Treasury List of Boycott Countries Published | Tax Lawyer & Attorney

On January 8, 2018, the US Treasury Department published a list of boycott countries. Let’s analyze what is meant here by Boycott Countries.

Boycott Countries: The Meaning of Boycott Under IRC Section 999(b)(3)

IRC Section 999(a)(3) requires the Department of the Treasury to publish (at least on a quarterly basis) a current list of countries which require or may require participation in or cooperation with an international boycott. IRC Section 999(b)(3) defines “boycott participation and cooperation”.

Basically, the cooperation with an international boycott requires a person to agree:

“(i) to refrain from doing business with or in a country which is the object of the boycott or with the government, companies, or nationals of that country;
(ii) to refrain from doing business with any United States person engaged in trade in a country which is the object of the boycott or with the government, companies, or nationals of that country;
(iii) to refrain from doing business with any company whose ownership or management is made up, all or in part, of individuals of a particular nationality, race, or religion, or to remove (or refrain from selecting) corporate directors who are individuals of a particular nationality, race, or religion; or
(iv) to refrain from employing individuals of a particular nationality, race, or religion; or
(B) as a condition of the sale of a product to the government, a company, or a national of a country, to refrain from shipping or insuring that product on a carrier owned, leased, or operated by a person who does not participate in or cooperate with an international boycott (within the meaning of subparagraph (A)).” IRC Section 999(b)(3)

List of Boycott Countries

The following countries were placed on the boycott list by the Department of the Treasury as of January 2, 2018: Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

Disclosure of Swiss Bank Staff Details to the IRS Blocked by Swiss Court

On January 3, 2018, a decision of the Swiss Federal Court (the nation’s highest court) dated December 18, 2017, was published, prohibiting automatic disclosure of the Swiss bank staff details to the IRS and the US DOJ. Let’s analyze this decision in more detail.

Disclosure of Swiss Bank Staff Details: History of the Case

The lawsuit decided in 2017 is not the first time that the Swiss Federal Court is placing limits on the IRS ability to obtain information from Switzerland with respect to Swiss citizens. Already in 2016, the Court ruled that a Swiss bank could not disclose to the US authorities the names of financial advisers who helped US taxpayers set up secret Swiss bank accounts (“facilitators”). The reasoning was based on the inadequate level of data protection in the United States which is far below the Swiss Data Protection Act.

It should be emphasized, however, that in the same opinion, the Court also said that the names of facilitators could be disclosed to the US government despite the data protection concerns if the failure to do so would deepen the legal dispute between Switzerland and a the United States and harm the Swiss reputation as a financial center.

The lawsuit with respect to disclosure of Swiss bank staff details was initiated by an unnamed US taxpayer who lived in Switzerland. He filed a lawsuit to prevent the Swiss equivalent of the IRS, the Federal Tax Administration (“FTA”) from disclosing to the US government the name of third parties who were involved or might have been involved with his financial affairs. The lower Swiss court agreed with the taxpayer.

Automatic Disclosure of Swiss Bank Staff Details to the IRS Prohibited

The Swiss Federal Court also partially agreed with the unnamed US taxpayer, stating that FTA could not automatically turn over to the US government the names of Swiss bankers and others who might have helped US tax residents in evading their US tax reporting obligations. The reasoning behind the decision was based on relevance.

Basically, the Could stated that the Swiss bank staff details in this particular case were not necessary to the US government to prove its tax evasion case against the unnamed US account holder. “What is needed . . . is information about the existence and intervention of these third parties, not their identities,” the Court said.

The Court basically stated that administrative assistance requests should not be used for indirect purposes. In other words, the IRS cannot use such requests “in order to obtain information about the identities of alleged accomplices of the taxpayer . . . that could be subject to criminal prosecution if this information is not relevant to elucidate the tax situation of the same taxpayer.”

Obviously, this reasoning does not offer any decisive protection for Swiss bank staff details. It appears that, if the information would have been necessary for the US tax authorities to prove its tax evasion case, the transfer of Swiss Bank Staff details would have been permitted. Additionally, the decision might have come in a bit late as hundreds of documents with the Swiss bankers’ names have already been turned over to the IRS.

Swiss Bank Staff Case Offers No Protection to US Taxpayer’s Data Transfer

Moreover, the Court’s decision offered no hope for blocking the transfer of US taxpayers’ information. While the Court blocked the transfer of the Swiss bank staff details, it still allowed the FTA to provide to the US government the US account holder’s information. This means that the transfer of data concerning US tax residents from Switzerland to the United States will continue unimpeded.

