Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(3)
Registration No. 333-261503
ENERGY TRANSFER LP
146,389,489 Common Units
Representing Limited Partner Interests
Offered by the Selling Unitholders
This prospectus relates to the offer and sale from time to time of up to 146,389,489 of our common units (the common units), by the selling unitholders named herein, together or separately, in amounts, at prices and on terms that will be determined at the time of any such offering.
We are registering the offer and sale of the common units owned by the selling unitholders to satisfy registration rights we have granted to the selling unitholders pursuant to a registration rights agreement dated as of December 2, 2021 (the Registration Rights Agreement). We have agreed to bear all of the expenses incurred in connection with the registration of the common units covered by this prospectus. The selling unitholders will pay or assume brokerage commissions and similar charges, if any, incurred in the sale of the common units offered by this prospectus.
We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of common units by the selling unitholders. The common units to which this prospectus relates may be offered and sold from time to time directly by the selling unitholders or alternatively through underwriters, broker dealers or agents. The selling unitholders will determine at what price they may sell the common units offered by this prospectus, and such sales may be made at fixed prices, at prevailing market prices at the time of the sale, at varying prices determined at the time of sale, or at negotiated prices. For additional information on the methods of sale that may be used by the selling unitholders, see the section entitled Plan of Distribution.
We may amend or supplement this prospectus from time to time by filing amendments or supplements as required. You should carefully read this prospectus and any prospectus supplement or amendment before you invest in our common units. You also should read the documents we have referred you to in the Where You Can Find More Information section of this prospectus for information about us and our financial statements.
Our common units are listed on the New York Stock Exchange LLC (NYSE) under the symbol ET. On December 17, 2021, the last reported sale price of our common units on NYSE was $8.35 per common unit.
Our principal executive office is located at 8111 Westchester Drive, Suite 600, Dallas, Texas 75225 and our telephone number is (214) 981-0700.
Investing in our common units involves risks. Limited partnerships are inherently different from corporations. You should carefully review the risks and uncertainties described under the heading Risk Factors contained on page 7 herein and in any prospectus supplement or amendment and under similar headings in the other documents incorporated by reference into this prospectus.
NEITHER THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION NOR ANY STATE SECURITIES COMMISSION HAS APPROVED OR DISAPPROVED OF THESE SECURITIES OR PASSED UPON THE ACCURACY OR ADEQUACY OF THE DISCLOSURES IN THIS PROSPECTUS. ANY REPRESENTATION TO THE CONTRARY IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.
The date of this prospectus is December 22, 2021.
This prospectus is part of a registration statement that we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to which the selling unitholders named herein may, from time to time, offer and sell or otherwise dispose of the common units covered by this prospectus. You should not assume that the information contained in this prospectus is accurate on any date subsequent to the date set forth on the front cover of this prospectus or that any information we have incorporated by reference is correct on any date subsequent to the date of the document incorporated by reference, even though this prospectus is delivered or the common units are sold or otherwise disposed of on a later date. It is important for you to read and consider all information contained in this prospectus, including the documents incorporated by reference herein, in making your investment decision. You should also read and consider the information in the documents to which we have referred you under the caption Where You Can Find More Information in this prospectus.
We have not authorized anyone to provide any information or to make any representations other than those contained in this prospectus or in any free writing prospectuses we have prepared. We take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. We are not, and the selling unitholders are not, making an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where an offer or sale is not permitted.
This prospectus contains forward-looking statements that are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control. Please read Risk Factors and Forward-Looking Statements.
On December 2, 2021, the selling unitholders named herein entered into the Registration Rights Agreement made in connection with the closing of the transactions (the Merger) contemplated by that certain Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of February 16, 2021 (the Merger Agreement), pursuant to which, among other things, Energy Transfer acquired Enable Midstream Partners, LP, a Delaware limited partnership (Enable). As consideration under the Merger Agreement, the selling unitholders received 0.8595 common units representing limited partner interests in Energy Transfer in exchange for each Enable common unit held by such selling unitholder prior to the Merger. In addition, each outstanding Enable Series A Fixed-to-Floating Non-Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Units, representing limited partner interests was exchanged for 0.0265 of a 7.125% Series G Fixed-Rate Reset Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Unit of Energy Transfer, and Energy Transfer made a $10 million cash payment for Enables general partner interests.
We are filing this prospectus pursuant to the Registration Rights Agreement whereby, among other things, the selling unitholders have customary rights to require us to file and maintain the effectiveness of a registration statement with respect to the resale of the common units received by the selling unitholders under the Merger Agreement, and under certain circumstances, to require us to undertake underwritten offerings of such common units.
This prospectus is part of a shelf registration statement on Form S-3 that we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) utilizing a shelf registration process. This prospectus provides you with a general description of the common units the selling unitholders may offer. Each time any selling unitholder offers common units in an underwritten offering, we will provide a prospectus supplement accompanied by this prospectus. The prospectus supplement will contain specific information about the nature of Energy Transfer, the persons offering common units and the terms of the common units being offered at that time. The prospectus supplement may also add, update or change information contained in this prospectus. If there is any inconsistency between the information in this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement, you should rely on the information in the prospectus supplement.
We have provided you only with the information contained in this prospectus, including information incorporated by reference in this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement. Neither we nor the selling unitholders have authorized anyone to provide you with different or additional information. Neither we nor the selling unitholders take any responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of any other information that others may give you. Neither we nor the selling unitholders are making an offer to sell securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale of securities is not permitted. You should not assume that the information included in this prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplement, or the documents incorporated by reference herein is accurate as of any date other than their respective dates. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since those dates.
You should read carefully the entire prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement, as well as the documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus, before making an investment decision.
When used in this prospectus, except where the context otherwise requires, the terms we, us, our, Energy Transfer and the Partnership refer to Energy Transfer LP and its subsidiaries.
This prospectus, which forms part of the registration statement, does not contain all of the information included in the registration statement. For further information about us and the common units covered by this prospectus, you should refer to the registration statement and its exhibits. Certain information is also incorporated by reference in this prospectus as described under Incorporation of Certain Documents by Reference.
We are subject to the information and periodic reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act), and, in accordance therewith, file periodic reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. Such periodic reports, proxy statements and other information are available at the website of the SEC at http://www.sec.gov. We maintain a website at www.energytransfer.com. You may access our Annual Report on Form 10-K, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports, in each case filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act with the SEC, free of charge at our website as soon as reasonably practicable after this material is electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The reference to our website or web address does not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained at our website.
We have not authorized anyone to provide you with any information other than that contained in this prospectus or in a document to which we expressly have referred you. We take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. You should assume that the information appearing in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date on the front cover of this prospectus.
The SEC allows us to incorporate by reference the information we file with it. This means that we can disclose information to you by referring you to those documents. The documents that have been incorporated by reference are an important part of the prospectus, and you should review that information in order to understand the nature of any investment by you in our common units. Information that we later provide to the SEC, and that is deemed to be filed with the SEC, will automatically update information previously filed with the SEC, and may update or replace information in this prospectus and information previously filed with the SEC. This prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement incorporate by reference the documents set forth below that have been previously filed with the SEC:
our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, filed with the SEC on February 19, 2021;
our Current Reports on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on January 6, 2021, January 12, 2021, February 17, 2021, March 5, 2021, April 2, 2021, May 11, 2021, June 4, 2021, June 15, 2021 and December 3, 2021;
the description of our common units contained in the registration statement filed with the SEC on Form 8-A filed on January 31, 2006, and including any other amendments or reports filed for the purpose of updating such description;
The historical audited financial statements of Enable included in the 2020 Form 10-K (incorporated herein by reference to Part II, Item 8 of Enables Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 24, 2021);
The historical unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements of Enable included in the Q3 2021 Form 10-Q (incorporated herein by reference to Part I, Item 1 of Enables Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on November 1, 2021); and
The unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information, comprised of the pro forma balance sheet as of September 30, 2021, the related pro forma statements of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020 and the nine months ended September 30, 2021, and the related notes to the unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information, giving effect to the Merger as if it occurred on (i) September 30, 2021, in the case of the pro forma balance sheet and (ii) January 1, 2020, in the case of the pro forma statements of operations (incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit 99.4 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on December 3, 2021).
All documents subsequently filed by us pursuant to Section 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, including all such documents we may file with the SEC after the date of the initial registration and prior to the effectiveness of the registration statement (excluding, in each case, any information deemed furnished rather than filed), shall be deemed to be incorporated by reference in this prospectus until the termination of this offering under this prospectus.
Upon request, we will provide to each person, including any beneficial owner, to whom this prospectus is delivered, a copy of any or all of the reports or documents that have been incorporated by reference in this prospectus. If you would like a copy of any of these documents, at no cost, please write or call us at:
Energy Transfer LP
8111 Westchester Drive, Suite 600
Dallas, Texas 75225
Attn: Investor Relations
Any statement contained in a document which is incorporated by reference in this prospectus is automatically updated and superseded if information contained in the prospectus modifies or replaces this information.
We are a publicly traded limited partnership owning and operating a diversified portfolio of energy assets. Our core operations include complementary natural gas midstream, intrastate and interstate transportation and storage assets; crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and refined product transportation and terminalling assets; NGL storage and fractionation; and various acquisition and marketing assets. We also own Lake Charles LNG Company, as well as limited partner interests and the general partner interests of publicly traded master limited partnerships Sunoco LP (NYSE: SUN) and USA Compression Partners, LP (NYSE: USAC).
The address of our principal executive office is 8111 Westchester Drive, Suite 600, Dallas, Texas 75225, and the telephone number at this address is (214) 981-0700. We maintain a website at www.energytransfer.com. Information contained on, or accessible through, our website is not incorporated by reference in this prospectus.
Investing in our common units described herein involves risk. We urge you to carefully consider the risk factors described in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any updates in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, together with any other SEC filings that are incorporated by reference in this prospectus and, if applicable, in any prospectus supplement used in connection with an offering of our common units, as well as the information relating to us identified herein in Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements, before making an investment decision. Although we discuss key risks in our discussion of risk factors, new risks may emerge in the future that may prove to be significant. Our subsequent filings with the SEC may contain amended and updated discussions of significant risks. We cannot predict future risks or estimate the extent to which they may affect our financial performance.
The information contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement contain various forward-looking statements and information that is based on our beliefs and those of our general partner, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to us. These forward-looking statements are identified as any statement that does not relate strictly to historical or current facts. Such statements may address, among other things, our future results of operations or financial condition, business strategy and plans and objectives of management for future operations. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements because they contain words such as anticipate, project, expect, plan, goal, forecast, estimate, intend, could, believe, may, will or would or the negative of these words or other similar terms or expressions.
Although we and our general partner believe that the expectations on which such forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, neither we nor our general partner can give assurances that such expectations will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks, uncertainties and assumptions. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, estimated, projected or expected. Among the key risk factors that may have a direct bearing on our results of operations and financial condition are:
the volumes transported on our pipelines and gathering systems;
the level of throughput in our processing and treating facilities;
the fees we charge and the margins they realize for their gathering, treating, processing, storage and transportation services;
the prices and market demand for, and the relationship between, natural gas and NGLs;
energy prices generally;
impacts of world health events, including the COVID-19 pandemic;
the possibility of cyber and malware attacks;
the prices of natural gas and NGLs compared to the price of alternative and competing fuels;
the general level of petroleum product demand and the availability and price of NGL supplies;
the level of domestic oil, natural gas, and NGL production;
the availability of imported oil, natural gas and NGLs;
actions taken by foreign oil and gas producing nations;
the political and economic stability of petroleum producing nations;
the effect of weather conditions on demand for oil, natural gas and NGLs;
availability of local, intrastate and interstate transportation systems;
the continued ability to find and contract for new sources of natural gas supply;
availability and marketing of competitive fuels;
the impact of energy conservation efforts;
energy efficiencies and technological trends;
governmental regulation and taxation;
changes to, and the application of, regulation of tariff rates and operational requirements related to our interstate and intrastate pipelines;
hazards or operating risks incidental to the gathering, treating, processing and transporting of natural gas and NGLs;
competition from other midstream companies and interstate pipeline companies;
loss of key personnel;
loss of key natural gas producers or the providers of fractionation services;
reductions in the capacity or allocations of third-party pipelines that connect with our pipelines and facilities;
the effectiveness of risk-management policies and procedures and the ability of our liquids marketing counterparties to satisfy their financial commitments;
the nonpayment or nonperformance by our customers;
regulatory, environmental, political and legal uncertainties that may affect the timing and cost of our internal growth projects, such as our construction of additional pipeline systems;
risks associated with the construction of new pipelines and treating and processing facilities or additions to our existing pipelines and facilities, including difficulties in obtaining permits and rights-of-way or other regulatory approvals and the performance by third-party contractors;
the availability and cost of capital and our ability to access certain capital sources;
a deterioration of the credit and capital markets;
risks associated with the assets and operations of entities in which we own less than a controlling interests, including risks related to management actions at such entities that we may not be able to control or exert influence;
the ability to successfully identify and consummate strategic acquisitions at purchase prices that are accretive to our financial results and to successfully integrate acquired businesses;
changes in laws and regulations to which we are subject, including tax, environmental, transportation and employment regulations or new interpretations by regulatory agencies concerning such laws and regulations; and
the costs and effects of legal and administrative proceedings.
