Last month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced plans to stop oil and gas pipelines from being able to structure themselves as Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) in order to get an income tax allowance for rates that are cost-of-service. Under the existing model, MLP customers pay a price that is regulated, part of which takes care of corporate tax charges.
MLPs aren’t required to pay corporate taxes since they pass through entities that distribute pre-tax earnings to unit holders. The latter are the ones that pay the taxes.
Any new rule related to this matter would likely not go into effect until 2020. Still, the government agency’s news affected trading on a number of MLPs, including the Alerian MLP ETF (exchange traded fund), Energy Transfer Partners, TC PipeLines, Williams Partners, Crossamerica Partners, and several others.