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10-K
RLJ LODGING TRUST filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2019
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ownership change may be limited. To the extent the affected corporation's ability to use NOLs is limited, such corporation's taxable income may increase. As of December 31, 2018, we had approximately $323.3 million of NOLs (all of which are attributable to our TRSs), which will begin to expire in 2024 for U.S. federal tax purposes and during the period from 2019 to 2032 for state tax purposes if not utilized. An ownership change within the meaning of Section 382 of the Code with respect to one of the REIT's TRSs occurred during the 2012 and 2013 tax years. The ownership change with respect to the acquisition of FelCor in 2017 also resulted in NOL limitations under Section 382 of the Code. Accordingly, to the extent that the TRSs have taxable income in future years, their ability to use NOLs incurred prior to these ownership changes in such future years will be limited, and they may have greater taxable income as a result of such limitation. In addition, losses in our TRSs will generally not provide any tax benefit, except for being carried back or forward against past or future taxable income in the TRSs; provided, however, losses in our TRSs arising in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 may not be carried back and may only be deducted against 80% of future taxable income in the TRSs.

Section 383 of the Code and the Treasury Regulations thereunder govern the limitations of tax credits generated prior to the time of an ownership change. To the extent the affected corporation's ability to use tax credits is limited, such corporation's tax liability may increase. As of December 31, 2018, we had approximately $19.4 million of tax credit carryforwards related to historic tax credits (all of which are attributable to our TRSs), which will begin to expire in 2035.

Complying with REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively and may cause us to incur tax liabilities.

The REIT provisions of the Code may limit our ability to hedge our assets and operations. Under these provisions, any income that we generate from transactions intended to hedge our interest rate risk will be excluded from gross income for purposes of the REIT 75% and 95% gross income tests if the instrument hedges interest rate risk on liabilities used to carry or acquire real estate assets (each such hedge, a "Borrowings Hedge") or manages the risk of certain currency fluctuations (each such hedge, a "Currency Hedge"), and such instrument is properly identified under applicable Treasury Regulations. Income from hedging transactions that do not meet these requirements will generally constitute non-qualifying income for purposes of both the REIT 75% and 95% gross income tests. Exclusion from the REIT 75% and 95% gross income tests also applies if we previously entered into a Borrowings Hedge or a Currency Hedge, a portion of the hedged indebtedness or property is disposed of, and in connection with such extinguishment or disposition we enter into a new properly identified hedging transaction to offset the prior hedging position. As a result of these rules, we may have to limit our use of hedging techniques that might otherwise be advantageous or implement those hedges through a TRS. This could increase the cost of our hedging activities because our TRS would be subject to tax on gains or expose us to greater risks associated with changes in interest rates than we would otherwise want to bear.

If our Operating Partnership fails to maintain its status as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, its income may be subject to taxation, and we would lose our REIT status.
 
Our Operating Partnership will qualify as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes; however, if the IRS were to successfully challenge the status of our Operating Partnership as a partnership, it would be taxable as a corporation. In such event, this would reduce the amount of distributions that our Operating Partnership could make to us. This could also result in our losing REIT status and becoming subject to corporate level tax on our income. This would substantially reduce our cash available to pay distributions and the return on a shareholder's investment. In addition, if any of the entities through which our Operating Partnership owns its properties, in whole or in part, loses its characterization as a disregarded entity or a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, it would be subject to taxation as a corporation, thereby reducing distributions to our Operating Partnership. Such a re-characterization of an underlying property owner could also threaten our ability to maintain REIT status.

Legislation modifying the rules applicable to partnership tax audits could materially and adversely affect us.
 
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (the "Act"), effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, requires our Operating Partnership and any subsidiary partnership to pay any hypothetical increase in partner-level taxes (including interest and penalties) resulting from an adjustment of partnership tax items due to an audit or other tax proceedings, unless the partnership elects an alternative method under which the taxes (and interest and penalties) resulting from any such adjustment are assessed at the partner level. Many uncertainties remain as to the application of the Act, including the application of the alternative tax assessment method to partners that are REITs, and the impact the Act will have on us. However, it is possible that the partnerships in which we invest may be subject to U.S. federal income tax, interest and penalties in the event of a U.S. federal income tax audit as a result of the Act. If this were to occur, the partners of the partnership in question, in the year of adjustment, rather than the year under examination, would be allocated a share of that partnership's assessed tax liability, unless the partnership elects to use statutory provisions to allocate the impact to the partners of the partnership in the year under audit.


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