You should not put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. When considering forward-looking statements, please review the risks described or referenced in this prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement and the documents we incorporate by reference herein or therein. Each forward-looking statement made by us in this prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement and the documents we incorporate by reference herein or therein is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
This prospectus covers the offering for resale of up to an aggregate of 146,389,489 common units that may be offered and sold from time to time under this prospectus by the selling unitholders identified below, subject to any appropriate adjustment as a result of any security into which such common units shall have been converted or exchanged in connection with a recapitalization, reorganization, reclassification, merger, consolidation, exchange, distribution or otherwise.
The selling unitholders acquired the common units offered hereby as consideration in connection with and upon the closing of the Merger. On December 2, 2021, we entered into the Registration Rights Agreement with the selling unitholders, pursuant to which we are obligated to prepare and file a registration statement to permit the resale of certain common units held by the selling unitholders from time to time as permitted by Rule 415 promulgated under the Securities Act.
We have prepared the table below and the related notes based on information supplied to us by the selling unitholders and such information is as of December 22, 2021 (except as otherwise noted). We have not sought to verify such information. We believe, based on information supplied by the selling unitholders, that except as may otherwise be indicated in the footnotes to the table below, the selling unitholders have sole voting and dispositive power with respect to the common units reported as beneficially owned by them. Because the selling unitholders identified in the table may sell some or all of the common units owned by them that are included in this prospectus, and because there are currently no agreements, arrangements or understandings with respect to the sale of any of the common units, no estimate can be given as to the number of the common units available for resale hereby that will be held by the selling unitholders upon termination of this offering. In addition, the selling unitholders may have sold, transferred or otherwise disposed of, or may sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of, at any time and from time to time, the common units they hold in transactions exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act after the date on which the selling unitholders provided the information set forth in the table below. We have, therefore, assumed for the purposes of the following table, that the selling unitholders will sell all of the common units beneficially owned by them that are covered by this prospectus. The selling unitholders are not obligated to sell any of the common units offered by this prospectus. The percent of beneficial ownership for the selling unitholders is based on 3,181,346,900 common units outstanding as of December 17, 2021.
|Selling unitholders:||Common Units
Prior to the Offering(3)
|Common Units Beneficially
Owned After Completion
of the Offering(4)
CenterPoint Energy Midstream, Inc. (1)
OGE Enogex Holdings, LLC.(2)
1111 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas 77002
321 North Harvey, P.O. Box 321, Oklahoma City, OK 73101
The amounts and percentages of common units beneficially owned are reported on the basis of regulations of the SEC governing the determination of beneficial ownership of securities. Under the rules of the SEC, a person is deemed to be a beneficial owner of a security if that person has or shares voting power, which includes the power to vote or direct the voting of such security, or investment power, which includes the power to dispose of or to direct the disposition of such security. Under these rules, more than one person may be deemed to be a beneficial owner of the same securities, and a person may be deemed to be a beneficial owner of such securities as to which such person has no economic interest.
Assumes the selling unitholders sell all of the common units beneficially owned and do not acquire beneficial ownership of any additional common units.
As of the date of this prospectus, we have not been advised by the selling unitholders as to any plan of distribution. Distributions of the common units by the selling unitholders, or by their stockholders, pledgees, donees (including charitable organizations), transferees or other successors in interest, may from time to time be offered for sale either directly by such party, or through underwriters, dealers or agents or on any exchange on which the common units may from time to time be traded, in the over-the-counter market, or in independently negotiated transactions or otherwise. The methods by which the common units may be sold by the selling unitholders include:
sales on the NYSE or any national securities exchange or quotation service on which our common units may be listed or quoted at the time of sale;
privately negotiated transactions;
through one or more underwritten offerings on a firm commitment or best efforts basis;
to or through underwriters, brokers, dealers or agents;
exchange distributions and/or secondary distributions;
sales in the over-the-counter market;
at the market or through market makers or into an existing market for the securities;
ordinary brokerage transactions and transactions in which the broker solicits purchasers;
broker-dealers may agree with the selling unitholders to sell a specified number of such common units at a stipulated price per common unit;
block trades (which may involve crosses) in which the broker or dealer so engaged will attempt to sell the common units as agent but may position and resell a portion of the block as principal to facilitate the transaction;
purchases by a broker or dealer as principal and resale by such broker or dealer for its own account;
settlement of short sales entered into after the date of this prospectus (including short sales against the box);
through the writing or settlement of options or other hedging transactions, whether or not the options are listed on an options exchange;
through the distributions of the common units by any selling unitholder to its stockholders, members, managers, affiliates, employees, directors or unitholders;
a combination of any such methods of sale; and
any other method permitted pursuant to applicable law.
The selling unitholders may elect to make an in-kind distribution of their common units to their respective stockholders. To the extent that such stockholders are not affiliates of ours, such stockholders would thereby receive freely tradeable units of our common units pursuant to the distribution through this registration statement.
The selling unitholders may also sell common units under Rule 144 or any other exemption from registration under the Securities Act, in each case if available, rather than under this prospectus.
The selling unitholders also may transfer their common units in other circumstances, in which case the transferees or other successors in interest may be the selling beneficial owners for purposes of this prospectus.
Such transactions may be effected by the selling unitholders at fixed prices, market prices prevailing at the time of sale, at varying prices determined at the time or sale or at negotiated prices. The selling unitholders may effect such transactions by selling common units to underwriters or to or through broker-dealers, and such underwriters or broker-dealers may receive compensation in the form of discounts or commissions from the selling unitholders and may receive commissions from the purchasers of the securities for whom they may act as agent. The selling unitholders may agree to indemnify any underwriter, broker-dealer or agent that participates in transactions involving sales of the common units against certain liabilities, including liabilities arising under the Securities Act. We have agreed to register the common units for sale under the Securities Act and to indemnify the selling unitholders and each person who participates as an underwriter in the offering of the common units against certain civil liabilities, including certain liabilities under the Securities Act.
Broker-dealers engaged by the selling unitholders may arrange for other brokers-dealers to participate in sales. If the selling unitholders effect such transactions by selling securities to or through underwriters, broker-dealers or agents, such underwriters, broker-dealers or agents may receive commissions in the form of discounts, concessions or commissions from the selling unitholders (and/or, if any broker-dealer acts as agent for the purchaser of the securities, from the purchaser) in amounts to be negotiated.
The selling unitholders may act independently of us in making decisions with respect to the price, timing, manner and size of each sale of common units. Offers to purchase common units may be solicited directly by the selling unitholders and the sale thereof may be made by the selling unitholders directly to institutional investors or others. In such a case, no underwriters or agents would be involved. The selling unitholders may offer the common units covered by this prospectus into an existing trading market on the terms described in the applicable prospectus supplement relating thereto. Underwriters, dealers and agents who participate in any at-the-market offerings will be described in the applicable prospectus supplement relating thereto. The terms of each such agreement will be set forth in more detail in the applicable prospectus supplement. The selling unitholders may sell the common units through agents from time to time. Generally, any agent will be acting on a best efforts basis for the period of its appointment. If the selling unitholders utilize a dealer in the sale of the common units in respect of which this prospectus is delivered, the selling unitholders may sell such common units to the dealer, as principal. The dealer may then resell such common units to the public at varying prices to be determined by the dealer at the time of resale.
The selling unitholders may from time to time pledge or grant a security interest in some or all of the common units owned by them and, if they default in the performance of their secured obligations, the pledgees or secured parties may offer and sell the common units from time to time under this prospectus, or under an amendment to this prospectus under Rule 424 or other applicable provision of the Securities Act amending the list of selling unitholders to include the pledgee, transferee or other successors in interest as selling unitholders under this prospectus.
If the selling unitholders use one or more underwriters in the sale, the underwriters will acquire the common units for their own account, and they may resell these common units from time to time in one or more transactions, including negotiated transactions, at a fixed public offering price or at varying prices determined at the time of sale. The common units may be offered and sold to the public either through underwriting syndicates represented by one or more managing underwriters or directly by one or more of such firms. Underwriters may resell the common units to or through dealers, and those dealers may receive compensation in the form of one or more discounts, concessions or commissions from the underwriters and commissions from purchasers for which they may act as agents. We have not, and to our knowledge, the selling unitholders have not, entered into any agreement or understanding, directly or indirectly, with any person to distribute the common units offered hereby.
We are required to pay all fees and expenses incident to the registration of the common units. We have agreed to indemnify the selling unitholders against certain losses, claims, damages, liabilities, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys fees). We have also agreed to keep the registration statement of which this
prospectus forms a part or, if not available, another registration statement, effective until all of the registrable securities have ceased to be registrable securities or the termination of the Registration Rights Agreement has occurred.
There can be no assurances that the selling unitholders will sell, nor are the selling unitholders required to sell, any or all of the common units offered under this prospectus.
To the extent required, this prospectus may be amended or supplemented from time to time to describe a specific plan of distribution. If required, we may add transferees, successors and donees by prospectus supplement in instances where the transferee, successor or donee has acquired its common units from holders named in this prospectus after the effective date of this prospectus. Transferees, successors and donees of identified selling unitholders may not be able to use this prospectus for resales until they are named in the selling unitholders table by prospectus supplement or post-effective amendment. See Selling Unitholders.
Our common units represent limited partner interests in the Partnership. Our common units entitle the holders to participate in our cash distributions and to exercise the rights and privileges available to our limited partners under our Third Amended and Restated Agreement of Limited Partnership, as amended to date (our partnership agreement). For a description of the rights of holders of our common units to cash distributions, see the section in this prospectus entitled Distribution Policy. For a description of the rights and privileges of limited partners under our partnership agreement, including voting rights, see the section in this prospectus entitled Our Partnership Agreement. We urge you to read our partnership agreement, as our partnership agreement, and not this description, governs the rights of holders of our common units.
Number of Common Units
As of December 17, 2021 we had 3,181,346,900 common units outstanding, the majority of which are held by the public and the remaining held by our affiliates. In accordance with Delaware law and the provisions of our partnership agreement, we may issue additional common units without the approval of the then-existing holders of common units, and such additional issuance may dilute the then-existing common unitholders percentage interests in our net assets and the voting rights of the common unitholders under our partnership agreement.
Unlike the holders of common stock in a corporation, the holders of our common units have only limited voting rights on matters affecting our business. The holders of our common units have no right to elect the general partner or the directors of the general partner on an annual or otherwise continuing basis. Our general partner may not be removed except by the vote of the holders of at least 662⁄3% of the outstanding units, including units owned by the general partner and its affiliates. Each holder of common units is entitled to one vote for each common unit on all matters submitted to a vote of the unitholders. Common unitholders do not have preemptive rights to acquire additional common units or other partnership securities.
Holders of Energy Transfer common units may vote on the following matters:
a sale or exchange of all or substantially all of our assets;
the election of a successor general partner in connection with the withdrawal or removal of our general partner;
dissolution or reconstitution of the Partnership;
a merger of the Partnership;
issuance of limited partner interests in some circumstances; and
some amendments to our partnership agreement, including any amendment that would cause Energy Transfer to be treated as an association taxable as a corporation.
Removal of the general partner requires:
a 662⁄3% vote of all outstanding units; and
the election of a successor general partner by the holders of a majority of our outstanding common units.
Transfer of Energy Transfer Common Units
Any transfers of common units will not be recorded by the transfer agent or recognized by us unless the transferee executes and delivers a transfer application. By executing and delivering a transfer application, the transferee of common units:
becomes the record holder of the common units and is an assignee until admitted as a substituted limited partner;
automatically requests admission as a substituted limited partner;
represents and warrants that such transferee has the right, power and authority and, if an individual, the capacity to enter into our partnership agreement;
grants the powers of attorney set forth in our partnership agreement; and
gives the consents and approvals and makes the waivers contained in our partnership agreement.
An assignee will become a substituted limited partner for the transferred common units upon the consent of our general partner and the recording of the name of the assignee on our books and records. Our general partner may withhold its consent in its sole discretion.
A transferees broker, agent or nominee may complete, execute and deliver a transfer application. We are entitled to treat the nominee holder of common units as the absolute owner. In that case, the beneficial holders rights are limited solely to those that it has against the nominee holder as a result of any agreement between the beneficial owner and the nominee holder.
Our common units are securities and are transferable according to the laws governing transfer of securities.
In addition to other rights acquired upon admission as a substituted limited partner for the transferred common units, a purchaser or transferee of our common units who does not execute and deliver a transfer application obtains only:
the right to assign the common units to a purchaser or other transferee; and
the right to transfer the right to seek admission as a substituted limited partner for the transferred common units.
