IRS Does Not Agree S Corporation Restricted Stock Ownership Counts for Real Estate Professional

In a case discussed here in 2015 (Restricted Stock Interest Still Found to Constitute Ownership Interest for Qualifying as Real Estate Professional) an Arkansas U.S. District Court held that a taxpayer who held restricted stock that constituted greater than 5% of the stock of the corporation could count hours worked in that entity towards qualifying as a real estate professional.

As is discussed in the original article, so long as no Section 83(b) election is filed by the taxpayer, the restricted stock is treated for S corporation purposes as "not issued" and thus does not create second class of stock issues.  The IRS had argued that same provision meant that the stock had to be ignored for purposes of the 5% stock ownership rule for counting as real estate professional hours time spent working as an employee for the S corporation.  The court did not agree with the IRS and treated the individual as a real estate professional.

Now the IRS has announced the agency will not follow the result in this case in Action on Decision 2017-07.  In a footnote the agency described the specific issues the agency was disagreeing with.

Nonacquiescence relating to the holdings that: 1) mere possession of a stock certificate, disregarding other conditions, restrictions or limitations on the possessor’s rights regarding the stock, constitutes ownership for purposes of § 469(c)(7)(D)(ii); and 2) work performed by the taxpayer in a rental real estate activity for purposes of § 469(c)(7)(A) may also constitute work performed by the taxpayer in non-rental business activities of the taxpayer for other purposes of § 469.