international-tax-lawyer

US International Tax Lawyer Lectures at Alliance Française on Offshore Reporting

On December 7, 2016, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, the founder of Sherayzen Law Office and a US international tax lawyer, gave a lecture at the Minneapolis chapter of Alliance Française. The topic of the lecture was an introduction to reporting of foreign income and foreign assets for individual taxpayers in the United States. The lecture was well-attended and raised a lot of interest among the participants.

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US International Tax Lawyer Explained the US Tax Residency Requirements

Mr. Sherayzen first focused on defining the crucial term of “US tax resident”. As he explained during the lecture, the starting point for legal analysis of any US international tax lawyer is often the determination of whether his client is a US person.

During the lecture, Mr. Sherayzen covered three categories of US tax residents – US citizens, US Permanent residents and individuals who met the requirements of the Substantial Presence Test.

He also distinguished the immigration-law concept of US permanent residency (i.e. green-card holders) from the tax concept of US tax residency. The US international tax lawyer also discussed certain exceptions to the Substantial Presence Test, focusing on F-1 and J-1 visas.

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US International Tax Lawyer Emphasized Worldwide Income Reporting Requirement

Then, Mr. Sherayzen explained to the audience that US tax residents are required to disclose and pay US taxes on their worldwide income, even if this income was already disclosed on foreign tax returns.

At that point, the US international tax lawyer observed that the worldwide income reporting requirement is one of the most violated laws. Mr. Sherayzen distinguished three groups of US tax residents who are not in compliance with this law.

The first group consisted of US tax residents who were born overseas and were not aware of the worldwide income compliance requirement due to their prior experiences in their home countries (especially those which adopted the territorial model of taxation).

The second group was described as a small group of persons who were aware of the requirement and willfully violated it.

Finally, Mr. Sherayzen distinguished a third group of individuals who knew about the worldwide income reporting requirement, attempted to comply with it to the best of their ability, but failed to do so due to their lack of sufficient knowledge of US tax laws. The US international tax lawyer specifically referenced the Assurance Vie accounts as a representative case for such violations due to huge differences between the US and the French tax treatment of these accounts.

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US International Tax Lawyer Described Top Three Reporting Requirements with Respect to Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts

The third part of the presentation was devoted to the discussion of the FBAR, Form 8938 and Form 8621 (PFIC) requirements with respect to reporting foreign bank and financial accounts. The discussion concerned the types of accounts that needed to disclosed, the reporting thresholds, the due dates and how the forms needed to be filed. Some history of the forms was provided; due to time limitations, however, only a limited introduction to FATCA was provided to the audience.

This discussion produced a lively Q&A exchange between the US international tax lawyer and the audience.

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US International Tax Lawyer Discussed the Reporting of Foreign Gifts and Inheritance

The fourth part of the discussion concentrated on the Form 3520 reporting of foreign gifts and inheritance, including the filing threshold and the penalties associated with the form. Mr. Sherayzen also explained that, in certain circumstances, Form 8938 may be applicable to foreign gifts and inheritance for the purpose of annual tax compliance.

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US International Tax Lawyer Introduced the Hypothetical to Illustrate How These Forms Might Apply in a Real-Life Situation

The final part of the presentation was devoted to the analysis of a hypothetical to demonstrate how all of these information returns could apply in a real-life situation. The focus of the hypothetical was on the French and French-Canadian issues. Mr. Sherayzen also invited the audience to participate in the legal analysis of the hypothetical which was enthusiastically welcomed by the audience.

The presentation concluded with an additional fifteen-minute Q&A session.

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First Quarter 2017 Underpayment and Overpayment Interest Rates

On December 5, 2016, the IRS announced that the First Quarter 2017 underpayment and overpayment interest rates will remain the same from the Fourth Quarter of 2016.

This means that, the First Quarter 2017 underpayment and overpayment interest rates will be as follows:

four (4) percent for overpayments (two (3) percent in the case of a corporation);
four (4) percent for underpayments;
six (6) percent for large corporate underpayments; and
one and one-half (1.5) percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis. For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points. Generally, in the case of a corporation, the underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points and the overpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 2 percentage points. The rate for large corporate underpayments is the federal short-term rate plus 5 percentage points. The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus one-half (0.5) of a percentage point.

The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus one-half (0.5) of a percentage point.

The First Quarter 2017 underpayment rates are relevant not only for simple amended tax returns (with amounts due), but also for a number of other different reasons. Here, I would like to emphasize two particular reasons for the importance of the first quarter 2017 underpayment rates. First, it is used to calculate interest for the US taxpayers who participate in the OVDP or the Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures.

Second, the first quarter 2017 underpayment rates will be relevant to future PFIC interest calculation on any excess distributions (for default Section 1291 PFICs).

First Colombia-US Tax Treaty is Almost Ready | International Tax Lawyer

The first Colombia-US Tax Treaty nears the final stage of negotiations. This announcement was made on September 28, 2016, in Bogota, Colombia, by Colombian Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew (the details of the meeting were published on the Colombian president’s website).

Despite the fact that United States and Colombia already signed a tax information exchange agreement on March 30, 2001, the two countries still do not have an income tax treaty that would protect its citizens and business from the effect of double-taxation.

There are a lot of expectations that the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty will benefit individuals and business in both countries. “La negociación de un tratado de doble tributación entre Colombia y Estados Unidos está cerca del fin, esperemos avanzar para lograr algo que los empresarios colombianos y los empresarios norteamericanos desean, al igual que muchos colombianos que dividen sus actividades entre los dos países”, said Mr. Cárdenas.

It is also possible that, upon ratification of the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty the Colombians who live in the United States and have businesses in Colombia will finally be able to benefit from the long-term capital gains tax rates that apply to qualified foreign dividends.

Of course, there is a still a long way to go for the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty. Even after the negotiations are successfully concluded and finalized, the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty will need to be signed and ratified by both countries before it enters into force. While it is reasonable to expect a relatively fast ratification in Colombia, the United States is a completely different story. Treaties can languish in the United States Senate for years before they are even considered.

Furthermore, Mr. Cárdenas and Mr. Lew may not have sufficient time to conclude the current negotiations. Before they may be done, a new president may be elected in the United States and he may take a different to negotiating with Colombia. If this happens, the conclusion of the negotiations and the ratification of the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty may be postponed even further into the future.

Sherayzen Law Office will continue to observe the situation surrounding the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty.

Mexican Fideicomiso is not a Foreign Trust | International Tax Attorney

Mexican Fideicomiso is one of the most convenient ways for U.S. persons to purchase land in Mexico. Of course, one can purchase the land through a Mexican corporation, but such an arrangement will require additional tax planning and higher annual compliance costs, including potentially filing form 5471, Form 8938 and other forms. Therefore, most U.S. persons prefer to purchase land in Mexico through a Mexican Fideicomiso.

I am often asked a question about whether Mexican Fideicomiso should be considered a foreign trust for U.S. tax purposes. The answer to this questions is fairly straightforward, but it is important to point out a potential pitfall.

Main Rule: Mexican Fideicomiso is Not a Foreign Trust for U.S. Tax Purposes

The U.S. tax treatment of Mexican Fideicomiso was settled by the IRS in PLR 201245003 and, even more authoritatively, IRS Revenue Ruling 2013-14. In PLR 201245003 and Rev. