taxation law services

IMF Wants “Modern” Croatian Real Estate Tax | Tax Lawyer News

On January 16, 2018, the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) released its 2017 Article IV consultation notes with respect to Croatia. Among its recommendations is the introduction of a modern Croatian Real Estate Tax.

Croatian Real Estate Tax: IMF assessment of Croatian Economy

The IMF began on the positive note stating that, in 2017, Croatia continued its third year of positive economic growth, mostly supported by tourism, private consumption, trade partner growth and improved confidence. The IMF also noted that the fiscal consolidation was progressing at a much faster pace than originally anticipated with Croatia leaving the European Union’s Excessive Deficit Procedure in June of 2017. The international organization made other positive comments, particularly stressing that Croatia was overcoming its Agrokor crisis.

Then, the IMF turned increasingly negative. It first noted that, while the balance risks has improved, it was not satisfied with the high level of Croatian public and external debt levels. Then, it stated that the full impact of the Agrokor restructuring is not yet known. The IMF was also unhappy about the pace of structural reforms since 2013 (when Croatia became a member of the EU), further stating that Croatia’s GDP per capita stood at about 60% of the EU average and Croatian business environment remained less favorable than that of its peers.

Finally, the IMF expressed its concerns over the fact that the output did not recover from its pre-recessing level and stated that, in the medium-term, the Croatia’s economic growth is expected to decelerate. Hence, the IMF emphasized that Croatia needed to do more to improve its economic prospects.

Croatian Real Estate Tax: IMF Recommendations

What precisely does Croatia need to do in the IMF opinion? Mainly reduction of public debt.

How does the IMF recommend that Croatia accomplish this task? The IMF made a number of proposals that can be consolidated into five courses of action. First, enhance the efficiency of public services by streamlining public services. Second, keep the wages low and reform the welfare state policies (here, it probably means either slashing the state benefits or privatizing them). Third, relaxing the labor regulations, particularly in the areas of hiring and temporary employment. Fourth, enhancement of legal and property rights. Finally, improvement of the structure of revenue and expenditure.

This last enigmatic phrase is the keyword for reducing the expenses and the introduction of new taxes. In particular, the IMF wants to see an introduction of a modern Croatian real estate tax.

What is a “Modern” Croatian Real Estate Tax According to IMF

The IMF defined a “modern” Croatian real estate tax as a “real estate tax that is based on objective criteria” and the one that “would be more equitable and would yield more revenue than the existing communal fees.” The idea is that “a modern more equitable property tax could allow for a reduction of less growth-friendly taxes.” In fact, the additional revenue derived from this tax “could compensate for a further reduction in the income tax burden, the parafiscal fees, or even VAT.”

It should be noted that the Croatian government already listened to the IMF and tried to impose a Croatian real property tax starting January of 2018, but the implementation of the law was suspended in light of strong public opposition.

Sherayzen Law Office will continue to monitor the situation.

Home Equity Tax Deduction Eliminated in 2018 | Tax Lawyers News

The Home Equity Tax Deduction used to be one of the most common deductions used by US taxpayers. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 eliminated this deduction. Let’s take a brief look at the Home Equity Tax Deduction and what its elimination may mean for your US tax return.

Home Equity Tax Deduction: What are Home Equity Loans and Home Equity Lines of Credit?

A Home Equity Loan is a loan which uses the borrower’s equity in his home as a collateral for the loan.

A Home Equity Line of Credit or HELOC is a loan in which a lender agrees to lend a certain amount of funds to the borrower who uses his equity in his home as a collateral. HELOC is different from a conventional home equity loan because the borrower does not receive the entire amount of the credit up front, but uses a line of credit to borrow funds as needed (but not to exceed the credit limit). HELOC is very similar to a credit card, but it is backed-up by the borrower’s real estate.

Home Equity Tax Deduction as of 2017

Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, homeowners who took out home equity loans could deduct from their adjusted gross income (on Schedule A) the interest on a Home Equity Loan or HELOC up to $100,000. This was called the Home Equity Tax Deduction.

Home Equity Tax Deduction Eliminated Starting Tax Year 2018

As a result of the 2017 tax reform (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017), the Home Equity Tax Deduction was completely eliminated. In fact, the deduction was eliminated for both, new and existing borrowers (unlike the home mortgage deduction).

Home Equity Tax Deduction Elimination May Impact 2018 Individual Tax Returns

While the precise tax impact of the elimination of the Home Equity Tax Deduction may vary based on your precise tax situation, it can be reasonably supposed that the end of this deduction may result in a larger amount of taxpayers taking standard deduction rather than trying to itemize their deductions. This will be especially true since, in 2018, the standard deduction will double in size.

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!

EU Tax Harmonization Initiative Stalled by Ireland and Hungary | Tax News

The EU Tax Harmonization initiative faced a joint opposition of Ireland and Hungary in early January of 2018. Both countries are vehemently opposed to any effort that would “tie their hands” in terms of their corporate tax policies.

The EU Tax Harmonization Initiative

Tax Harmonization is basically a policy that aims to adjust the tax systems of various jurisdictions in order to achieve one tax goal. The adjustment usually implies equalization of tax treatment.

In the past, the EU tax harmonization efforts were mostly limited to Value-Added Tax (“VAT”) and certain parent-subsidiary taxation issues. Since at least 2016, however, the EU Tax Harmonization policy seeks to regulate corporate income taxes among its members in order to limit intra-EU tax competition.

In 2016, the European Commission released two proposed directives addressing the issues of a common corporate tax base and a common consolidated corporate tax base. Neither directive establishes a minimum corporate tax rate. Neither directive passed the internal EU opposition.

Irish and Hungarian Opposition to the EU Tax Harmonization of Corporate Taxation

Today, the EU internal opposition to the EU tax harmonization initiatives consists of Ireland and Hungary. Both Hungary and Ireland have very low (by EU standards) corporate tax rates. The Irish corporate tax rate is 12.5% and the Hungarian corporate tax rate is only 9% (the EU average corporate tax rate is about 22%).

In early January of 2018, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar both stated that their countries have the right to set their corporate tax policies and that this area should not be subject to the EU tax harmonization efforts. “Taxation is an important component of competition. We would not like to see any regulation in the EU, which would bind Hungary’s hands in terms of tax policy, be it corporate tax, or any other tax,” Mr. Orbán said. He further added that “we do not consider tax harmonization a desired direction.”

Both countries view the aforementioned proposed 2016 European Commission directives as a threat, because harmonizing of the tax base could lead to corporate income tax rate harmonization.

Impact of Brexit on the EU Tax Harmonization Initiatives

The United Kingdom used to be in the same opposition camp as Ireland and Hungary. Given the size of its economy and its political influence, the United Kingdom was an almost insurmountable barrier to the proponents of greater EU unity (mainly France and Germany). In essence, the UK was enough of a counterweight to keep the balance of power within the European Union from tilting in favor of the EU unity proponents.

Everything has changed with Brexit. The exit of the United Kingdom from the EU automatically led to the shift of the balance of power in favor of Germany. Brexit also means that Ireland and Hungary are now alone in their resistance against the Franco-German efforts to achieve greater EU unity. The political pressure of these outliers is now enormous.

In fact, it appears that, rather than suspending the unanimity requirement by invoking the so-called “passerelle clauses” (which would be a highly controversial step), the proponents of the EU Tax Harmonization initiative will simply wait until this political pressure forces Ireland and Hungary to modify their positions on this issue.