Thus, a purchaser or transferee of our common units who does not execute and deliver a transfer application:
will not receive cash distributions or federal income tax allocations, unless the common units are held in a nominee or street name account and the nominee or broker has executed and delivered a transfer application; and
may not receive some federal income tax information or reports furnished to record holders of common units.
The transferor of common units has a duty to provide the transferee with all information that may be necessary to transfer the common units. The transferor does not have a duty to insure the execution of the transfer application by the transferee and has no liability or responsibility if the transferee neglects or chooses not to execute and forward the transfer application to the transfer agent.
Until a common unit has been transferred on our books, we and the transfer agent may treat the record holder of the common unit as the absolute owner for all purposes, except as otherwise required by law or stock exchange regulations.
Our outstanding common units are listed on the NYSE under the symbol ET. Any additional common units we issue also will be listed on the NYSE.
Transfer Agent and Registrar
Our transfer agent and registrar for the common units is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company.
This description is a summary of the material provisions of our partnership agreement. The provisions of our partnership agreement relating to distributions of our available cash are described under Distribution Policy.
The description of our partnership agreement contained herein does not purport to be complete and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the complete text of our Third Amended and Restated Agreement of Limited Partnership, dated February 8, 2006, as amended. A copy of our partnership agreement is filed as Exhibit 3.1 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on February 14, 2006, as amended by Amendment No. 1 to our partnership agreement, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 3.3.1 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on November 29, 2006, as amended by Amendment No. 2 to our partnership agreement, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 3.3.2 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on November 13, 2007, as amended by Amendment No. 3 to our partnership agreement, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 3.1 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on June 2, 2010, as amended by Amendment No. 4 to our partnership agreement, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 3.1 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on December 27, 2013, as amended by Amendment No. 5 to our partnership agreement, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 3.1 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on March 9, 2016, as amended by Amendment No. 6 to our partnership agreement, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 3.2 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on October 19, 2018, as amended by Amendment No. 7 to our partnership agreement, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 3.10 to our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on August 8, 2019, as amended by Amendment No. 8 to our partnership agreement, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 3.1 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on April 1, 2021, as amended by Amendment No. 9 to our partnership agreement, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 3.1 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on June 15, 2021, each of which is incorporated by reference into this prospectus. We urge you to read our partnership agreement, as our partnership agreement, and not this description, governs our partnership interests.
Under our partnership agreement, we are permitted to engage, directly or indirectly, in any business activity that is approved by our general partner and that lawfully may be conducted by a limited partnership organized under Delaware law, provided that our general partner may not cause us to engage, directly or indirectly, in any business activity that our general partner determines would cause us to be treated as an association taxable as a corporation or otherwise taxable as an entity for federal income tax purposes.
Power of Attorney
Each unitholder, and each person who acquires a unit from a unitholder, by accepting the unit, automatically grants to our general partner and, if appointed, a liquidator, a power of attorney to, among other things, execute and file documents required for our qualification, continuance or dissolution. The power of attorney also grants the authority to amend, and to make consents and waivers under, our partnership agreement.
Pursuant to our partnership agreement, we make quarterly distributions of available cash to all unitholders and our general partner. Please see Distribution Policy.
Reimbursement of Expenses
Our partnership agreement requires us to reimburse our general partner for all direct and indirect expenses it incurs or payments it makes on our behalf and all other expenses allocable to us or otherwise incurred by our general partner in connection with operating our business. These expenses include salary, bonus, incentive
compensation and other amounts paid to persons who perform services for us or on our behalf and expenses allocated to our general partner by its affiliates. Our general partner is entitled to determine in good faith the expenses that are allocable to us.
Issuance of Additional Partnership Securities; Preemptive Rights
Our partnership agreement authorizes us to issue an unlimited number of additional partnership securities and options, rights, warrants and appreciation rights relating to the partnership securities for any partnership purpose at any time and from time to time to such persons, for such consideration and on such terms and conditions as our general partner determines, all without the approval of any limited partners.
It is possible that we will fund acquisitions through the issuance of additional common units or other equity securities. Holders of any additional common units we issue will be entitled to share equally with the then-existing holders of common units in our distributions of available cash. In addition, the issuance of additional partnership interests may dilute (i) the percentage interests of the then-existing holders of common units in our net assets and (ii) the voting rights of the then-existing holders of common units under our partnership agreement.
In accordance with Delaware law and the provisions of our partnership agreement, we may also issue additional partnership securities that have special voting rights to which the common units are not entitled.
Upon issuance of additional partnership securities, our general partner will have the right to make additional capital contributions to the extent necessary to maintain its then-current general partner interest in us; provided, however, that the capital contributions of our general partner will be offset to the extent contributions received by us in exchange for the issuance of additional partnership securities are used by us concurrently with such contributions to redeem or repurchase from any person outstanding partnership securities of the same class as the partnership securities that were issued. Moreover, our general partner will have the right, which it may from time to time assign in whole or in part to any of its affiliates, to purchase common units or other partnership securities whenever, and on the same terms that, we issue those securities to persons other than our general partner and its affiliates, to the extent necessary to maintain its percentage interest, including its interest represented by common units, that existed immediately prior to each issuance.
The holders of our common units do not have preemptive rights to acquire additional common units or other partnership securities.
As of December 1, 2021, we had 669,983,508 Class A units representing limited partner interests (the Class A units) outstanding. The Class A units vote together with our common units, as a single class, on any matter for which the holders of common units are entitled to vote, except as required by law. Additionally, for so long as Kelcy Warren is an officer or a director of our general partner, upon the issuance by us of additional common units or any securities that have voting rights that are pari passu with our common units, we will issue to the holder of Class A units a number of additional Class A units such that the holder maintains a voting interest in us that is identical to its voting interest in us prior to such issuance. The Class A units are not entitled to distributions and otherwise have no economic attributes, except that the Class A units in the aggregate will be entitled to an aggregate $100 distribution prior and in preference to any distribution of assets to the holders of any other classes or series of our securities upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up. The Class A units are not convertible into, or exchangeable for, common units. In addition to the other voting rights of the Class A units, without the approval of 66 2/3% of the Class A units, we may not take any action that disproportionately or materially adversely affects the rights, preferences or privileges of the Class A units or amend the terms of the Class A units. Without the prior approval of a conflicts committee of the board of directors of our general partner, the Class A units may not be transferred to any person or entity, other than to Kelcy Warren, Ray Davis or to any trust, family partnership or family limited liability company the sole beneficiaries, partners or members of which are Kelcy Warren, Ray Davis or their respective relatives.
Amendments to Our Partnership Agreement
Amendments to our partnership agreement may be proposed only by our general partner. Our general partner has no duty or obligation to propose any amendment to our partnership agreement and may decline to do so free of any fiduciary duty or obligation whatsoever to us, any limited partner or assignee and, in declining to propose an amendment, is not required to act in good faith or pursuant to any other standard imposed by our partnership agreement, any other agreement contemplated under our partnership agreement or under the Delaware Act or any other law, rule or regulation. A proposed amendment will be effective upon its approval by the holders of a majority of the outstanding common units (a unit majority), unless a greater or different percentage is required under our partnership agreement or by Delaware law. Each proposed amendment that requires the approval of the holders of a specified percentage of outstanding units will be set forth in a writing that contains the text of the proposed amendment. If such an amendment is proposed, our general partner will seek the written approval of the requisite percentage of outstanding units or call a meeting of the unitholders to consider and vote on such proposed amendment. Our general partner will notify all record holders upon final adoption of any such proposed amendments.
Restrictions on Certain Amendments
Our partnership agreement provides that:
no provision of our partnership agreement that establishes a percentage of outstanding units (including units deemed owned by our general partner) required to take any action shall be amended, altered, changed, repealed or rescinded in any respect that would have the effect of reducing such voting percentage unless such amendment is approved by the written consent or the affirmative vote of holders of outstanding units whose aggregate outstanding units constitute not less than the voting requirement sought to be reduced;
no amendment to our partnership agreement may (a) enlarge the obligations of any limited partner without its consent, unless such shall be deemed to have occurred as a result of an amendment approved pursuant to clause (3) below, (b) enlarge the obligations of, restrict in any way any action by or rights of, or reduce in any way the amounts distributable, reimbursable or otherwise payable to, our general partner or any of its affiliates without its consent, which consent may be given or withheld at its option, (c) change the provision of our partnership agreement providing for our dissolution upon an election to dissolve our partnership by our general partner that is approved by a unit majority (the election to dissolve provision), or (d) change the term of our partnership or, except as set forth in the election to dissolve provision, give any person the right to dissolve our partnership;
except for mergers or consolidations approved pursuant to the partnership agreement, and without limitation of our general partners authority to adopt amendments to our partnership agreement described below under No Unitholder Approval, any amendment that would have a material adverse effect on the rights or preferences of any class of partnership interests in relation to other classes of partnership interests must be approved by the holders of not less than a majority of the outstanding partnership interests of the class affected;
except for amendments described below under No Unitholder Approval and except in connection with unitholder approval of a merger or consolidation, no amendments shall become effective without the approval of the holders of at least 90% of the outstanding units voting as a single class unless we obtain an opinion of counsel to the effect that such amendment will not affect the limited liability of any limited partner under applicable law; and
except for amendments described below under No Unitholder Approval, the provisions set forth in clauses (1) through (4) above may only be amended with the approval of the holders of at least 90% of the outstanding units.
No Unitholder Approval
Our general partner, without the approval of any limited partner, may amend any provision of our partnership agreement to reflect:
a change in our name, the location of our principal place of business, our registered agent or our registered office;
admission, substitution, withdrawal or removal of partners in accordance with our partnership agreement;
a change that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate to qualify or continue the qualification of our partnership as a limited partnership or a partnership in which the limited partners have limited liability under the laws of any state or to ensure that the members of the partnership group will not be treated as associations taxable as corporations or otherwise taxed as entities for federal income tax purposes;
a change that our general partner determines (a) does not adversely affect the limited partners (including any particular class of partnership interests as compared to other classes of partnership interests) in any material respect, (b) to be necessary or appropriate to (i) satisfy any requirements, conditions or guidelines contained in any opinion, directive, order, ruling or regulation of any federal or state agency or judicial authority or contained in any federal or state statute (including the Delaware Act) or (ii) facilitate the trading of our units (including the division of any class or classes of outstanding units into different classes to facilitate uniformity of tax consequences within such classes of units) or comply with any rule, regulation, guideline or requirement of any national securities exchange on which the units are or will be listed for trading, (c) to be necessary or appropriate in connection with action taken by our general partner pursuant to the provisions of our partnership agreement governing distributions, subdivisions and combinations of partnership securities or (d) is required to effect the intent of the provisions of our partnership agreement or is otherwise contemplated by our partnership agreement;
a change in our fiscal year or taxable year and any other changes that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate as a result of a change in our fiscal year or taxable year, including, if our general partner shall so determine, a change in the definition of Quarter under our partnership agreement and the dates on which distributions are to be made by us;
an amendment that is necessary, in the opinion of counsel, to prevent us, or our general partner or its directors, officers, trustees or agents from in any manner being subjected to the provisions of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended, or plan asset regulations adopted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, regardless of whether such are substantially similar to plan asset regulations currently applied or proposed by the United States Department of Labor;
subject to certain limitations, an amendment that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate in connection with the authorization of issuance of any class or series of partnership securities pursuant to our partnership agreement;
any amendment expressly permitted in our partnership agreement to be made by our general partner acting alone;
an amendment effected, necessitated or contemplated by a merger agreement approved in accordance with the provisions of our partnership agreement;
an amendment that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate to reflect and account for the formation by us of, or investment by us in, any corporation, partnership, joint venture, limited liability company or other entity, in connection with the conduct by us of activities permitted by the terms of our partnership agreement;
a merger or conveyance pursuant to which (a) our general partner has received an opinion of counsel that the conversion, merger or conveyance, as the case may be, would not result in the loss of the limited liability of any limited partner or any member of the partnership group or cause us or any member of the partnership group to be treated as an association taxable as a corporation or otherwise to be taxed as an entity for federal income tax purposes (to the extent not previously treated as such), (b) the sole purpose of such conversion, merger or conveyance is to effect a mere change in the legal form of us into another limited liability entity and (c) the governing instruments of the new entity provide the limited partners and our general partner with the same rights and obligations as are contained in our partnership agreement; or
any other amendments substantially similar to the foregoing.
Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner
Our general partner may withdraw as general partner without first obtaining approval of any unitholder by giving 90 days notice to our unitholders, and that withdrawal will not constitute a breach of our partnership agreement. In addition, our partnership agreement permits our general partner in some instances to sell or otherwise transfer all of its general partner interest in us without the approval of the unitholders.
If our general partner gives a notice of withdrawal, the holders of a unit majority, may, prior to the effective date of such withdrawal, elect a successor general partner. The person so elected as successor general partner will automatically become the successor general partner or managing member, to the extent applicable, of the other members of the partnership group of which our general partner is a general partner or a managing member. If, prior to the effective date of our general partners withdrawal, a successor is not selected by our unitholders or we do not receive a withdrawal opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters, our partnership will be dissolved in accordance with our partnership agreement.
