Respondent determined deficiencies in petitioners' income taxes as follows:
Petitioners Year Deficiency Silvano and Carol Achiro Docket No. 467-79 ---------- 1975 $13,414 1976 19,979 Peter and Gemma Rossi Docket No. 468-79 ---------- 1975 13,417 1976 20,061
The issues for decision are:
(1) Whether respondent properly allocated all of the income and deductions of A & R to Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal under:
(a) Section 482;
(b) Section 269; or
(c) Section 61 (sham corporation theory or assignment of income doctrine);
(2) In the alternative, whether amounts paid by Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal to A & R and designated as
(3) Whether the employees of Tahoe City Disposal should be aggregated pursuant to section 414(b) with the employees of A & R for purposes of applying the antidiscrimination provisions of section 401 to A & R's pension and profit-sharing plans.
FINDINGS OF FACT
Some of the facts have been stipulated and are found accordingly.
All the petitioners resided in Tahoe City, Calif., at the time they filed their petitions in these cases.
Petitioner Silvano Achiro (Achiro) became involved in the scavenger business in 1954 as a truck driver in San Francisco, Calif. In 1964, Achiro moved to Lake Tahoe where he and his uncle formed Tahoe City Disposal Co. Petitioner Peter Rossi (Rossi) became associated with Tahoe City Disposal in 1970. During all times relevant to this case, Achiro served as president and Rossi served as vice president of Tahoe City Disposal, and each owned one-half of its capital stock. Tahoe City Disposal has, since its incorporation, been engaged in the waste collection business in Tahoe City, Calif., and it has always been qualified as a subchapter S corporation.
On May 9, 1972, Tahoe City Disposal executed an agreement with Placer County to manage a landfill operation; this landfill operation was treated as a division of Tahoe City Disposal under the name North Tahoe Sanitary Landfill. Petitioners controlled and managed all aspects of Tahoe City Disposal's business during all relevant times.
In late 1973, Hubert Knoll asked petitioners whether they were interested in acquiring an interest in his scavenger company in Kings Beach, Calif. At that time, Knoll and his daughter Jill Shaffer owned the entire business. On or about October 1, 1973, each petitioner acquired a 25-percent interest in Knoll's business, and Bud Shaffer (Shaffer), Knoll's son-in-law, acquired the remaining 50-percent interest. Petitioners and Shaffer operated this business as a partnership from
Percentage ownership Shareholder/officer Corporate office of capital stock Shaffer President 50% Achiro Vice president 25% Rossi Treasurer 25% Jill Shaffer Secretary 0 _____ 100%
Kings Beach Disposal, since its incorporation, has been engaged in the waste collection business in Kings Beach, Calif., and has been taxed as a regular corporation.
Shaffer did not want to be involved in the management of Kings Beach Disposal. Accordingly, petitioners bore the burden of managing Kings Beach Disposal from its inception.
Both petitioners received monthly salaries from Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal for their services as officers and employees. Petitioners' salaries from these companies continued until March 31, 1975, after which time they received no direct salaries or compensation from them.
The following chart shows the number of employees, exclusive of petitioners, of Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal on the dates indicated:
Tahoe City Disposal Kings Beach Disposal Dec. 31, 1975 -------------- 9 3 Dec. 31, 1976 -------------- 10 4 Dec. 31, 1977 -------------- 11 4
On November 14, 1974, Achiro, Rossi, Carol Achiro, and Renato Achiro, in their capacities as incorporators and first directors, formed A & R Enterprises, Inc. (A & R). The following chart shows A & R's officers and shareholders during all times pertinent to this case:
Percentage ownership Shareholder/officer Corporate office of capital stock Achiro ----------- President 24% Carol Achiro ----- Vice president 0 Rossi ------------ Secretary-Treasurer 24% Renato Achiro --------------------------------- 52% ____ 100%
Petitioners contributed A & R's initial $500 capitalization.
