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Page 8 - Tax Treatment of Operations

SPECTRA ENERGY PARTNERS, LP filed this Form 8-K on 2/21/2018



Under our partnership agreement, we are authorized to take a position to preserve the uniformity of units even if that position is not consistent with applicable Treasury Regulations. A literal application of Treasury Regulations governing a Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to properties depreciable under Section 167 of the Code may give rise to differences in the taxation of unitholders purchasing units from us and unitholders purchasing from other unitholders. If we have any such properties, we intend to adopt methods employed by other publicly traded partnerships to preserve the uniformity of units, even if inconsistent with existing Treasury Regulations, and Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. has not opined on the validity of this approach. Please read “—Uniformity of Units.”


The IRS may challenge the positions we adopt with respect to depreciating or amortizing the Section 743(b) adjustment to preserve the uniformity of units due to the lack of controlling authority. Because a unitholder’s adjusted tax basis for its units is reduced by its share of our items of deduction or loss, any position we take that understates deductions will overstate a unitholder’s tax basis in its units, and may cause the unitholder to understate gain or overstate loss on any sale of such units. Please read “— Disposition of Units — Recognition of Gain or Loss.” If a challenge to such treatment were sustained, the gain from the sale of units may be increased without the benefit of additional deductions.


The calculations involved in the Section 754 election are complex and are made on the basis of assumptions as to the value of our assets and other matters. The IRS could seek to reallocate some or all of any Section 743(b) adjustment we allocated to our assets subject to depreciation to goodwill or nondepreciable assets. Goodwill, as an intangible asset, is generally amortizable over a longer period of time or under a less accelerated method than our tangible assets. We cannot assure any unitholder that the determinations we make will not be successfully challenged by the IRS or that the resulting deductions will not be reduced or disallowed altogether. Should the IRS require a different tax basis adjustment to be made, and should, in our opinion, the expense of compliance exceed the benefit of the election, we may seek permission from the IRS to revoke our Section 754 election. If permission is granted, a subsequent purchaser of units may be allocated more income than it would have been allocated had the election not been revoked.


Tax Treatment of Operations


Accounting Method and Taxable Year


We use the year ending December 31 as our taxable year and the accrual method of accounting for federal income tax purposes. Each unitholder will be required to include in its tax return its share of our income, gain, loss and deduction for each taxable year ending within or with its taxable year. In addition, a unitholder who has a taxable year ending on a date other than December 31 and who disposes of all of its units following the close of our taxable year but before the close of its taxable year must include its share of our income, gain, loss and deduction in income for its taxable year, with the result that it will be required to include in income for its taxable year its share of more than twelve months of our income, gain, loss and deduction. Please read “—Disposition of Units—Allocations Between Transferors and Transferees.”


Tax Basis, Depreciation and Amortization


The tax basis of each of our assets will be used for purposes of computing depreciation and cost recovery deductions and, ultimately, gain or loss on the disposition of these assets. If we dispose of depreciable property by sale, foreclosure or otherwise, all or a portion of any gain, determined by reference to the amount of depreciation deductions previously taken, may be subject to the recapture rules and taxed as ordinary income rather than capital gain. Similarly, a unitholder who has taken cost recovery or depreciation deductions with respect to property we own will likely be required to recapture some or all of those deductions as ordinary income upon a sale of its interest in us. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership—Allocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction” and “—Disposition of Units – Recognition of Gain or Loss.”


The costs we incur in offering and selling our units (called “syndication expenses”) must be capitalized and cannot be deducted currently, ratably or upon our termination. While there are uncertainties regarding the classification of certain costs as organization expenses, which may be amortized by us, and as syndication expenses, which may not be amortized by us, the underwriting discounts and commissions we incur will be treated as syndication expenses. Please read “Disposition of Units – Recognition of Gain or Loss.”