Our general partner may be removed if such removal is approved by our unitholders holding at least 66 2/3% of the outstanding units (including units held by our general partner and its affiliates). The right of the holders of outstanding units to remove our general partner may not be exercised unless we have received a withdrawal opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters. The ownership of more than 33 1/3% of our outstanding units by our general partner and its affiliates would give it the practical ability to prevent its removal.
We will be required to reimburse the departing general partner for all amounts due the departing general partner, including, without limitation, all employee-related liabilities, including severance liabilities, incurred in connection with the termination of any employees employed by the departing general partner or its affiliates for the benefit of us or the other members of the partnership group.
Transfer of General Partner Interest
Our general partner may transfer all or any of its general partner interest without unitholder approval. At any time, the members of our general partner may sell or transfer all or part of their membership interests in our general partner to an affiliate or a third party without the approval of our unitholders.
Liquidation and Distribution of Proceeds
We will continue as a limited partnership until dissolved under our partnership agreement. We will dissolve upon:
the withdrawal, removal, bankruptcy or dissolution of our general partner, unless a successor general partner is elected prior to or on the effective date of such withdrawal, removal, bankruptcy or dissolution and a withdrawal opinion of counsel is received by us;
an election to dissolve us by our general partner that is approved by the holders of a unit majority;
the entry of a decree of judicial dissolution of us pursuant to the provisions of the Delaware Act; or
the sale, exchange or other disposition of all or substantially all of the assets and properties of the partnership group.
Upon (a) our dissolution following the withdrawal or removal of our general partner and the failure of the partners to select a successor general partner, then within 90 days thereafter, or (b) our dissolution upon the bankruptcy or dissolution of our general partner, then, to the maximum extent permitted by law, within 180 days thereafter, the holders of a unit majority may elect to reconstitute us and continue our business on the same terms and conditions set forth in our partnership agreement by forming a new limited partnership on terms identical to those set forth in our partnership agreement and having as the successor general partner a person approved by the holders of a unit majority. Unless such an election is made within the applicable time period as set forth above, we shall conduct only activities necessary to wind up our affairs.
Limited Call Right
If at any time our general partner and its affiliates hold more than 90% of the total limited partner interests of any class then outstanding, our general partner will then have the right, which right it may assign and transfer in whole or in part to us or any affiliate of our general partner, exercisable at its option, to purchase all, but not less than all, of such limited partner interests of such class then outstanding held by persons other than our general partner and its affiliates. As a consequence, a unitholder may be required to sell his common units at an undesirable time or price.
Section 17-108 of the Delaware Act empowers a Delaware limited partnership to indemnify and hold harmless any partner or other person from and against all claims and demands whatsoever. Under our partnership agreement, in most circumstances, we will indemnify the following persons (each an indemnitee) to the fullest extent permitted by law, from and against any and all losses, claims, damages, liabilities, joint or several, expenses (including legal fees and expenses), judgments, fines, penalties, interest, settlements or other amounts arising from any and all claims, demands, actions, suits or proceedings, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative, in which any indemnitee may be involved, or is threatened to be involved, as a party or otherwise, by reason of its status as an indemnitee:
our general partner;
any departing general partner;
any person who is or was an affiliate of our general partner or any departing general partner;
any person who is or was a member, partner, officer, director, fiduciary or trustee of any member of the partnership group, our general partner or any departing partner or any affiliate of any member of the partnership group, our general partner or any departing partner;
any person who is or was serving at the request of our general partner or any departing partner or any affiliate of our general partner or any departing partner as an officer, director, member, partner, fiduciary or trustee of another person (provided, that a person will not be an indemnitee by reason of providing, on a fee-for-services basis, trustee, fiduciary or custodial services); or
any person that our general partner designates as an indemnitee for purposes of our partnership agreement.
Any indemnification under these provisions will only be out of our assets. Unless it otherwise agrees in its sole discretion, our general partner will not be personally liable for, or have any obligation to contribute or loan funds or assets to us to enable us to effectuate, such indemnification. We may purchase insurance against liabilities asserted against and expenses incurred by persons for our activities, regardless of whether we would have the power to indemnify the person against liabilities under the partnership agreement.
Under our partnership agreement, an indemnitee will not be indemnified and held harmless if there has been a final and non-appealable judgment entered by a court of competent jurisdiction determining that, in respect of the matter for which the indemnitee is seeking indemnification pursuant to our partnership agreement, the indemnitee acted in bad faith or engaged in fraud, willful misconduct or gross negligence or, in the case of a criminal matter, acted with knowledge that the indemnitees conduct was unlawful.
In the opinion of the SEC, indemnification provisions that purport to include indemnification for liabilities arising under the Securities Act are contrary to public policy and are, therefore, unenforceable.
Under our partnership agreement, we have agreed to register for resale under the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws any units or other partnership securities proposed to be sold by our general partner or any of its affiliates or their assignees if an exemption from the registration requirements is not otherwise available. We are obligated to pay all expenses incidental to the registration, excluding underwriting discounts and commissions.
We will distribute to our unitholders, within 50 days after the end of each quarter, all of our available cash in the manner described below.
Definition of Available Cash
Available cash generally means, for any calendar quarter, all cash on hand at the end of such quarter:
less the amount of cash that the general partner determines in good faith is necessary or appropriate to:
provide for the proper conduct of business;
satisfy general, administrative and other expenses and debt service requirements;
comply with applicable law, any of our debt instruments or other agreements;
provide funds for distributions to our unitholders and to our general partner for any one or more of the next four quarters; or
provide funds for distributions on our outstanding preferred units and Class B units;
plus all cash on hand on the date of determination of available cash for the quarter.
Distributions of Cash Upon Liquidation
If we dissolve in accordance with our partnership agreement, we will sell or otherwise dispose of our assets in a process called a liquidation. We will first apply the proceeds of liquidation to the payment of our creditors in the order of priority provided in the partnership agreement and by law, and, thereafter, we will distribute $100 to the holders of our Class A Units in the aggregate and any remaining proceeds to our other unitholders, including the holders of our common units and our general partner, in accordance with their respective positive capital account balances, as adjusted to reflect any gain or loss upon the sale or other disposition of our assets in liquidation.
No unitholder will have any obligation to restore any negative balance in its capital account upon liquidation of us.
Distributions to Preferred Unitholders
Prior to making any distributions to the unitholders as described above, the holders of our preferred units are entitled to receive, when, as, and if declared by our general partner out of legally available funds for such purpose, cumulative quarterly cash distributions. Unless otherwise determined by our general partner, distributions on the ET preferred units are deemed to have been paid out of available cash with respect to the quarter ended immediately preceding the quarter in which the distribution is made.
Distributions on each class of ET preferred units are subject to an initial fixed distribution rate for a specified term, followed by a floating or reset distribution rate, as applicable, to extend thereafter until all outstanding ET preferred units of that class are redeemed.
The 6.250% Series A Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Units have an initial distribution rate of 6.250% of the Series A liquidation preference of $1,000 per Series A preferred unit (the Series A Liquidation Preference) until February 14, 2023 and, thereafter, distributions will accumulate for each distribution period at a percentage of the Series A Liquidation Preference equal to an annual floating rate of the three-month LIBOR plus a spread of 4.028% per annum.
The 6.625% Series B Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Units have an initial distribution rate of 6.625% of the Series B liquidation preference of $1,000 per Series B preferred unit (the
Series B Liquidation Preference) until February 14, 2028 and, thereafter, distributions will accumulate for each distribution period at a percentage of the Series B Liquidation Preference equal to an annual floating rate of the three-month LIBOR plus a spread of 4.155% per annum.
The 7.375% Series C Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Units have an initial distribution rate of 7.375% of the Series C liquidation preference of $25.00 per Series C preferred unit (the Series C Liquidation Preference) until May 14, 2023 and, thereafter, distributions will accumulate for each distribution period at a percentage of the Series C Liquidation Preference equal to an annual floating rate of the three-month LIBOR plus a spread of 4.530% per annum.
The 7.625% Series D Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Units have an initial distribution rate of 7.625% of the Series D liquidation preference of $25.00 per Series D preferred unit (the Series D Liquidation Preference) until August 14, 2023 and, thereafter, distributions will accumulate for each distribution period at a percentage of the Series D Liquidation Preference equal to an annual floating rate of the three-month LIBOR plus a spread of 4.738% per annum.
The 7.600% Series E Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Units have an initial distribution rate of 7.600% of the Series E liquidation preference of $25.00 per Series E preferred unit (the Series E Liquidation Preference) until May 15, 2024 and, thereafter, distributions will accumulate for each distribution period at a percentage of the Series E Liquidation Preference equal to an annual floating rate of the three-month LIBOR plus a spread of 5.161% per annum.
The 6.750% Series F Fixed-Rate Reset Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Units have an initial distribution rate of 6.750% of the Series F liquidation preference of $1,000 per Series F preferred unit (the Series F Liquidation Preference) until May 15, 2025 and, thereafter, distributions will accumulate for each distribution period at a percentage of the Series D Liquidation Preference equal to the Five-year U.S. Treasury Rate as of the most recent Series F Reset Distribution Determination Date plus a spread of 5.134% per annum.
The 7.125% Series G Fixed-Rate Reset Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Units have an initial distribution rate of 7.125% of the Series G liquidation preference of $1,000 per Series G preferred unit (the Series G Liquidation Preference) until May 15, 2030 and, thereafter, distributions will accumulate for each distribution period at a percentage of the Series G Liquidation Preference equal to the Five-year U.S. Treasury Rate as of the most recent Series G Reset Distribution Determination Date plus a spread of 5.306% per annum.
Distributions to Other Units
Our partnership agreement provides that each Class B unit is entitled to a quarterly cash distribution in an amount equal to $0.35325 per Class B unit. If we are unable to pay the Class B unit quarterly distribution with respect to any quarter, (i) the amount of such accrued and unpaid distributions will accumulate until paid in full in cash and (ii) the balance of such accrued and unpaid distributions shall increase at a rate of 1.5% per annum, compounded quarterly, from the date such distribution was due until the date it is paid.
This section is a summary of the material U.S. federal income tax consequences that may be relevant to individual citizens or residents of the United States that are prospective holders of our common units (a Common Unitholder) and, unless otherwise noted in the following discussion, is the opinion of Latham & Watkins LLP, counsel to our general partner and us, insofar as it relates to legal conclusions with respect to matters of U.S. federal income tax law. This section is based upon current provisions of the Code, existing and proposed Treasury Regulations and current administrative rulings and court decisions, all of which are subject to change. Later changes in these authorities may cause the tax consequences to vary substantially from the consequences described below. Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this section to we, us or our are references to Energy Transfer LP and our operating subsidiaries.
The following discussion does not comment on all federal income tax matters affecting us or our unitholders and does not describe the application of the alternative minimum tax that may be applicable to certain unitholders. Moreover, the discussion focuses on unitholders who are individual citizens or residents of the United States and has only limited application to corporations, estates, entities treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes, trusts, nonresident aliens, U.S. expatriates and former citizens or long-term residents of the United States or other unitholders subject to specialized tax treatment, such as banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions, tax-exempt institutions, foreign persons (including, without limitation, controlled foreign corporations, passive foreign investment companies and foreign persons eligible for the benefits of an applicable income tax treaty with the United States), individual retirement accounts (IRAs), real estate investment trusts (REITs) or mutual funds, dealers in securities or currencies, traders in securities, U.S. persons whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar, persons holding their units as part of a straddle, hedge, conversion transaction or other risk reduction transaction, persons subject to special tax accounting rules as a result of any item of gross income with respect to our units being taken into account in an applicable financial statement and persons deemed to sell their units under the constructive sale provisions of the Code. In addition, the discussion only comments, to a limited extent, on state, local and foreign tax consequences. Accordingly, we encourage each prospective unitholder to consult his own tax advisor in analyzing the state, local and foreign tax consequences particular to him of the ownership or disposition of our units and potential changes in applicable laws.
No ruling has been requested from the IRS regarding our characterization as a partnership for tax purposes. Instead, we will rely on opinions of Latham & Watkins LLP. Unlike a ruling, an opinion of counsel represents only that counsels best legal judgment and does not bind the IRS or the courts. Accordingly, the opinions and statements made herein may not be sustained by a court if contested by the IRS. Any contest of this sort with the IRS may materially and adversely impact the market for our units, including the prices at which our units trade. In addition, the costs of any contest with the IRS, principally legal, accounting and related fees, will result in a reduction in cash available for distribution to our unitholders and our general partner and thus will be borne indirectly by our unitholders and our general partner. Furthermore, the tax treatment of us, or of an investment in us, may be significantly modified by future legislative or administrative changes or court decisions. Any modifications may or may not be retroactively applied.
All statements as to matters of U.S. federal income tax law and legal conclusions with respect thereto, but not as to factual matters, contained in this section, unless otherwise noted, are the opinion of Latham & Watkins LLP and are based on the accuracy of the representations made by us and our general partner.