Renato Achiro (Renato) is Silvano Achiro's brother and Peter Rossi's brother-in-law. Renato became a 52-percent shareholder of A & R at his brother's suggestion. Silvano Achiro contributed that portion of A & R's initial capital attributable to Renato's stock. At the time Renato acquired his interest in A & R, he was not looking for this type of investment in the Lake Tahoe area. Renato received no dividends from A & R in 1975 or 1976, and the stock had no value to him in those years. He knew he owned a controlling interest in A & R, but never exercised control. Renato offered business advice to petitioners both before and after the formation of A & R, but never received any compensation for such advice. Renato has never made any suggestions to A & R that would result in his earning any income from his A & R stock. Renato recognized that he would not make any money from his A & R stock unless he moved to Lake Tahoe and became actively involved in the business. Renato has never been actively involved in A & R's business as a shareholder, officer, or employee.
As set out in its articles of incorporation, one of A & R's express purposes is to provide management, consulting, and advisory services. On November 14, 1974, in furtherance of this purpose, A & R entered into agreements for management services with Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal. During the 20-year terms
In addition, on November 14, 1974, A & R also executed employment contracts with petitioners. Each employment contract was for a 5-year term. Pursuant to these contracts, A & R employed Achiro as its president and general manager and Rossi as its treasurer and management consultant. Each petitioner agreed to devote his full time and energy to the performance of his duties under his contract. In addition, each petitioner agreed not to render services of a business or commercial nature to any other person or firm and not to engage in any activities competitive with or adverse to A & R's business or welfare. In exchange for petitioners' services, A & R agreed to pay each petitioner a salary plus an annual bonus and, in addition, to provide a death benefit plan and a wage continuation plan. Petitioners received their first salary payments from A & R in March 1975, covering the period from December 1974 through March 1975. All subsequent salary payments required under these employment contracts have been made. Petitioners have been the only employees of A & R since its incorporation.
A & R's books and records consisted of a bank statement, a checkbook, and a bankbook. In addition, A & R's accountants kept a record of receipts and disbursements, payroll records, a summary general ledger, workpapers, and tax information. A & R had no separate office, its name did not appear on any office door or building, it had no separate telephone number or listing, and it had no printed business cards bearing its name. A & R did, however, have stationery bearing its name on the letterhead.
The following chart is a summary of A & R's income and
1975 1976 -------------------- -------------------- Income Management fees -------------- $169,519 $187,853 Reimbursement from petitioners for personal use of firm autos ----------- 0 $169,519 1,566 $189,419 ________ ________ Expenses Compensation of petitioners --- 122,400 139,200 Taxes ------------------------- 1,962 2,677 Interest ---------------------- 0 29 Depreciation ------------------ 3,674 4,611 Pension and profit-sharing contributions ---------------- 30,600 35,500 Other deductions -------------- 3,847 (162,483) 5,626 (187,643) ________ _________ ________ _________ Taxable income -------------------------- 7,036 1,776 ======= ===== Tax -------------------------------------- 1,114 273 ======= =======
Petitioners' scavenger businesses have grown substantially since Achiro first moved to Lake Tahoe and started Tahoe City Disposal in 1964. By the time petitioners incorporated A & R, they were devoting most of their time and efforts to managerial and supervisory functions. Petitioners functioned as employees of A & R under valid exclusive employment contracts. As employees of A & R, they rendered services to Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal as required by the management services contracts between A & R and the disposal companies. Petitioners' change of employment status from employees of Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal to employees of A & R did not alter the services rendered to Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal.
Effective December 1, 1974, A & R adopted the A & R Enterprises, Inc., Employees' Profit-Sharing Plan and the A & R Enterprises, Inc., Employees' Pension Plan. Petitioners were the only employees covered under A & R's plans. A & R made contributions to its plans in the following amounts:
Amount applicable FYE Nov. 30— Pension Profit-sharing Total to each petitioner 1975 $12,240 $18,360 $30,600 $15,300 1976 14,220 21,280 35,500 17,750
Effective January 1, 1975, Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal adopted the North Tahoe Solid Waste Profit-Sharing
FYE Mar. 31
6— Tahoe City Kings Beach 1975 $700 $300 1976 3,100 900 1977 3,400 1,600
The following chart summarizes selected provisions of A & R's pension and profit-sharing plans and the North Tahoe P-S Plan:
A & R North Tahoe ------------------------------------------ Profit-sharing Pension P-S plan Eligibility No service No service 1 year of service requirement requirement Vesting 100% upon 100% upon 10% after first participation participation year, 10% each additional year, until 100% Contributions Employer's discretion 10% of Employer's but not to exceed compensation discretion but deductible amounts not to exceed deductible amounts
Petitioners' principal purpose in forming A & R and distributing 52 percent of its stock to Renato Achiro was to obtain the benefits of larger contributions to A & R's pension and profit-sharing plans of which they were the sole beneficiaries. It was understood that Renato would not vote his stock or would vote it only in accordance with Achiro's direction.
