Absent this provision, a debtor would be required to investigate and prosecute all avoidance and other causes of action prior to confirming a plan, which may take years.
An oversight committee is often utilized as well to oversee the liquidating trustee’s certain decisions and actions.
In 1994, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) issued Revenue Procedure 94-45 (“Rev. 94-45”), which established guidelines applicable to liquidating trusts formed to implement a Chapter 11 plan, which are similar to the considerations applicable to a liquidating trust outside bankruptcy. 94-45 lists twelve conditions which, if met, will generally result in the issuance by the IRS of an advance determination classifying the trust as a liquidating trust under Treas. The plan, disclosure statement, and any separate trust instrument must provide for consistent valuations of the transferred property by the trustee and the creditors, and those valuations must be used for all federal income tax purposes.
If followed, these guidelines should ensure that the establishment of the trust will be treated as a transfer from the bankruptcy estate to the beneficiaries followed by a deemed transfer by the beneficiaries to the liquidating trust. Finally, a liquidating trust may lose its grantor trust status “if the liquidation is unreasonably prolonged or if the liquidation purpose becomes so obscured by business activities that the declared purpose of liquidation can be said to be lost or abandoned.” 26 CFR § 301.7701-4(d).
A trustee qualifies as a representative of the estate if a successful recover would benefit, directly or indirectly, the debtor’s the creditors that are beneficiaries of the trust. The transfer will be treated as a deemed transfer to the beneficiary-creditors followed by a deemed transfer by the beneficiary-creditors to the trust.
Treasury Regulation 301.7701-4(d), 26 CFR § 301.7701-4(d) (“Treas. 301.7701-4(d)”) provides for establishment of a liquidating trust as a grantor trust, such that it will be a pass-through entity for tax purposes, without an entity-level tax. The plan, disclosure statement, and trust agreement must provide that the beneficiaries of the trust will be treated as the grantors and deemed owners of the trust and that the trust instrument (or plan if a separate trust agreement does not exist) requires the trustee to file returns for the trust as a grantor trust pursuant to section 1.671-4(a) of the Income Tax Regulations, 26 CFR § 1.671-4(a).