Notwithstanding the above, and for the reasons described below, Latham & Watkins LLP has not rendered an opinion with respect to the following specific federal income tax issues: (i) the treatment of a unitholder whose units are loaned to a short seller to cover a short sale of units (please read Tax Consequences of Unit OwnershipTreatment of Short Sales); (ii) whether all aspects of our monthly method for allocating taxable income and losses is permitted by existing Treasury Regulations (please read Disposition of UnitsAllocations Between Transferors and Transferees); and (iii) whether our method for taking into account
Section 743 adjustments is sustainable in certain cases (please read Tax Consequences of Unit OwnershipSection 754 Election and Uniformity of Common Units).
A partnership is not a taxable entity and incurs no federal income tax liability. Instead, each partner of a partnership is required to take into account his share of items of income, gain, loss and deduction of the partnership in computing his federal income tax liability, regardless of whether cash distributions are made to him by the partnership. Distributions by a partnership to a partner are generally not taxable to the partnership or the partner unless the amount of cash distributed to him is in excess of the partners adjusted basis in his partnership interest. Section 7704 of the Code provides that publicly traded partnerships will, as a general rule, be taxed as corporations. However, an exception, referred to as the Qualifying Income Exception, exists with respect to publicly traded partnerships of which 90% or more of the gross income for every taxable year consists of qualifying income. Qualifying income includes income and gains derived from the transportation and processing of certain minerals and natural resources, including crude oil, natural gas and other products of a type that are produced in a petroleum refinery or natural gas processing plant, the retail and wholesale marketing of propane, the transportation of propane and natural gas liquids, certain related hedging activities, certain activities that are intrinsic to other qualifying activities, and our allocable share of our subsidiaries income from these sources. Other types of qualifying income include interest (other than from a financial business), dividends, real property rents, gains from the sale of real property and gains from the sale or other disposition of capital assets held for the production of income that otherwise constitutes qualifying income. We estimate that less than 3% of our current gross income is not qualifying income; however, this estimate could change from time to time. Based upon and subject to this estimate, the factual representations made by us and our general partner and a review of the applicable legal authorities, Latham & Watkins LLP is of the opinion that at least 90% of our current gross income constitutes qualifying income. The portion of our income that is qualifying income may change from time to time.
The IRS has made no determination as to our status or the status of our operating subsidiaries for federal income tax purposes. Instead, we will rely on the opinion of Latham & Watkins LLP on such matters. It is the opinion of Latham & Watkins LLP that, based upon the Code, the Treasury Regulations, published revenue rulings and court decisions and the representations described below that:
we will be classified as a partnership for federal income tax purposes; and
each of our operating subsidiaries, except as otherwise identified to Latham & Watkins LLP, will be disregarded as an entity separate from us or will be treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.
In rendering its opinion, Latham & Watkins LLP has relied on factual representations made by us and our general partner. The representations made by us and our general partner upon which Latham & Watkins LLP has relied include:
neither we nor any of our partnership or limited liability company subsidiaries, other than those identified as such to Latham & Watkins LLP, have elected or will elect to be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes;
for each taxable year, more than 90% of our gross income has been and will be income of the type that Latham & Watkins LLP has opined or will opine is qualifying income within the meaning of Section 7704(d) of the Code; and
each commodity hedging transaction that we treat as resulting in qualifying income has been and will be appropriately identified as a hedging transaction pursuant to applicable Treasury Regulations, and has been and will be associated with oil, gas or products thereof that are held or to be held by us in activities that Latham & Watkins LLP has opined or will opine result in qualifying income.
We believe that these representations have been true in the past, are true as of the date hereof and expect that these representations will continue to be true in the future.
If we fail to meet the Qualifying Income Exception, other than a failure that is determined by the IRS to be inadvertent and that is cured within a reasonable time after discovery (in which case the IRS may also require us to make adjustments with respect to our unitholders or pay other amounts), we will be treated as if we had transferred all of our assets, subject to liabilities, to a newly formed corporation, on the first day of the year in which we fail to meet the Qualifying Income Exception, in return for stock in that corporation, and then distributed that stock to the unitholders in liquidation of their interests in us. This deemed contribution and liquidation should be tax-free to unitholders and us so long as we, at that time, do not have liabilities in excess of the tax basis of our assets. Thereafter, we would be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes.
If we were treated as an association taxable as a corporation in any taxable year, either as a result of a failure to meet the Qualifying Income Exception or otherwise, our items of income, gain, loss and deduction would be reflected only on our tax return rather than being passed through to our unitholders, and our net income would be taxed to us at corporate rates. In addition, any distribution made to a unitholder would be treated as taxable dividend income, to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits, or, in the absence of earnings and profits, a nontaxable return of capital, to the extent of the unitholders tax basis in his units, or taxable capital gain, after the unitholders tax basis in his units is reduced to zero. Accordingly, taxation as a corporation would result in a material reduction in a unitholders cash flow and after-tax return and thus would likely result in a substantial reduction of the value of the units.
The discussion below is based on Latham & Watkins LLPs opinion that we will be classified as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.
Limited Partner Status
Common Unitholders of Energy Transfer LP will be treated as partners of Energy Transfer LP for federal income tax purposes. Also, Common Unitholders whose common units are held in street name or by a nominee and who have the right to direct the nominee in the exercise of all substantive rights attendant to the ownership of their common units will be treated as partners of Energy Transfer LP for federal income tax purposes.
A beneficial owner of our common units whose units have been transferred to a short seller to complete a short sale would appear to lose his status as a partner with respect to those units for federal income tax purposes. Please read Tax Consequences of Unit OwnershipTreatment of Short Sales.
Income, gains, losses or deductions would not appear to be reportable by a unitholder who is not a partner for federal income tax purposes, and any cash distributions received by a unitholder who is not a partner for federal income tax purposes would therefore appear to be fully taxable as ordinary income. These holders are urged to consult their tax advisors with respect to the tax consequences to them of holding our units. The references to unitholders in the discussion that follows are to persons who are treated as partners in Energy Transfer LP for federal income tax purposes.
Tax Consequences of Unit Ownership
Flow-Through of Taxable Income
Subject to the discussion below under Entity-Level Collections, we will not pay any federal income tax. Instead, each Common Unitholder will be required to report on his income tax return his share of our income, gains, losses and deductions without regard to whether we make cash distributions to him. Consequently, we may allocate income to a Common Unitholder even if he has not received a cash distribution. Each Common Unitholder will be required to include in income his allocable share of our income, gains, losses and deductions for our taxable year ending with or within his taxable year. Our taxable year ends on December 31.
Treatment of Distributions
Distributions by us to a Common Unitholder generally will not be taxable to the Common Unitholder for federal income tax purposes, except to the extent the amount of any such cash distribution exceeds his tax basis in his common units immediately before the distribution. Our cash distributions in excess of a Common Unitholders tax basis generally will be considered to be gain from the sale or exchange of the common units, taxable in accordance with the rules described under Disposition of Units. Any reduction in a Common Unitholders share of our liabilities for which no partner, including the general partner, bears the economic risk of loss, known as nonrecourse liabilities, will be treated as a distribution by us of cash to that Common Unitholder. To the extent our distributions cause a Common Unitholders at-risk amount to be less than zero at the end of any taxable year, he must recapture any losses deducted in previous years. Please read Limitations on Deductibility of Losses.
A decrease in a Common Unitholders percentage interest in us because of our issuance of additional common units will decrease his share of our nonrecourse liabilities, and thus will result in a corresponding deemed distribution of cash. This deemed distribution may constitute a non-pro rata distribution. A non-pro rata distribution of money or property may result in ordinary income to a Common Unitholder, regardless of his tax basis in his common units, if the distribution reduces the Common Unitholders share of our unrealized receivables, including depreciation, recapture and/or substantially appreciated inventory items, each as defined in the Code, and collectively, Section 751 Assets. To that extent, a Common Unitholder will be treated as having been distributed his proportionate share of the Section 751 Assets and then having exchanged those assets with us in return for the non-pro rata portion of the actual distribution made to him. This latter deemed exchange will generally result in a Common Unitholders realization of ordinary income, which will equal the excess of (i) the non-pro rata portion of that distribution over (ii) the Common Unitholders tax basis (often zero) for the share of Section 751 Assets deemed relinquished in the exchange.
Basis of Units
A Common Unitholders initial tax basis in his common units will be the amount he paid for the common units plus his share of our nonrecourse liabilities. The tax basis of his common units will be increased by his share of our income, by any increases in his share of our nonrecourse liabilities and, on the disposition of a common unit, by his share of certain items related to business interest not yet deductible by him due to applicable limitations. Please read Limitations on Interest Deductions. That basis will be decreased, but not below zero, by distributions from us, by the Common Unitholders share of our losses, by any decreases in his share of our nonrecourse liabilities, by his share of our excess business interest (generally, the excess of our business interest over the amount that is deductible) and by his share of our expenditures that are not deductible in computing taxable income and are not required to be capitalized. A Common Unitholder will have no share of our debt that is recourse to our general partner to the extent of the general partners net value as defined in the Treasury Regulations promulgated under Section 752 of the Code, but will have a share, generally based on his share of profits, of our nonrecourse liabilities. Please read Disposition of UnitsRecognition of Gain or Loss on Sale.
Limitations on Deductibility of Losses
The deduction by a unitholder of his share of our losses will be limited to the tax basis in his units and, in the case of an individual unitholder, estate, trust, or corporate unitholder (if more than 50% of the value of the corporate unitholders stock is owned directly or indirectly by or for five or fewer individuals or some tax-exempt organizations), to the amount for which the unitholder is considered to be at risk with respect to our activities, if that is less than his tax basis. A unitholder subject to these limitations must recapture losses deducted in previous years to the extent that distributions cause his at-risk amount to be less than zero at the end of any taxable year. Losses disallowed to a unitholder or recaptured as a result of these limitations will carry forward and will be allowable as a deduction to the extent that his at-risk amount is subsequently increased, provided
such losses do not exceed such unitholders tax basis in his units. Upon the taxable disposition of a unit, any gain recognized by a unitholder can be offset by losses that were previously suspended by the at-risk limitation but may not be offset by losses suspended by the basis limitation. Any loss previously suspended by the at-risk limitation in excess of that gain would no longer be utilizable.
In general, a unitholder will be at risk to the extent of the tax basis of his units, excluding any portion of that basis attributable to his share of our nonrecourse liabilities, reduced by (i) any portion of that basis representing amounts otherwise protected against loss because of a guarantee, stop loss agreement or other similar arrangement and (ii) any amount of money he borrows to acquire or hold his units, if the lender of those borrowed funds owns an interest in us, is related to the unitholder or can look only to the units for repayment. A unitholders at-risk amount will increase or decrease as the tax basis of the unitholders units increases or decreases, other than tax basis increases or decreases attributable to increases or decreases in his share of our nonrecourse liabilities.
In addition to the basis and at-risk limitations on the deductibility of losses, the passive loss limitations generally provide that individuals, estates, trusts and some closely-held corporations and personal service corporations can deduct losses from passive activities, which are generally trade or business activities in which the taxpayer does not materially participate, only to the extent of the taxpayers income from those passive activities. The passive loss limitations are applied separately with respect to each publicly traded partnership. Consequently, any passive losses we generate will only be available to offset our passive income generated in the future and will not be available to offset income from other passive activities or investments, including our investments or a unitholders investments in other publicly traded partnerships, or the unitholders salary, active business or other income. Passive losses that are not deductible because they exceed a unitholders share of income we generate may be deducted in full when he disposes of his entire investment in us in a fully taxable transaction with an unrelated party. The passive loss limitations are applied after other applicable limitations on deductions, including the at-risk rules and the basis limitation. A unitholders share of our net income may be offset by any of our suspended passive losses, but it may not be offset by any other current or carryover losses from other passive activities, including those attributable to other publicly traded partnerships.
An additional loss limitation may apply to certain of our unitholders for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026. A non-corporate unitholder will not be allowed to take a deduction for certain excess business losses in such taxable years. An excess business loss is the excess (if any) of a taxpayers aggregate deductions for the taxable year that are attributable to the trades or businesses of such taxpayer (determined without regard to the excess business loss limitation) over the aggregate gross income or gain of such taxpayer for the taxable year that is attributable to such trades or businesses plus a threshold amount. The threshold amount is equal to $262,000, or $524,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return. Any losses disallowed in a taxable year due to the excess business loss limitation may be used by the applicable unitholder in the following taxable year if certain conditions are met. Unitholders to which this excess business loss limitation applies will take their allocable share of our items of income, gain, loss and deduction into account in determining this limitation. This excess business loss limitation will be applied to a non-corporate unitholder after the passive loss limitations and may limit such unitholders ability to utilize any losses we generate that are allocable to such unitholder and that are not otherwise limited by the basis, at-risk and passive loss limitations described above.