In his notice of deficiency, respondent adjusted the income of Tahoe City Disposal by disallowing as deductions the management fees paid to A & R totaling $65,000 and $170,286 for the fiscal years ending March 31, 1975, and 1976, respectively. Respondent determined that these amounts were not expended for the purpose designated or were not ordinary and necessary business expenses. Respondent further adjusted Tahoe City Disposal's income by allowing it to take all the deductions for compensation, interest, depreciation, etc., originally taken by A & R, totaling $47,316 and $133,754 for the fiscal years ending March 31, 1975, and 1976, respectively. In so doing, respondent stated: "These allocations are made to
At trial, respondent amended his answer and asserted that all of the income and deductions of A & R should be allocated to Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal pursuant to section 482, section 269, or section 61 (the assignment of income doctrine or the sham corporation theory). In the alternative, respondent asserted in his amended answer that the employees of Tahoe City Disposal should be aggregated with the employees of A & R pursuant to section 414(b) for purposes of applying the antidiscrimination provisions of section 401 to A & R's pension and profit-sharing plans.
A. Burden of Proof
As a preliminary matter it is necessary to decide which party bears the burden of proof with respect to the various issues.
At trial, respondent requested leave to file an amended answer, which this Court granted. In that amended answer, respondent alleged for the first time that section 482, section 269, or section 61 (assignment of income doctrine or the sham corporation theory) also justified the deficiency. The amended answer also contains the alternative argument that section 414(b) requires petitioners to include in their gross incomes their aliquot portions of the contributions made by A & R to its pension and profit-sharing plans.
In response to this amended answer, petitioners filed a motion to shift burden of proof with respect to the matters pleaded therein. Generally, the burden of proof is on the taxpayer. Welch v. Helvering, 290 U.S. 111 (1933); Rule 142(a), Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure. Rule 142(a) provides:
The burden of proof shall be upon the petitioner, except as otherwise provided by statute or determined by the Court; and except that, in respect of any new matter, increases in deficiency, and affirmative defenses, pleaded in his answer, it shall be upon the respondent. * * * [Emphasis added.]
At trial, this Court agreed with petitioners that respondent's amended answer presented new matters under Rule 142(a)
The assertion of a new theory which merely clarifies or develops the original determination without being inconsistent or increasing the amount of the deficiency is not a new matter requiring the shifting of the burden of proof. Estate of Jayne v. Commissioner, 61 T.C. 744, 748-749 (1974); McSpadden v. Commissioner, 50 T.C. 478, 492-493 (1968); Estate of Sharf v. Commissioner, 38 T.C. 15, 27-28 (1962). However, if the assertion in the amended answer either alters the original deficiency or requires the presentation of different evidence, then respondent has introduced a new matter. Estate of Falese v. Commissioner, 58 T.C. 895, 898-899 (1972); McSpadden v. Commissioner, supra; Papineau v. Commissioner, 28 T.C. 54, 57 (1957); Tauber v. Commissioner, 24 T.C. 179, 185 (1955). The factual bases and rationale required to establish that the amounts paid by Tahoe City Disposal as management fees were expended for that purpose and were ordinary and necessary business expenses are entirely different from the factual bases and rationale necessary to establish that sections 482, 269, 61, and 414(b) do not apply to the present situation. Sanderling, Inc. v. Commissioner, 66 T.C. 743, 757-758 (1976), affd. 571 F.2d 174 (3d Cir. 1978). Respondent's new positions raised in his amended answer require the presentation of new evidence and do not simply clarify or develop his original position.
Although we believe the general rules governing the burden of proof require the transfer of that burden to respondent with regard to his determination under section 482, we feel compelled to further comment on the specific burden of proof problems under section 482. Cases dealing with the burden of proof under section 482 have set up a three-tier approach in
First, if the notice of deficiency is clear that respondent is relying on section 482 in support of his deficiency, then the burden is upon the taxpayer to establish that respondent's allocation was unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious. Brittingham v. Commissioner, 66 T.C. 373, 395 (1976), affd. 598 F.2d 1375 (5th Cir. 1979) (quoting Ach v. Commissioner, 42 T.C. 114, 125-126 (1964), affd. 358 F.2d 342 (6th Cir. 1966)).
