We examine the taxation of corporate income earned in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and how the repeal of the possession tax credit available under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §936 resulted in many U.S. companies converting former possessions corporations into controlled foreign corporations. Although Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, the conversions highlight that corporations organized under the laws of the Commonwealth generally are foreign corporations for U.S. tax purposes. A U.S. Senate Subcommittee reports Microsoft Corporation shifted offshore the recognition of nearly one-half of its U.S. net retail sales revenue for the period 2009–2011 by transferring intellectual property rights to a controlled subsidiary in Puerto Rico. We find that the corresponding U.S. tax benefits are significant compared to the credits once claimed under IRC §936, and over 20 percent of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 firms were in a similar position to avoid federal taxation by shifting income between political subdivisions of the United States.

You do not currently have access to this content.