Limitations on Interest Deductions
Our ability to deduct interest paid or accrued on indebtedness properly allocable to a trade or business, business interest, may be limited in certain circumstances. Should our ability to deduct business interest be limited, the amount of taxable income allocated to our unitholders in the taxable year in which the limitation is in effect may increase. However, in certain circumstances, a unitholder may be able to utilize a portion of a business interest deduction subject to this limitation in future taxable years. Prospective unitholders should consult their tax advisors regarding the impact of this business interest deduction limitation on an investment in our units.
In addition, the deductibility of a non-corporate taxpayers investment interest expense is generally limited to the amount of that taxpayers net investment income. Investment interest expense includes:
interest on indebtedness properly allocable to property held for investment;
our interest expense attributed to portfolio income; and
the portion of interest expense incurred to purchase or carry an interest in a passive activity to the extent attributable to portfolio income.
The computation of a unitholders investment interest expense will take into account interest on any margin account borrowing or other loan incurred to purchase or carry a unit. Net investment income includes gross income from property held for investment and amounts treated as portfolio income under the passive loss rules, less deductible expenses, other than interest, directly connected with the production of investment income, but generally does not include gains attributable to the disposition of property held for investment or (if applicable) qualified dividend income. The IRS has indicated that the net passive income earned by a publicly traded partnership will be treated as investment income to its unitholders. In addition, the unitholders share of our portfolio income will be treated as investment income.
If we were required or elect under applicable law to pay any federal, state, local or foreign income tax on behalf of any unitholder or our general partner or any former unitholder, we are authorized to pay those taxes from our funds. That payment, if made, will be treated as a distribution of cash to the unitholder on whose behalf the payment was made. If the payment is made on behalf of a person whose identity cannot be determined, we are authorized to treat the payment as a distribution to all current unitholders. We are authorized to amend our partnership agreement in the manner necessary to maintain uniformity of intrinsic tax characteristics of units and to adjust later distributions, so that after giving effect to these distributions, the priority and characterization of distributions otherwise applicable under our partnership agreement is maintained as nearly as is practicable. Payments by us as described above could give rise to an overpayment of tax on behalf of an individual unitholder in which event the unitholder would be required to file a claim in order to obtain a credit or refund.
Allocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction
After giving effect to special allocation provisions with respect to our other classes of Units, if we have a net profit, our items of income, gain, loss and deduction will be allocated among our general partner and the Common Unitholders in accordance with their percentage interests in us. If we have a net loss, that loss will be allocated to all Common Unitholders in accordance with their percentage interests in us to the extent of their positive capital accounts, as adjusted for certain items in accordance with applicable Treasury Regulations, and to our general partner in accordance with its percentage interest in us.
Specified items of our income, gain, loss and deduction will be allocated to account for any difference between the tax basis and fair market value of any property contributed to us that exists at the time of such contribution, referred to in this discussion as the Contributed Property. The effect of these allocations, referred to as Section 704(c) Allocations, to a unitholder purchasing common units from us in an offering will be essentially the same as if the tax bases of our assets were equal to their fair market values at the time of such offering. In the event we issue common units or engage in certain other transactions in the future, we will make Reverse Section 704(c) Allocations, similar to the Section 704(c) Allocations described above, to all of our unitholders immediately prior to such issuance or other transactions to account for the difference between the book basis for purposes of maintaining capital accounts and the fair market value of all property held by us at the time of such issuance or future transaction. In addition, items of recapture income will be allocated to the extent possible to the unitholder who was allocated the deduction giving rise to the treatment of that gain as recapture income in order to minimize the recognition of ordinary income by some unitholders. Finally, although
we do not expect that our operations will result in the creation of negative capital accounts (subject to certain adjustments), if negative capital accounts (subject to certain adjustments) nevertheless result, items of our income and gain will be allocated in an amount and manner sufficient to eliminate such negative balance as quickly as possible.
An allocation of items of our income, gain, loss or deduction, other than an allocation required by the Code to eliminate the difference between a partners book capital account, credited with the fair market value of Contributed Property, and tax capital account, credited with the tax basis of Contributed Property, referred to in this discussion as the Book-Tax Disparity, will generally be given effect for federal income tax purposes in determining a partners share of an item of income, gain, loss or deduction only if the allocation has substantial economic effect. In any other case, a partners share of an item will be determined on the basis of his interest in us, which will be determined by taking into account all the facts and circumstances, including:
his relative contributions to us;
the interests of all the partners in profits and losses;
the interest of all the partners in cash flow; and
the rights of all the partners to distributions of capital upon liquidation.
Latham & Watkins LLP is of the opinion that, with the exception of the issues described in Section 754 Election and Disposition of UnitsAllocations Between Transferors and Transferees, allocations under our partnership agreement will be given effect for federal income tax purposes in determining a partners share of an item of income, gain, loss or deduction.
Treatment of Short Sales
A unitholder whose units are loaned to a short seller to cover a short sale of units may be considered as having disposed of those units. If so, he would no longer be treated for tax purposes as a partner with respect to those units during the period of the loan and may recognize gain or loss from the disposition. As a result, during this period:
any of our income, gain, loss or deduction with respect to those units would not be reportable by the unitholder;
any cash distributions received by the unitholder as to those units would be fully taxable; and
while not entirely free from doubt, all of these distributions would appear to be ordinary income.
Because there is no direct or indirect controlling authority on the issue relating to partnership interests, Latham & Watkins LLP has not rendered an opinion regarding the tax treatment of a unitholder whose units are loaned to a short seller to cover a short sale of units; therefore, unitholders desiring to assure their status as partners and avoid the risk of gain recognition from a loan to a short seller are urged to consult a tax advisor to discuss whether it is advisable to modify any applicable brokerage account agreements to prohibit their brokers from borrowing and loaning their units. The IRS has previously announced that it is studying issues relating to the tax treatment of short sales of partnership interests. Please also read Disposition of UnitsRecognition of Gain or Loss on Sale.
Currently, the highest marginal U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to ordinary income of individuals is 37% and the highest marginal U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to long-term capital gains (generally, capital gains on certain assets held for more than twelve months) of individuals is 20%. Such rates are subject to change by new legislation at any time.
In addition, a 3.8% Medicare tax (NIIT) is imposed on certain net investment income earned by individuals, estates and trusts. For these purposes, net investment income generally includes a unitholders allocable share of our income and gain realized by a unitholder from a sale of units. In the case of an individual, the tax will be imposed on the lesser of (i) the unitholders net investment income or (ii) the amount by which the unitholders modified adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 (if the unitholder is married and filing jointly or a surviving spouse), $125,000 (if the unitholder is married and filing separately) or $200,000 (in any other case). In the case of an estate or trust, the tax will be imposed on the lesser of (i) undistributed net investment income, or (ii) the excess adjusted gross income over the dollar amount at which the highest income tax bracket applicable to an estate or trust begins for such taxable year. The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS have issued Treasury Regulations that provide guidance regarding the NIIT. Prospective unitholders are urged to consult with their tax advisors as to the impact of the NIIT on an investment in our units.
For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and ending on or before December 31, 2025, a non-corporate unitholder is entitled to a deduction equal to 20% of its qualified business income attributable to us, subject to certain limitations. For purposes of this deduction, a unitholders qualified business income attributable to us is equal to the sum of:
the net amount of such unitholders allocable share of certain of our items of income, gain, deduction and loss (generally excluding certain items related to our investment activities, including capital gains and dividends, which are subject to a federal income tax rate of 20%); and
any gain recognized by such unitholder on the disposition of its units to the extent such gain is attributable to certain Section 751 assets, including depreciation recapture and inventory items we own.
Prospective unitholders should consult their tax advisors regarding the application and availability of the deduction for qualified business income.
Section 754 Election
We have made the election permitted by Section 754 of the Code. That election is irrevocable without the consent of the IRS. The election generally permits us to adjust a common unit purchasers tax basis in our assets (inside basis) under Section 743(b) of the Code to reflect his purchase price. This election does not apply with respect to a person who purchases common units directly from us. The Section 743(b) adjustment belongs to the purchaser and not to other unitholders. For purposes of this discussion, the inside basis in our assets with respect to a unitholder will be considered to have two components: (i) his share of our tax basis in our assets (common basis) and (ii) his Section 743(b) adjustment to that basis.
We have adopted the remedial allocation method as to all our properties. Where the remedial allocation method is adopted, the Treasury Regulations under Section 743 of the Code require a portion of the Section 743(b) adjustment that is attributable to recovery property that is subject to depreciation under Section 168 of the Code and whose book basis is in excess of its tax basis to be depreciated over the remaining cost recovery period for the propertys unamortized Book-Tax Disparity. Under Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6), a Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to property subject to depreciation under Section 167 of the Code, rather than cost recovery deductions under Section 168, is generally required to be depreciated using either the straight-line method or the 150% declining balance method. Under our partnership agreement, our general partner is authorized to take a position to preserve the uniformity of units even if that position is not consistent with these and any other Treasury Regulations. Please read Uniformity of Units.
We depreciate the portion of a Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to unrealized appreciation in the value of Contributed Property, to the extent of any unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, using a rate of depreciation or amortization derived from the depreciation or amortization method and useful life applied to the propertys unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, or treat that portion as non-amortizable to the extent attributable to property
that is not amortizable. This method is consistent with the methods employed by other publicly traded partnerships but is arguably inconsistent with Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6), which is not expected to directly apply to a material portion of our assets. To the extent this Section 743(b) adjustment is attributable to appreciation in value in excess of the unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, we will apply the rules described in the Treasury Regulations and legislative history. If we determine that this position cannot reasonably be taken, we may take a depreciation or amortization position under which all purchasers acquiring units in the same month would receive depreciation or amortization, whether attributable to common basis or a Section 743(b) adjustment, based upon the same applicable rate as if they had purchased a direct interest in our assets. This kind of aggregate approach may result in lower annual depreciation or amortization deductions than would otherwise be allowable to some unitholders. Please read Uniformity of Common Units. A unitholders tax basis for his common units is reduced by his share of our deductions (whether or not such deductions were claimed on an individuals income tax return) so that any position we take that understates deductions will overstate such unitholders basis in his common units, which may cause the unitholder to understate gain or overstate loss on any sale of such units. Please read Disposition of UnitsRecognition of Gain or Loss on Sale. Latham & Watkins LLP is unable to opine as to whether our method for taking into account Section 743 adjustments is sustainable for property subject to depreciation under Section 167 of the Code or if we use an aggregate approach as described above, as there is no direct or indirect controlling authority addressing the validity of these positions. Moreover, the IRS may challenge our position with respect to depreciating or amortizing the Section 743(b) adjustment we take to preserve the uniformity of the units. If such a challenge were sustained, the gain from the sale of units might be increased without the benefit of additional deductions.
Subject to certain limitations, a Section 743(b) adjustment may create additional depreciable basis that is eligible for bonus depreciation under Section 168(k) to the extent the adjustment is attributable to depreciable property and not to goodwill or real property. However, because we may not be able to determine whether transfers of common units satisfy all of the eligibility requirements and due to other limitations regarding administrability, we may elect out of the bonus depreciation provisions of Section 168(k) with respect to basis adjustments under Section 743(b).
A Section 754 election is advantageous if the transferees tax basis in his units is higher than the units share of the aggregate tax basis of our assets immediately prior to the transfer. Conversely, a Section 754 election is disadvantageous if the transferees tax basis in his units is lower than those units share of the aggregate tax basis of our assets immediately prior to the transfer. Thus, the fair market value of the units may be affected either favorably or unfavorably by the election. A basis adjustment is required regardless of whether a Section 754 election is made in the case of a transfer of an interest in us if we have a substantial built-in loss immediately after the transfer. Generally, a built-in loss is substantial if (i) it exceeds $250,000 or (ii) the transferee would be allocated a net loss in excess of $250,000 on a hypothetical sale of our assets for their fair market value immediately after a transfer of the interest at issue. In addition, a basis adjustment is required regardless of whether a Section 754 election is made if we distribute property and have a substantial basis reduction. A substantial basis reduction exists if, on a liquidating distribution of property to a unitholder, there would be a negative basis adjustment to our assets in excess of $250,000 if a Section 754 election were in place.
The calculations involved in the Section 754 election are complex and will be made on the basis of assumptions as to the value of our assets and other matters. For example, the allocation of the Section 743(b) adjustment among our assets must be made in accordance with the Code. The IRS could seek to reallocate some or all of any Section 743(b) adjustment allocated by us to our tangible assets to goodwill instead. Goodwill, as an intangible asset, is generally nonamortizable or amortizable over a longer period of time or under a less accelerated method than our tangible assets. We cannot assure you that the determinations we make will not be successfully challenged by the IRS and that the deductions resulting from them will not be reduced or disallowed altogether. Should the IRS require a different 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 he 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 Common Unitholder will be required to include in income his share of our income, gain, loss and deduction for our taxable year ending within or with his 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 his units following the close of our taxable year but before the close of his taxable year must include his share of our income, gain, loss and deduction in income for his taxable year, with the result that he will be required to include in income for his taxable year his share of more than twelve months of our income, gain, loss and deduction. Please read Disposition of UnitsAllocations Between Transferors and Transferees.