Second, if respondent does not indicate in the notice of deficiency that he is relying on section 482, but alerts the taxpayer of his reliance on section 482 formally in pleadings far enough in advance of trial so as not to prejudice the taxpayer or take him by surprise at trial, then the burden of proof shifts to respondent to establish all the elements necessary to support his allocation under section 482. See Rubin v. Commissioner, 56 T.C. 1155, 1162-1164 (1971), affd. 460 F.2d 1216 (2d Cir. 1972); Rule 142(a), Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure. But see Abatti v. Commissioner, 644 F.2d 1385 (9th Cir. 1981), revg. a Memorandum Opinion of this Court.
Third, if respondent raises section 482 at such a late date that the principles of fair play and justice would be abrogated by permitting him to rely on section 482, then he will not be allowed to rely on section 482 at all. United States v. First Security Bank, 334 F.2d 120, 122 n. 4 (9th Cir. 1964); Commissioner v. Chelsea Products, 197 F.2d 620, 624 (3d Cir. 1952), affg. 16 T.C. 840 (1951). See Abatti v. Commissioner, supra.
In the present case, petitioners' counsel admits that petitioners had notice of respondent's reliance on section 482 at least 5 weeks prior to the scheduled trial. Petitioners do not contend that such notice brings them within the limited circumstances which call for denying respondent the right to raise section 482, but, rather, petitioners contend they fall within the second category requiring the burden of proof to shift to respondent. We agreed at trial with petitioners, and we still agree. We note, however, that even if petitioners were to bear the burden of proof, we would find that they have met their burden of showing that respondent's section 482 allocation was arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable.
B. Respondent's Reallocation of Income and Deductions
Next, we turn to the substantive issues raised by respondent. His reliance on sections 482, 269, and 61 to reallocate all of A & R's income and deductions to Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal represents a frontal attack on a taxpayer's use of a personal service corporation. The impetus behind respondent's all-out attack on A & R stems from his apparent concern about the use of corporations for the principal purpose of obtaining the benefits associated with corporate retirement plans.
It is well known that operating a business in corporate form provides advantages not available to self-employed individuals.
Respondent's distaste for this use of the corporate form is not new. However, respondent has significantly altered his mode of attacking personal service corporations. Prior to
Since that time, the Service has accepted professional service corporations that have respected their corporate form in conducting their businesses. As a result, the use of professional service corporations and other personal service corporations has spiraled without any significant legislation from Congress intended to halt such use of the corporate form.
The keynote in respondent's present position under sections 482, 269, and 61 is his contention that incorporation for the principal purpose of taking advantage of corporate pension and profit-sharing plans amounts to an evasion or avoidance of income taxes, an unclear reflection of income, and/or an assignment of income.
1. Section 482
The first substantive issue is whether respondent's allocations are justified under section 482. Section 482 states:
In any case of two or more organizations, trades, or businesses (whether or not incorporated, whether or not organized in the United States, and whether or not affiliated) owned or controlled directly or indirectly by the same interests, the Secretary or his delegate may distribute, apportion, or allocate gross income, deductions, credits, or allowances between or among such organizations, trades, or businesses, if he determines that such distribution, apportionment, or allocation is necessary in order to prevent evasion of taxes or clearly to reflect the income of any such organizations, trades, or businesses.
Relying on this statute, respondent allocated all of A & R's income and deductions to Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal. In essence, respondent is attempting to utilize section 482 to ignore the corporate existence of A & R.
