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SEC Filings

AC IMMUNE SA filed this Form 20-F on 03/21/2019
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Passive Foreign Investment Company Rules


Under the Code, we will be a PFIC for any taxable year in which, after the application of certain “look-through” rules with respect to subsidiaries, either (i) 75% or more of our gross income consists of “passive income,” or (ii) 50% or more of the average quarterly value of our assets consist of assets that produce, or are held for the production of, “passive income.” For purposes of the above calculations, we will be treated as if we hold our proportionate share of the assets of, and receive directly our proportionate share of the income of, any other corporation in which we directly or indirectly own at least 25%, by value, of the shares of such corporation. Passive income generally includes interest, dividends, rents, certain non-active royalties and capital gains. Based on our income and assets during 2018 and certain estimates and projections, including as to the relative values of our assets, we do not believe that we were a PFIC in 2018. However, there can be no assurance that the IRS will agree with our conclusion. In addition, whether we will be a PFIC in 2019 or any future years is uncertain because, among other things, (i) we may not generate a substantial amount of non-passive gross income, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, in any year, (ii) we currently own, and will own, a substantial amount of passive assets, including cash, and (iii) the estimated valuation, for PFIC purposes, of our assets that generate non-passive income for PFIC purposes, including our intangible assets, is likely to be dependent in large part on our market capitalization and is therefore uncertain and may vary substantially over time. In this respect, our market capitalization has experienced significant declines and volatility after the beginning of 2019, which could increase the risk that we will be a PFIC in 2019 or later years. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that we will not be a PFIC for any taxable year. If we are a PFIC for any year during which a U.S. Holder holds common shares, we generally would continue to be treated as a PFIC with respect to that U.S. Holder for all succeeding years during which the U.S. Holder holds common shares, even if we ceased to meet the threshold requirements for PFIC status.


If we were a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. Holder held common shares (assuming such U.S. Holder has not made a timely mark-to-market election, as further described below), gain recognized by a U.S. Holder on a sale or other disposition (including certain pledges) of the common shares would be allocated ratably over the U.S. Holder’s holding period for the common shares. The amounts allocated to the taxable year of the sale or other disposition and to any year before we became a PFIC would be taxed as ordinary income. The amount allocated to each other taxable year would be subject to tax at the highest rate in effect for individuals or corporations, as appropriate, for that taxable year, and an interest charge would be imposed on the amount allocated to that taxable year. Further, to the extent that any distribution received by a U.S. Holder on its common shares exceeds 125% of the average of the annual distributions on the common shares received during the preceding three years or the U.S. Holder’s holding period, whichever is shorter, that distribution would be subject to taxation in the same manner as gain, described immediately above.


A U.S. Holder can avoid certain of the adverse rules described above by making a mark-to-market election with respect to its common shares, provided that the common shares are “marketable.” Common shares will be marketable if they are “regularly traded” on a “qualified exchange” or other market within the meaning of applicable Treasury regulations. If a U.S. Holder makes the mark-to-market election, it generally will recognize as ordinary income any excess of the fair market value of the common shares at the end of each taxable year over their adjusted tax basis, and will recognize an ordinary loss in respect of any excess of the adjusted tax basis of the common shares over their fair market value at the end of the taxable year (but only to the extent of the net amount of income previously included as a result of the mark-to-market election). If a U.S. Holder makes the election, the holder’s tax basis in the common shares will be adjusted to reflect the income or loss amounts recognized. Any gain recognized on the sale or other disposition of common shares in a year when we are a PFIC will be treated as ordinary income and any loss will be treated as an ordinary loss (but only to the extent of the net amount of income previously included as a result of the mark-to-market election).


In addition, in order to avoid the application of the foregoing rules, a United States person that owns stock in a PFIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes may make a “qualified electing fund” election (a “QEF Election”) with respect to such PFIC if the PFIC provides the information necessary for such election to be made. If a United States person makes a QEF Election with respect to a PFIC, the United States person will be currently taxable on its pro rata share of the PFIC’s ordinary earnings and net capital gain (at ordinary income and capital gain rates, respectively) for each taxable year that the entity is classified as a PFIC and will not be required to include such amounts in income when actually distributed by the PFIC. We do not intend to provide information necessary for U.S. Holders to make qualified electing fund elections.


In addition, if we were a PFIC or, with respect to particular U.S. Holder, were treated as a PFIC for the taxable year in which we paid a dividend or for the prior taxable year, the preferential dividend rates discussed above with respect to dividends paid to certain non-corporate U.S. Holders would not apply.



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