Swiss Bank Staff Case Offers Insight Into IRS’ Next Target in Switzerland

This case also offers a good insight into the current IRS strategy concerning Switzerland. It appears that the IRS is compiling statistics concerning Swiss bank staff who might have helped US taxpayers evade their US tax reporting obligations. Most likely, the focus is on the bankers who provided this help regularly to a large amount of US taxpayers.

Sherayzen Law Office will continue to observe the IRS latest moves in Switzerland.

Toledo Tax Lawyer and Attorney | Ohio Tax Lawyers

A Toledo Tax Lawyer who specializes in international tax law does not necessarily have to be a tax lawyer who actually resides in Toledo. An international tax lawyer who offers US international tax law services to residents of Toledo, Ohio, may also be considered a Toledo Tax Lawyer. Let’s analyze a bit deeper why this is the case.

Toledo Tax Lawyer Definition: Offering International Tax Services to Residents of Toledo

Of course, the definition of a Toledo Tax Lawyer includes all tax lawyers who are physically located in Toledo, Florida, and offer their tax services there.

With respect to US international tax law, however, the definition of a Toledo Tax Lawyer expands to encompass all international tax lawyers who offer services to residents of Toledo, Ohio.

The reason for such an expansion in the definition of Toledo Tax Lawyer lies in the nature of US international tax law. Unlike many other areas of law which are predominantly local in nature (such as local contracts, torts, criminal law, et cetera), US international tax law is federal law which is applied equally to the residents of all states of the United States. In other words, there is nothing local about it; the city of Toledo cannot in any way modify US international tax law.

Hence, an international tax lawyer residing in Minneapolis, such as attorney Eugene Sherayzen of Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd., has the same right to offer international tax law services to residents of Toledo as a lawyer who lives in Toledo.

Toledo Tax Lawyer Definition: Local Tax Law

It is important to distinguish, however, a tax lawyer who offers US international tax services from a tax lawyer who offers his services with respect to local tax law. In the first case, as I had mentioned before, the lawyer may call himself a Toledo Tax Lawyer as long as he offers international tax services to residents of Toledo (even though he is not residing in Toledo or anywhere else in the State of Ohio).

In the second case, however, an out-of-state lawyer cannot be classified as a Toledo Tax Lawyer, because he is working on local Toledo or Ohio state tax issues. In fact, in this case, it would best for local taxpayers to retain a local Toledo Tax Lawyer who resides in Toledo, Ohio.

Sherayzen Law Office is Your Preferred Choice for Toledo Tax Lawyer With Respect To US International Tax Issues

Sherayzen Law Office is a highly experienced international tax law firm which specializes in the area of foreign account tax compliance. We have been helping our clients worldwide with their international tax issues, including FBAR, FATCA and Offshore Voluntary Disclosure issues since the end of 2005. We can help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer and Attorney | Florida Tax Lawyers

Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer is an interesting specialty among international tax lawyers who offer their foreign account tax compliance services to residents of Tampa, Florida. The term Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer does not simply refer to a lawyer who is physically located in Tampa, but also covers lawyers who reside outside of Tampa. Let’s explore why international tax lawyer Eugene Sherayzen of Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd., can be considered a Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer.

Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer Definition: Foreign Account Tax Compliance Services Offered to Residents of Tampa Florida

Obviously, the definition of a Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer includes all FBAR lawyers who are physically located in Tampa, Florida, and offer their tax services there. However, this definition also includes every international tax lawyer who offers out-of-state foreign account tax services to residents of Tampa.

Why is this the case? The answer is simple – it is the federal tax law, not local law, that requires foreign account tax compliance (with the exception of a few states like New York and California; the main requirements, however, come from federal tax law). This means that an international tax lawyer licensed to practice anywhere in the United States is qualified to help residents of Tampa with their US tax compliance requirements concerning foreign accounts (such as FBAR and FATCA Form 8938).

Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer Definition: Knowledge of US International Tax Law is Required

Having stated the definition of a Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer so broadly, I do not mean to imply that any lawyer can offer foreign account tax compliance services to Tampa residents. On the contrary, in order to help his clients, a Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer must be an international tax attorney who specializes in the area of foreign accounts tax compliance. Otherwise, the lawyer simply would not have the required expertise to practice in this area of law.

Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer: Modern Technologies Eliminated the Advantages of Hiring a Local Lawyer

There is still some hesitance on part of many taxpayers to retain the services of an out-of-state tax lawyer. This hesitance comes from a false myth that working with a local attorney is more convenient.

This myth is false for two reasons. First, the development of modern means of communication has completely resolved the communication problems of the past. Email, Video Skype Conferences, telephone and text messages make your out-of-state Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer as equally accessible as your local Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer.