The purpose of section 482 is set forth in the regulations:
(b) Scope and purpose. (1) The purpose of section 482 is to place a controlled taxpayer on a tax parity with an uncontrolled taxpayer, by determining, according to the standard of an uncontrolled taxpayer, the true taxable income from the property and business of a controlled taxpayer. The interests controlling a group of controlled taxpayers are assumed to have complete power to cause each controlled taxpayer so to conduct its affairs that its transactions and accounting records truly reflect the taxable income from the property and business of each of the controlled taxpayers. If, however, this has not been done, and the taxable incomes are thereby understated, the district director shall intervene, and, by making such distributions, apportionments, or allocation as he may deem necessary of gross income, deductions, credits, or allowances, or of any item or element affecting taxable income, between or among the controlled taxpayers constituting the group, shall determine the true taxable income of each
Section 1.482-2(b)(1), Income Tax Regs., deals specifically with circumstances involving the performance of services by one corporation for the benefit of another similarly controlled corporation:
Where one member of a group of controlled entities performs marketing, managerial, administrative, technical, or other services for the benefit of, or on behalf of another member of the group without charge, or at a charge which is not equal to an arm's length charge as defined in subparagraph (3) of this paragraph, the district director may make appropriate allocations to reflect an arm's length charge for such services.
Section 1.482-2(b)(3), Income Tax Regs., defines an arm'slength charge:
For the purpose of this paragraph an arm's length charge for services rendered shall be the amount which was charged or would have been charged for the same or similar services in independent transactions with or between unrelated parties under similar circumstances considering all relevant facts. * * *
In the context of the present case, respondent may utilize section 482 to insure that the charges among the controlled entities represent arm's-length amounts.
Plainly, this was not an arm's length transaction. The corporation was hopelessly insolvent, and it is utterly beyond belief that any unrelated third party would have sold a prosperous business for a non-interest bearing $30,705.57 note of such an insolvent maker where the level of earnings of that business was about $30,000 a year and rising, and where the seller contemplated continued fulltime management of the business without compensation. * * * [42 T.C. at 123.]
In Borge v. Commissioner, 405 F.2d 673 (2d Cir. 1968), affg. a Memorandum Opinion of this Court, also relied on by respondent, entertainer Victor Borge formed a corporation to which he transferred the assets of an unprofitable poultry business. In addition, Borge entered into an employment agreement with the corporation pursuant to which he agreed to perform entertainment services for the corporation in exchange for an annual salary of $50,000. The $50,000 salary was far less than the amount Borge's entertainment activities produced each year, and it was found that Borge would not have made a similar agreement in an arm's-length transaction. Accordingly, respondent properly allocated a larger amount of Borge's entertainment earnings directly to him.
In Rubin v. Commissioner, 56 T.C. 1155 (1971), affd. 460 F.2d 1216 (2d Cir. 1972), deciding on remand 51 T.C. 251 (1968), revd. and remanded 429 F.2d 650 (2d Cir. 1970), the taxpayer and his brothers owned during the relevant tax years all the stock of Park, a corporation which, pursuant to management contracts, provided management services to Dorman Mills and its subsidiaries, also corporations controlled by the taxpayer. The taxpayer's efforts accounted for all of Park's income from management services. The taxpayer apparently never entered into an employment contract with Park and during the time
In Jones v. Commissioner, 64 T.C. 1066 (1975), the taxpayer was an official court reporter for a Federal District Court. He formed a personal service corporation to loan out his services despite the legal requirement that an official court reporter be an individual and not a corporation. Furthermore, the taxpayer never entered into an employment agreement with his corporation, remained under the control of the judge to whom he was assigned, and personally certified the transcripts. Holding that the transactions between the taxpayer and his corporation were not at arm's-length, we stated (p. 1078):
In the situation here, an uncontrolled taxpayer could not have dealt with another uncontrolled taxpayer as Mr. Jones dealt with the corporation because the functions of Mr. Jones in reporting the proceedings by stenographic note taking and the functions of the corporation in producing, selling, and certifying the transcripts must, by statute, be performed by the official court reporter, who must be an individual.
The fact that petitioners in the present case chose to incorporate A & R for the primary purpose of obtaining the benefits of its retirement plans does not justify respondent's
2. Section 269
The second issue is whether respondent properly utilized his authority under section 269 to allocate A & R's income and deductions to Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal. Section 269 is available —
and the principal purpose for which such acquisition was made is evasion or avoidance of Federal income tax by securing the benefit of a deduction, credit, or other allowance which such person or corporation would not otherwise enjoy, then the Secretary may disallow such deduction, credit, or other allowance * * *
The "principal purpose" for the acquisition of control of the corporation must have been the evasion or avoidance of Federal income tax by securing the benefit of a deduction, credit, or other allowance not otherwise available. In the present case, the principal purpose for the formation of A & R was to secure the tax benefits of its retirement plans. We have already held that as a general proposition, the formation of a
Furthermore, even if the formation of a corporation for such a purpose were an evasion or avoidance of taxes, it would not be so in the present case because the benefits expected from A & R's plans are not available. (See the sec. 414(b) discussion, infra.)