Tax Basis, Depreciation and Amortization
The tax basis 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. The federal income tax burden associated with the difference between the fair market value of our assets and their tax basis immediately prior to an offering by us will be borne by our unitholders holding interests in us prior to any such offering. Please read Tax Consequences of Unit OwnershipAllocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction.
To the extent allowable, we may use the depreciation and cost recovery methods, including bonus depreciation to the extent available, that will result in the largest deductions being taken in the early years after assets subject to these allowances are placed in service. Please read Uniformity of Common Units. Property we subsequently acquire or construct may be depreciated using accelerated methods permitted by the Code.
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 previously deducted and the nature of the property, 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 his interest in us. Please read Tax Consequences of Unit OwnershipAllocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction and Disposition of UnitsRecognition of Gain or Loss on Sale.
The costs we incur in selling our units (called syndication expenses) must be capitalized and cannot be deducted currently, ratably or upon our termination. There are uncertainties regarding the classification of 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.
Valuation and Tax Basis of Our Properties
The U.S. federal income tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of units will depend in part on our estimates of the relative fair market values, and the initial tax bases, of our assets. Although we may from time to time consult with professional appraisers regarding valuation matters, we will make many of the relative fair market value estimates. These estimates and determinations of basis are subject to challenge and will not be binding on the IRS or the courts. If the estimates of fair market value or determinations of basis are later found to be incorrect, the character and amount of items of income, gain, loss or deductions previously reported by unitholders might change, and unitholders might be required to adjust their tax liability for prior years and incur interest and penalties with respect to those adjustments.
Disposition of Units
Recognition of Gain or Loss on Sale
Gain or loss will be recognized on a sale of units equal to the difference between the amount realized and the unitholders tax basis for the units sold. A unitholders amount realized will be measured by the sum of the
cash or the fair market value of other property received by him plus his share of our nonrecourse liabilities. If the amount realized includes a unitholders share of our nonrecourse liabilities, the gain recognized on the sale of units could result in a tax liability in excess of any cash received from the sale.
Prior distributions on our common units that in the aggregate were in excess of cumulative net taxable income for a common unit and, therefore, decreased a unitholders tax basis in that common unit will, in effect, become taxable income if the common unit is sold at a price greater than the unitholders tax basis in that common unit, even if the price received is less than his original cost.
Except as noted in the following paragraph, gain or loss recognized by a unitholder, other than a dealer in units, on the sale or exchange of a unit will generally be taxable as capital gain or loss. Capital gain recognized by an individual on the sale of units held for more than twelve months will generally be taxed at the U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to long-term capital gains. Both ordinary income and capital gain recognized on a sale of units may be subject to the NIIT in certain circumstances. Please read Tax Consequences of Unit OwnershipTax Rates.
A portion of the gain or loss with respect to our common units, which will likely be substantial, will be separately computed and taxed as ordinary income or loss under Section 751 of the Code to the extent attributable to assets giving rise to unrealized receivables, including potential recapture items such as depreciation recapture, or to inventory items we own. Ordinary income attributable to unrealized receivables and inventory items may exceed net taxable gain realized upon the sale of a unit and may be recognized even if there is a net taxable loss realized on the sale of a unit. Thus, a Common Unitholder may recognize both ordinary income and a capital loss upon a sale of units. Capital losses may offset capital gains and no more than $3,000 of ordinary income, in the case of individuals, and may only be used to offset capital gains in the case of corporations. Ordinary income recognized by a Common Unitholder on disposition of our common units may be reduced by such unitholders deduction for qualified business income.
The IRS has ruled that a partner who acquires interests in a partnership in separate transactions must combine those interests and maintain a single adjusted tax basis for all those interests. Upon a sale or other disposition of less than all of those interests, a portion of that tax basis must be allocated to the interests sold using an equitable apportionment method, which generally means that the tax basis allocated to the interest sold equals an amount that bears the same relation to the partners tax basis in his entire interest in the partnership as the value of the interest sold bears to the value of the partners entire interest in the partnership. Treasury Regulations under Section 1223 of the Code allow a selling unitholder who can identify units transferred with an ascertainable holding period to elect to use the actual holding period of the units transferred. Thus, according to the ruling discussed above, a unitholder will be unable to select high or low basis units to sell as would be the case with corporate stock, but, according to the Treasury Regulations, he may designate specific units sold for purposes of determining the holding period of units transferred. A unitholder electing to use the actual holding period of units transferred must consistently use that identification method for all subsequent sales or exchanges of units. A unitholder considering the purchase of additional units or a sale of units purchased in separate transactions is urged to consult his tax advisor as to the possible consequences of this ruling and application of the Treasury Regulations.
Specific provisions of the Code affect the taxation of some financial products and securities, including partnership interests, by treating a taxpayer as having sold an appreciated partnership interest, one in which gain would be recognized if it were sold, assigned or terminated at its fair market value, if the taxpayer or related persons enter(s) into:
a short sale;
an offsetting notional principal contract; or
a futures or forward contract;
in each case, with respect to the partnership interest or substantially identical property.
Moreover, if a taxpayer has previously entered into a short sale, an offsetting notional principal contract or a futures or forward contract with respect to the partnership interest, the taxpayer will be treated as having sold that position if the taxpayer or a related person then acquires the partnership interest or substantially identical property. The Secretary of the Treasury is also authorized to issue regulations that treat a taxpayer that enters into transactions or positions that have substantially the same effect as the preceding transactions as having constructively sold the financial position.
Allocations Between Transferors and Transferees
In general, our taxable income and losses will be determined annually, will be prorated on a monthly basis in proportion to the number of days in each month and will be subsequently apportioned among Common Unitholders in proportion to the number of common units owned by each of them as of the opening of the applicable exchange on the first business day of the month, which we refer to as the Allocation Date. However, gain or loss realized on a sale or other disposition of our assets other than in the ordinary course of business will be allocated among Common Unitholders on the Allocation Date in the month in which that gain or loss is recognized. As a result, a Common Unitholder transferring units may be allocated income, gain, loss and deduction realized after the date of transfer.
The U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS have issued Treasury Regulations that permit publicly traded partnerships to use a monthly simplifying convention that is similar to ours, but they do not specifically authorize all aspects of the proration method we have adopted. Accordingly, Latham & Watkins LLP is unable to opine on the validity of this method of allocating income and deductions between transferor and transferee unitholders. If this method is not allowed under the Treasury Regulations, our taxable income or losses might be reallocated among the unitholders. We are authorized to revise our method of allocation between transferor and transferee unitholders, as well as unitholders whose interests vary during a taxable year.
A Common Unitholder who owns units at any time during a quarter and who disposes of them prior to the record date set for a cash distribution for that quarter will be allocated items of our income, gain, loss and deductions attributable to that quarter through the month of disposition but will not be entitled to receive that cash distribution.
A unitholder who sells any of his units is generally required to notify us in writing of that sale within 30 days after the sale (or, if earlier, January 15 of the year following the sale). A purchaser of units who purchases units from another unitholder is also generally required to notify us in writing of that purchase within 30 days after the purchase. Upon receiving such notifications, we are required to notify the IRS of that transaction and to furnish specified information to the transferor and transferee. Failure to notify us of a purchase may, in some cases, lead to the imposition of penalties. However, these reporting requirements do not apply to a sale by an individual who is a citizen of the United States and who effects the sale or exchange through a broker who will satisfy such requirements.
Uniformity of Common Units
Because we cannot match transferors and transferees of common units, we must maintain uniformity of the economic and tax characteristics of the common units to a purchaser of these common units. In the absence of uniformity, we may be unable to completely comply with a number of federal income tax requirements, both statutory and regulatory. A lack of uniformity can result from a literal application of Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6). Any non-uniformity could have a negative impact on the value of the common units. Please read Tax Consequences of Unit OwnershipSection 754 Election. We depreciate the portion of a Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to unrealized appreciation in the value of Contributed Property, to the extent of any unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, using a rate of depreciation or amortization derived from the
depreciation or amortization method and useful life applied to the propertys unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, or treat that portion as nonamortizable, to the extent attributable to property the common basis of which is not amortizable, consistent with the regulations under Section 743 of the Code, even though that position may be inconsistent with Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6), which is not expected to directly apply to a material portion of our assets. Please read Tax Consequences of Unit OwnershipSection 754 Election. To the extent that the Section 743(b) adjustment is attributable to appreciation in value in excess of the unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, we will apply the rules described in the Treasury Regulations and legislative history. If we determine that this position cannot reasonably be taken, we may adopt a depreciation and amortization position under which all purchasers acquiring units in the same month would receive depreciation and amortization deductions, whether attributable to common basis or a Section 743(b) adjustment, based upon the same applicable rate as if they had purchased a direct interest in our assets. If this position is adopted, it may result in lower annual depreciation and amortization deductions than would otherwise be allowable to some unitholders and risk the loss of depreciation and amortization deductions not taken in the year that these deductions are otherwise allowable. This position will not be adopted if we determine that the loss of depreciation and amortization deductions will have a material adverse effect on the unitholders. If we choose not to utilize this aggregate method, we may use any other reasonable depreciation and amortization method to preserve the uniformity of the intrinsic tax characteristics of any units that would not have a material adverse effect on the unitholders. In either case, and as stated above under Tax Consequences of Unit OwnershipSection 754 Election, Latham & Watkins LLP has not rendered an opinion with respect to these methods. Moreover, the IRS may challenge any method of depreciating the Section 743(b) adjustment described in this paragraph. If this challenge were sustained, the uniformity of units might be affected, and the gain from the sale of units might be increased without the benefit of additional deductions. Please read Disposition of UnitsRecognition of Gain or Loss on Sale.
Tax-Exempt Organizations and Other Investors
Ownership of units by employee benefit plans, other tax-exempt organizations, non-resident aliens, foreign corporations and other foreign persons raises issues unique to those investors and, as described below to a limited extent, may have substantially adverse tax consequences to them. If you are a tax-exempt entity or a foreign person, you should consult your tax advisor before investing in our units.
Employee benefit plans and most other organizations exempt from federal income tax, including IRAs and other retirement plans, are subject to federal income tax on unrelated business taxable income.
Virtually all of our income allocated to a Common Unitholder that is a tax-exempt organization will be unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) and will be taxable to it. Further, a tax-exempt organization with more than one unrelated trade or business (including by attribution from investments in a partnership, such as us, that is engaged in one or more unrelated trades or businesses) must compute its UBTI separately for each such trade or business, including for purposes of determining any net operating loss deductions. As a result, it may not be possible for tax-exempt organizations to use losses from an investment in us to offset taxable income from another unrelated trade or business.
Non-resident aliens and foreign corporations, trusts or estates that own units will be considered to be engaged in business in the United States because of the ownership of units. As a consequence, they will be required to file federal tax returns to report their share of our income, gain, loss or deduction and pay U.S. federal income tax at regular rates on their share of our net income or gain. Moreover, under rules applicable to publicly traded partnerships, our distributions to foreign unitholders will be subject to withholding at the highest applicable effective tax rate. Each foreign unitholder must obtain a taxpayer identification number from the IRS and submit that number to our transfer agent on a Form W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E or applicable substitute form in order to obtain credit for these withholding taxes. A change in applicable law may require us to change these procedures.
In addition, because a foreign corporation that owns units will be treated as engaged in a U.S. trade or business, that corporation may be subject to the U.S. branch profits tax at a rate of 30%, in addition to regular U.S. federal
income tax, on its share of our earnings and profits, as adjusted for changes in the foreign corporations U.S. net equity, that is effectively connected with the conduct of a U.S. trade or business. That tax may be reduced or eliminated by an income tax treaty between the United States and the country in which the foreign corporate unitholder is a qualified resident. In addition, this type of unitholder is subject to special information reporting requirements under Section 6038C of the Code.
A foreign unitholder who sells or otherwise disposes of a unit will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on gain realized from the sale or disposition of that unit to the extent the gain is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the foreign unitholder. Gain on the sale or disposition of a common unit will be treated as effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business to the extent that a foreign unitholder would recognize gain effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business upon the hypothetical sale of our assets at fair market value on the date of the sale or exchange of that unit. Such gain shall be reduced by certain amounts treated as effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business attributable to certain real property interests, as set forth in the following paragraph.
Under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, a foreign unitholder (other than certain qualified foreign pension funds (or an entity all of the interests of which are held by such a qualified foreign pension fund), which generally are entities or arrangements that are established and regulated by foreign law to provide retirement or other pension benefits to employees, do not have a single participant or beneficiary that is entitled to more than 5% of the assets or income of the entity or arrangement and are subject to certain preferential tax treatment under the laws of the applicable foreign country) generally will be subject to U.S. federal income tax upon the sale or disposition of a unit if (i) he owned (directly or constructively applying certain attribution rules) more than 5% of the applicable class of our units at any time during the five-year period ending on the date of such disposition and (ii) 50% or more of the fair market value of all of our assets consisted of U.S. real property interests at any time during the shorter of the period during which such unitholder held the units or the five-year period ending on the date of disposition. Currently, more than 50% of our assets consist of U.S. real property interests and we do not expect that to change in the foreseeable future.
