.A. looked at pre-opportunity zone guidance and case law to explain how.

Opportunity zone guidance continues to give investors and their advisers a clearer picture of how the program will work while making it more workable, but questions remain, wrote Billy Morrow of BDO.

Treasury and the IRS recently issued correcting amendments to the final opportunity zone regulations, and those amendments came with an unexpected gift. Lisa Starczewski of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney said that the correcting amendments appear to make it much easier for an entity to meet qualified opportunity zone business qualifications during the start-up period if it has a working capital safe harbor in place.

Beyond Tax

What’s happening outside the world of tax?

Several justices on the U.S. Supreme Court indicated during oral arguments that the court may be leaning toward preserving key pieces of the Affordable Care Act. While justices’ comments don’t always presage the court’s eventual decision, abrupt disruption to the ACA now appears less likely. Foley Hoag LLP administrative law practitioners Tad Heuer and Andrew M. London suggest three clues to the legal and political moves that could shape the ACA’s future. Read: Watch These Clues to Gauge Whether ACA Survives the U.S. Supreme Court

Nondisclosure agreements serve an important purpose, but the time has come to rein them in, writes Gerald Sauer, a founding partner at Sauer & Wagner LLP in Los Angeles. When drafted too broadly NDAs can cause harm to those who sign them, and may even violate laws or be unconstitutional, he says. Read: The Nondisclosure Agreement: Time to Revamp?

Covid-19 has impacted the M&A sector, but activity is slowly returning to normal levels. Steve Murphy, CEO of Epicor, shares how making deals without face-to-face interaction can be accomplished, key changes in the legal and regulatory aspects of the M&A process, and the benefits of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) for those taking the IPO route. Read: Flexibility Is a Must in M&A Deals During Covid-19

Tyrone P. Thomas, chair of Mintz’s diversity committee, examines some myths and realities of President Trump’s executive order addressing race and gender references within diversity and inclusion trainings by federal contractors and entities receiving federal grants. Read: Myths and Realities About Trump’s Executive Order on Race, Gender

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Gary Sprague of Baker & McKenzie compares source of income and foreign-derived intangible income (FDII) eligibility for software and digital content deliveries. The author concludes that the final FDII regulations and the source-of-income rules do not produce parallel results in many cases.

Bloomberg Tax Insights articles are written by experienced practitioners, academics, and policy experts discussing developments and current issues in taxation. To contribute, please contact Erin McManus at emcmanus@bloombergtax.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erin McManus in Washington at emcmanus@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Meg Shreve at mshreve@bloombergtax.com; Kathy Larsen at klarsen@bloombergtax.com

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