Second, in reality, almost the entire course of communication between you and your local lawyer is going to be exactly the same as it would be between you and your out-of-state lawyer – i.e. email, telephone and even regular mail.

Sherayzen Law Office is Your Preferred Choice for Your Tampa Foreign Accounts Lawyer

Sherayzen Law Office is a highly experienced international tax law firm which specializes in the area of foreign account tax compliance. We have been helping our clients worldwide with their FBAR and FATCA issues for a very long time; in fact, we are one of the few firms which advised clients with respect to all major IRS voluntary disclosure programs, including 2009 OVDP, 2011 OVDI, 2012 OVDP, 2014 OVDP and Streamlined Submission Procedures (Domestic and Foreign). We can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty Ratified | International Tax Lawyer News

On December 29, 2017, the President of Kazakhstan Nazarbayev signed the law for the ratification of the Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income.

History of the Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty

The Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty was originally signed in Astana on April 26, 2017. Ireland already ratified the treaty through Statutory Instrument 479 on November 10, 2017. By ratifying the treaty on December 29, 2017, Kazakhstan completed the process for the treaty ratification on the part of Kazakhstan.

The Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty will enter into force once the ratification instruments are exchanged. The provisions of the Treaty will apply from January 1 of the year following its entry into force. The Treaty is the first tax treaty between Ireland and Kazakhstan.

Taxes Covered by the Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty

The Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty will apply to the following taxes. With respect to Ireland, the Treaty will apply to the income tax, the universal social charge, the corporation tax and the capital gains tax. For Kazakhstan, it will apply to the corporate income tax and the individual income tax. Identical or substantially similar taxes imposed by either state after the Treaty was signed are also covered by the Treaty.

Main Provisions of the Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty

Here is an overview of the most important provisions. Obviously, this is a very general description for educational purposes only, and it cannot be relied upon as a legal advice; you should contact a licensed attorney in Ireland or Kazakhstan for legal advice.

Article 4 of the Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty defines the meaning of the term “resident”. It should be noted that the Treaty applies only to Irish and Kazakh residents (see Article 2 of the Treaty).

Article 5 defines the term Permanent Establishment.

Article 6 states that income from the “immovable” property (i.e. real estate) is subject to taxation in a country where it is located. This includes business real estate. This provision, of course, does not exempt the owner of the real estate from the obligation to also pay taxes in his home country.

Article 7 deals with business profits. It states that “the profits of an enterprise of a Contracting State shall be taxable only in that Contracting State unless that enterprise carries on business in the other Contracting State through a permanent establishment situated therein.” In the latter case, “the profits of the enterprise may be taxed in the other Contracting State but only so much of them as is attributable to that permanent establishment.”

Article 8 states that “profits of an enterprise of a Contracting State from the operation of ships or aircraft in international traffic shall be taxable only in that Contracting State.”

Article 9 deals with Associated Enterprises.

Article 10 establishes the maximum tax rates for dividends. In general, dividends should be taxed at a maximum rate of 5% if the beneficial owner is a company (other than a partnership) that directly holds at least 25 percent of the capital of the payer company; in all other cases, the tax rate should be no more than 15%.

Articles 11 and 12 establish the maximum tax withholding rate of 10% for interest and royalties respectively.

Articles 13 – 22, 24 and 25 deal with capital gains, employment income, director fees and certain special cases.

Article 23 establishes the usage of foreign tax credit to eliminate double-taxation under the Treaty.

Information Exchange and Tax Enforcement under the Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty

The Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty contains fairly strong provisions on the information exchange and tax enforcement. Article 26 provides for exchange of relevant tax information described in the Treaty. Article 27 obligates the signatory states to lend assistance for the purposes of collection of taxes.

Information Exchange under the Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty and FATCA Compliance

Article 26 of the Ireland-Kazakhstan Tax Treaty could be dangerous to US citizens who are also either Kazakh residents or citizens. The reason for it is FATCA which would obligate Ireland to turn over the information it receives under the Treaty directly to the IRS in cases where this information concerns noncompliant US tax residents. This may lead to an IRS investigation and the imposition of FBAR and other penalties on these US taxpayers.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office if You Have Unreported Foreign Accounts in Ireland or Kazakhstan

If you have undisclosed foreign accounts and/or foreign income in Ireland and Kazakhstan, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible. Our firm specializes in offshore voluntary disclosures and has helped hundreds of US taxpayers to deal with this issue. We can help You!

Contact Us Today for Your Confidential Consultation!