3. Section 61
The third issue is whether section 61 applies to shift A & R's income and deductions. Respondent stated his position as follows: "[A & R] is a sham for tax purposes; it did not actually earn the management fees which it reported. Section 61." Without citing Moline Properties v. Commissioner, 319 U.S. 436 (1943), respondent apparently is asking us to disregard the corporate existence of A & R. This we decline to do. Moline Properties v. Commissioner, supra at 438-439, requires the recognition of a corporation as a separate entity if either (1) the purpose for the formation of the corporation is the equivalent of a business activity
In Jones (see discussion, supra), this Court found that the taxpayer's personal service corporation was not a sham and that it engaged in substantial business activity. We also found, however, that the taxpayer performed services in his individual capacity because by law his corporation could not perform such services. Accordingly, we held that he assigned his income to the corporation. The present case is distinguishable. Here, we have found that Achiro and Rossi functioned as employees of A & R under valid exclusive employment agreements. In their capacities as employees, they rendered services to Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal pursuant to management contracts between A & R on the one hand and Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal on the other hand. Furthermore, the parties were not precluded by law from operating in corporate form as in Jones.
In Roubik v. Commissioner, 53 T.C. 365 (1969), four radiologists who had separate practices formed a personal service corporation ostensibly to carry on their practices. We found as a fact that the radiologists continued to carry on their prior separate practices and merely assigned their income to their corporation. Lucas v. Earl, 281 U.S. 111 (1930). Although they entered into employment agreements with their corporation, the corporation never entered into loan-out agreements with the hospitals or others for whom the radiologists performed their services. The doctors did not respect the corporate form after the personal service corporation was formed. That is not our situation here. Respondent, on whom the burden of proof
C. Deduction of Management Fees
The fourth issue is whether the management fees paid by Tahoe City Disposal to A & R were expended for the purposes designated and whether they were ordinary and necessary business expenses.
Among the items deductible as business expenses under section 162(a) are management expenses. Latham Park Manor, Inc. v. Commissioner, 69 T.C. 199 (1977), affd. in an unpublished opinion 618 F.2d 100 (4th Cir. 1980); sec. 1.162-1(a), Income Tax Regs. The test of deductibility of payments made for services (e.g., compensation or management fees) is whether they are reasonable and are in fact payments purely for services. Sec. 1.162-7(a), Income Tax Regs.
Respondent has conceded that if the payments are disallowed as management fees, they should be allowed almost in their entirety as employee salary deductions. Since the services rendered are the same regardless of their designation as either management services or employee services, respondent has, in effect, conceded that the fees were reasonable in amount.
4. Section 414(b)
The final issue is whether the employees of A & R and the employees of Tahoe City Disposal should be aggregated pursuant to section 414(b).
Section 1.1563-1(a)(6), Income Tax Regs., defines voting powers for purposes of section 1563(a) as follows:
in determining whether the stock owned by a person (or persons) possesses a certain percentage of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote of a corporation, consideration will be given to all the facts and circumstances of each case. A share of stock will generally be considered as possessing the voting power accorded to such share by the corporate charter, bylaws, or share certificate. On the other hand, if there is any agreement, whether express or implied, that a shareholder will not vote his stock in a corporation, the formal voting rights possessed by his stock may be disregarded in determining the percentage of the total combined voting power possessed by the stock owned by other shareholders in the corporation, if the result is that the corporation becomes a component member of a controlled group of corporations. Moreover, if a shareholder agrees to vote his stock in a corporation in the manner specified by another shareholder in the corporation, the voting rights possessed by the stock owned by the first shareholder may be considered to be possessed by the stock owned by such other shareholder if the result is that the corporation becomes a component member of a controlled group of corporations. [Emphasis added.]
