Comment Letter on Massachusetts Department of Revenue Directive for Professionally Managed Trader Funds

MFA submitted a comment letter to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in response to the DoRs draft directive on professionally managed trader funds. We submitted a proposed revised draft directive along with our letter. In our proposed directive: (1) we suggested a revised set of facts and circumstances that we believe are more relevant to analyzing a professionally managed fund; (2) revised the discussion of case law to focus on relevant legal principles rather than specific facts courts have looked at when analyzing individual tax payers; and (3) added language that clarifies that the safe harbor is a safe harbor and not a threshold test. Our proposed directive also suggested an alternative safe harbor that we believe meets the DoRs goal of having administrable standards for its audit staff and establishes reasonable thresholds that many trader funds would be able to meet, but which investor funds would not be likely to meet. Our proposed directive also deleted a provision in the DoRs draft directive that would have established an apportionment test for funds not deemed trader funds under the directive. Finally, our proposal deleted a provision that restated a current IRS pronouncement regarding funds of funds, based on concerns that the directive could become out of date if and when the IRS issues additional pronouncements.