Therefore, foreign unitholders may be subject to U.S. federal income tax on gain from the sale or disposition of their units.
Upon the sale, exchange or other disposition of a common unit by a foreign unitholder, the transferee is generally required to withhold 10% of the amount realized on such sale, exchange or other disposition if any portion of the gain on such sale, exchange or other disposition would be treated as effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business. The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS have issued final regulations providing guidance on the application of these rules for transfers of certain publicly traded partnership interests, including transfers of our units. Under these regulations, the amount realized on a transfer of our units will generally be the amount of gross proceeds paid to the broker effecting the applicable transfer on behalf of the transferor, and such broker will generally be responsible for the relevant withholding obligations. Distributions made to our unitholders may also be subject to withholding under these rules to the extent a portion of a distribution is attributable to an amount in excess of our cumulative net income that has not previously been distributed. The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS have provided that these rules will generally not apply to transfers of, or distributions on, common units occurring before January 1, 2023. Prospective foreign unitholders should consult their tax advisors regarding the impact of these rules on an investment in our units.
Additional withholding requirements may also affect certain foreign unitholders. Please read Administrative MattersAdditional Withholding Requirements.
Information Returns and Audit Procedures
We intend to furnish to each unitholder, within 90 days after the close of each calendar year, specific tax information, including a Schedule K-1, which describes his share of our income, gain, loss and deduction for our
preceding taxable year. In preparing this information, which will not be reviewed by counsel, we will take various accounting and reporting positions, some of which have been mentioned earlier, to determine each unitholders share of income, gain, loss and deduction. We cannot assure you that those positions will yield a result that conforms to the requirements of the Code, Treasury Regulations or administrative interpretations of the IRS. Neither we nor Latham & Watkins LLP can assure prospective unitholders that the IRS will not successfully contend in court that those positions are impermissible. Any challenge by the IRS could negatively affect the value of the units.
The IRS may audit our federal income tax information returns. Adjustments resulting from an IRS audit may require each unitholder to adjust a prior years tax liability, and possibly may result in an audit of his return. Any audit of a unitholders return could result in adjustments not related to our returns as well as those related to our returns.
Partnerships generally are treated as separate entities for purposes of federal tax audits, judicial review of administrative adjustments by the IRS and tax settlement proceedings. The tax treatment of partnership items of income, gain, loss and deduction are determined in a partnership proceeding rather than in separate proceedings with the partners. For taxable years beginning on or before December 31, 2017, the Code requires that one partner be designated as the Tax Matters Partner for these purposes. Our partnership agreement names our general partner as our Tax Matters Partner.
The Tax Matters Partner has made and will make some elections on our behalf and on behalf of unitholders. In addition, the Tax Matters Partner can extend the statute of limitations for assessment of tax deficiencies against unitholders for items in our returns. The Tax Matters Partner may bind a unitholder with less than a 1% profits interest in us to a settlement with the IRS unless that unitholder elects, by filing a statement with the IRS, not to give that authority to the Tax Matters Partner. The Tax Matters Partner may seek judicial review, by which all the unitholders are bound, of a final partnership administrative adjustment and, if the Tax Matters Partner fails to seek judicial review, judicial review may be sought by any unitholder having at least a 1% interest in profits or by any group of unitholders having in the aggregate at least a 5% interest in profits. However, only one action for judicial review will go forward, and each unitholder with an interest in the outcome may participate.
A unitholder must file a statement with the IRS identifying the treatment of any item on his federal income tax return that is not consistent with the treatment of the item on our return. Intentional or negligent disregard of this consistency requirement may subject a unitholder to substantial penalties.
Pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, if the IRS makes audit adjustments to our income tax returns, it may assess and collect any taxes (including any applicable penalties and interest) resulting from such audit adjustment directly from us. Similarly, for such taxable years, if the IRS makes audit adjustments to income tax returns filed by an entity in which we are a member or partner, it may assess and collect any taxes (including penalties and interest) resulting from such audit adjustment directly from such entity. Generally, we expect to elect to have our general partner and our unitholders take any such audit adjustment into account in accordance with their interests in us during the taxable year under audit, but there can be no assurance that such election will be effective in all circumstances. If we are unable to have our general partner and our unitholders take such audit adjustment into account in accordance with their interests in us during the tax year under audit, our current unitholders may bear some or all of the tax liability resulting from such audit adjustment, even if such unitholders did not own our units during the tax year under audit. If, as a result of any such audit adjustment, we are required to make payments of taxes, penalties and interest, our cash available for distribution to our unitholders might be substantially reduced.
Additionally, pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, the Code will no longer require that we designate a Tax Matters Partner. Instead, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, we will be required to designate a partner, or other person, with a substantial presence in the United States as the partnership representative (Partnership Representative). The Partnership Representative will have the sole authority to act
on our behalf for purposes of, among other things, U.S. federal income tax audits and judicial review of administrative adjustments by the IRS. If we do not make such a designation, the IRS can select any person as the Partnership Representative. We have designated our general partner as our Partnership Representative. Further, any actions taken by us or by the Partnership Representative on our behalf with respect to, among other things, U.S. federal income tax audits and judicial review of administrative adjustments by the IRS, will be binding on us and all of our unitholders.
Additional Withholding Requirements
Subject to the proposed Treasury Regulations discussed below, withholding taxes may apply to certain types of payments made to foreign financial institutions (as specially defined in the Code) and certain other foreign entities. Specifically, a 30% withholding tax may be imposed on interest, dividends and other fixed or determinable annual or periodical gains, profits and income from sources within the United States (FDAP Income), or gross proceeds from the sale or other disposition of any property of a type that can produce interest or dividends from sources within the United States (Gross Proceeds) paid to a foreign financial institution or to a non-financial foreign entity (as specially defined in the Code), unless (i) the foreign financial institution undertakes certain diligence and reporting, (ii) the non-financial foreign entity either certifies it does not have any substantial U.S. owners or furnishes identifying information regarding each substantial U.S. owner or (iii) the foreign financial institution or non-financial foreign entity otherwise qualifies for an exemption from these rules. If the payee is a foreign financial institution and is subject to the diligence and reporting requirements in clause (i) above, it must enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of the Treasury requiring, among other things, that it undertake to identify accounts held by certain U.S. persons or U.S.-owned foreign entities, annually report certain information about such accounts, and withhold 30% on payments to noncompliant foreign financial institutions and certain other account holders. Foreign financial institutions located in jurisdictions that have an intergovernmental agreement with the United States governing these requirements may be subject to different rules.
These rules generally apply to payments of FDAP Income currently and, while these rules generally would have applied to payments of relevant Gross Proceeds made on or after January 1, 2019, proposed Treasury Regulations eliminate these withholding taxes on payments of Gross Proceeds entirely. Unitholders generally may rely on these proposed Treasury Regulations until the final Treasury Regulations are issued. Thus, to the extent we have FDAP Income that is not treated as effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business (please read Tax-Exempt Organizations and Other Investors), unitholders who are foreign financial institutions or certain other foreign entities, or persons that hold their common units through such foreign entities, may be subject to withholding on distributions they receive from us, or their distributive share of our income, pursuant to the rules described above.
Prospective unitholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding the potential application of these withholding provisions to their investment in our units.
Persons who hold an interest in us as a nominee for another person are required to furnish to us:
the name, address and taxpayer identification number of the beneficial owner and the nominee;
whether the beneficial owner is:
a person that is not a U.S. person;
a foreign government, an international organization or any wholly owned agency or instrumentality of either of the foregoing; or
a tax-exempt entity;
the amount and description of units held, acquired or transferred for the beneficial owner; and
specific information including the dates of acquisitions and transfers, means of acquisitions and transfers, and acquisition cost for purchases, as well as the amount of net proceeds from dispositions.
Brokers and financial institutions are required to furnish additional information, including whether they are U.S. persons and specific information on units they acquire, hold or transfer for their own account. A penalty of $280 per failure, up to a maximum of $3,426,000 per calendar year, is imposed by the Code for failure to report that information to us. The nominee is required to supply the beneficial owner of the units with the information furnished to us.
Certain penalties may be imposed on taxpayers as a result of an underpayment of tax that is attributable to one or more specified causes, including: (i) negligence or disregard of rules or regulations, (ii) substantial understatements of income tax, (iii) substantial valuation misstatements and (iv) the disallowance of claimed tax benefits by reason of a transaction lacking economic substance or failing to meet the requirements of any similar rule of law. Except with respect to the disallowance of claimed tax benefits by reason of a transaction lacking economic substance or failing to meet the requirements of any similar rule of law, however, no penalty will be imposed for any portion of any such underpayment if it is shown that there was a reasonable cause for the underpayment of that portion and that the taxpayer acted in good faith regarding the underpayment of that portion.
With respect to substantial understatements of income tax, the amount of any understatement subject to penalty generally is reduced by that portion of the understatement which is attributable to a position adopted on the return: (A) for which there is, or was, substantial authority; or (B) as to which there is a reasonable basis and the relevant facts of that position are adequately disclosed on the return. If any item of income, gain, loss or deduction included in the distributive shares of unitholders might result in that kind of an understatement of income for which no substantial authority exists, we must adequately disclose the relevant facts on our return. In addition, we will make a reasonable effort to furnish sufficient information for unitholders to make adequate disclosure on their returns and to take other actions as may be appropriate to permit unitholders to avoid liability for this penalty.
Recent Legislative Developments
The present federal income tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships, including us, or an investment in our units may be modified by administrative, legislative or judicial interpretation at any time. For example, from time to time, members of Congress and the President propose and consider substantive changes to the existing federal income tax laws that affect the tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships.
Modifications to the federal income tax laws and interpretations thereof may or may not be retroactively applied and could make it more difficult or impossible to meet the exception for us to be treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes. Please read Partnership Status. We are unable to predict whether any such changes will ultimately be enacted. However, it is possible that a change in law could affect us, and any such changes could negatively impact the value of an investment in our units.
State, Local, Foreign and Other Tax Considerations
In addition to federal income taxes, you will likely be subject to other taxes, such as state, local and foreign income taxes, unincorporated business taxes, and estate, inheritance or intangible taxes that may be imposed by the various jurisdictions in which we do business or own property or in which you are a resident. Although an analysis of those various taxes is not presented here, each prospective unitholder should consider their potential
impact on his investment in us. We currently own property or do business in many states. Several of these states impose a personal income tax on individuals; certain of these states also impose an income tax on corporations and other entities. We may also own property or do business in other jurisdictions in the future. Although you may not be required to file a return and pay taxes in some jurisdictions because your income from that jurisdiction falls below the filing and payment requirement, you will be required to file income tax returns and to pay income taxes in many of these jurisdictions in which we do business or own property and may be subject to penalties for failure to comply with those requirements. In some jurisdictions, tax losses may not produce a tax benefit in the year incurred and may not be available to offset income in subsequent taxable years. Some of the jurisdictions may require us, or we may elect, to withhold a percentage of income from amounts to be distributed to a unitholder who is not a resident of the jurisdiction. Withholding, the amount of which may be greater or less than a particular unitholders income tax liability to the jurisdiction, generally does not relieve a nonresident unitholder from the obligation to file an income tax return. Amounts withheld will be treated as if distributed to unitholders for purposes of determining the amounts distributed by us. Please read Tax Consequences of Unit OwnershipEntity-Level Collections. Based on current law and our estimate of our future operations, our general partner anticipates that any amounts required to be withheld will not be material.
It is the responsibility of each unitholder to investigate the legal and tax consequences, under the laws of pertinent states, localities and foreign jurisdictions, of his investment in us. Accordingly, each unitholder is urged to consult his own tax counsel or other advisor with regard to those matters. Further, it is the responsibility of each unitholder to file all state, local and foreign, as well as U.S. federal tax returns, that may be required of him. Latham & Watkins LLP has not rendered an opinion on the state tax, local tax, alternative minimum tax or foreign tax consequences of an investment in us.
The validity of the common units offered by this prospectus will be passed upon by Latham & Watkins LLP, Houston, Texas. Latham & Watkins LLP will also render an opinion on the material federal income tax consequences regarding the common units. The selling unitholders legal counsel and the underwriters own legal counsel will advise them about other issues related to any offering in which they participate.
The audited consolidated financial statements of Energy Transfer LP and subsidiaries and managements assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting incorporated by reference in this prospectus and elsewhere in the registration statement have been so incorporated by reference in reliance upon the reports of Grant Thornton LLP, independent registered public accountants, upon the authority of said firm as experts in accounting and auditing.
The financial statements of Enable as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 and for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2020, incorporated by reference in this prospectus by reference to Enables Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, have been audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, as stated in their report. Such financial statements are incorporated by reference in reliance upon the report of such firm given upon their authority as experts in accounting and auditing.