Since the corporations form a controlled group, the employees of A & R and the employees of Tahoe City Disposal must be aggregated under section 414(b) for purposes of section 401. Such a holding complies with the intent of Congress in enacting section 414(b) as expressed in H. Rept. 93-779, at 49 (1974), 1974-3 C.B. 292:
The committee, by this provision, intends to make it clear that the coverage and antidiscrimination provisions cannot be avoided by operating through separate corporations instead of separate branches of one corporation. For example, if managerial functions were performed through one corporation employing highly compensated personnel, which has a generous pension plan, and assembly-line functions were performed through one or more other corporations employing lower-paid employees, which have less generous plans or no plans at all, this would generally constitute an impermissible discrimination. * * *
A & R was formed for the express purpose of rendering managerial services to Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal. In 1975 and 1976, A & R's employees, Achiro and Rossi, were officers, shareholders, and highly compensated. Sec. 1.401-4(a)(1)(i), Income Tax Regs. The "assembly-line functions" of the day-to-day waste disposal and dump operations were carried on by the employees of Tahoe City Disposal and Kings Beach Disposal. This is the very kind of situation Congress had in mind when it enacted section 414(b).
Accordingly, for the years 1975 and 1976, A & R's pension and profit-sharing plans were not qualified because they
Petitioners contend that the prescribed relationship between the stockholders of A & R and the stockholders of Tahoe City Disposal did not exist in 1975 or 1976. Petitioners' contention rests squarely on their assertion that Renato's 52-percent interest in A & R is not attributable to them and must be considered as owned by an unrelated and uncontrolled party when determining whether A & R and Tahoe City Disposal are members of a controlled group of corporations. In support of this contention, petitioners list numerous reasons for the acquisition of a controlling interest in A & R by Renato and cite two recent decisions of this Court, Garland v. Commissioner, 73 T.C. 5 (1979), and Kiddie v. Commissioner, 69 T.C. 1055 (1978).
Petitioner's factual arguments are without merit. Renato testified that it was his brother's wish that he acquire a controlling interest in A & R and that was the only reason for his acquisition of A & R's stock. Achiro believed that benefits from increased contributions to A & R's pension and profit-sharing plans were possible if Renato owned 52 percent of A & R's voting stock. We have found as a fact that Renato implicitly agreed not to vote his stock or to vote as Achiro instructed him.
Petitioner's reliance on Garland v. Commissioner, supra, and Kiddie v. Commissioner, supra, is similarly misplaced. The Kiddie decision states that attribution of partnership characteristics to a partner does not occur unless the partner controls the partnership. In that case, we held that a corporate partner, who never owned more than a 50-percent interest in a partnership, is not attributed the employees of the partnership when determining whether the corporate partner's pension and profit-sharing plans are discriminatory. In Garland, the parties agreed that neither section 414(b) nor section 414(c) applied. Accordingly, our decision here, which rests on the
Decisions will be entered under Rule 155.
Further evidence can be found that Congress is aware of this disparate treatment between self-employed individuals and corporate shareholder-employees. In the Tax Reform Act of 1969, Congress enacted sec. 1379 which provides that the benefits available to shareholder-employees of subchapter S corporations from pension and profit-sharing plans are limited, for the most part, to the benefits available to self-employed individuals under H.R. 10 plans. A Senate Finance Committee amendment to the House bill (H.R. 13270) would also have provided in sec. 901 similar treatment for shareholder-employees of professional service corporations. Comm. on Finance, S. Rept. 91-552, Amendment (in the nature of a substitute) to H.R. 13270, p. 509. This provision was deleted on the Senate floor from the final Senate version of H.R. 13270. 115 Cong. Rec. 37922-37931 (1969). It is apparent from the debate over this provision that members of the Senate were aware of the use of personal service corporations to gain tax benefits from pension and profit-sharing plans. However, the Senate chose not to pass this provision limiting the benefits. 115 Cong. Rec., supra. See also Comm. on Finance, S. Rept. 91-552 to accompany H.R. 13270, pp. 270-272.
(b) EMPLOYEES OF CONTROLLED GROUP OF CORPORATIONS.—For purposes of sections 401, 408(k), 410, 411 and 415, all employees of all corporations which are members of a controlled group of corporations (within the meaning of section 1563(a), determined without regard to section 1563(a)(4) and (e)(3)(C)) shall be treated as employed by a single employer. * * *
BROTHER-SISTER CONTROLLED GROUP.—Two or more corporations if 5 or fewer persons who are individuals, estates, or trusts own (within the meaning of subsection (d)(2)) stock possessing—