Tax Implications of Cross-Border Stock Transactions: Multinational Companies

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Cross-border stock transactions can be complex, especially when involving multinational companies and tax implications. In this blog, we’ll delve into the tax considerations surrounding such transactions, using a real-world scenario as our backdrop.

The Scenario: The Multinational Mining Company Scenario

Our client, a multinational mining company, is the parent company of a U.S. based LLC. The company’s goal is to sell the stock of its U.S. subsidiary to another foreign company. This transaction involves two steps: first, the parent company transfers the shares to its affiliate company, also a non-U.S. company. Next, the affiliate company sells these shares to the acquiring company, which is likewise a non-U.S. company.

To understand the tax implications, we need to consider several factors.

Tax Implications of Cross-Border Stock Transactions

Tax Election of the US Subsidiary: The US subsidiary has elected to be taxed as a corporation. This choice can influence how the transactions are taxed.

Nature of Assets Held: The US subsidiary holds patented and unpatented mining claims in the US, which may be considered U.S. Real Property Interests (USRPI) for tax purposes.

The Tax Implications:

US Real Property Holding Corporation (USRPHC):  USRPHC is defined as a corporation that holds US real property interests. This includes not only physical properties, such as residential or commercial buildings, but also interests in entities that primarily hold US real property. If the fair market value (FMV) of the US subsidiary’s USRPI is at least 50 percent of sum of the FMV of its total USRPI, total interest in real property located outside the US, and any other assets used in its trade or business, the US subsidiary could be classified as a U.S. Real Property Holding Corporation (USRPHC). In such a case, the stock of the US subsidiary would also be considered a USRPI in the hands of the foreign shareholders.

FIRPTA Withholding: The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) would apply, requiring the foreign acquirer to withhold 15 percent of the amount realized on the disposition of the US subsidiary’s stock. When a foreign company disposes US real property interest, it is subject to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) withholding requirements. FIRPTA requires the buyer to withhold a portion of the purchase price and remit it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure taxes are paid.

Taxation of Gains and Losses: Gains on dispositions of real property interest (“FIRPTA”), gains from the sale of a US real property interest (“USRPI”), such as real estate, or interests in partnerships, trusts, and US corporations that own primarily US real estate, are taxed as effectively connected income (ECI). ECI is taxed on a net basis at rates similar to those applicable to US corporations, which is currently 21 percent.

No Real Property Held: If the US subsidiary holds no real property, the sale of its stock alone would not trigger a US tax liability. However, due to the transfer of the stock from the parent company to an affiliated company, the proceeds received by the parent company might be subject to Fixed, Determinable, Annual, or Periodical (FDAP) withholding tax, typically at a rate of 30 percent, unless a tax treaty between the United States and the country of residence of the recipient company provides for a lower withholding rate.


In the complex world of cross-border stock transactions, it’s crucial to consider the nature of assets held and tax elections made by the entities involved. In the case of our mining company client, the tax implications are contingent on whether the US subsidiary qualifies as a USRPHC due to its real property interests. Understanding and navigating these tax considerations are essential to ensure compliance and make informed financial decisions in cross-border transactions. Always consult with tax professionals or legal experts to address the specific details of your situation.


Disclaimer and Important Information

This content supports our marketing efforts for professional services and is not personalized tax advice. If you’re interested in these topics, we encourage you to reach out to us or a qualified tax professional for advice tailored to your specific situation. Nothing in this content restricts anyone from disclosing tax treatment or structure. If you need personalized tax advice, consult us or another tax professional. This information is general and subject to change; it’s not accounting, legal, or tax advice. It may not apply to your unique circumstances and requires considering additional factors. Please contact us or a tax professional before taking any action based on this information. Tax laws and other factors may change, and we are not obligated to update you on these changes.

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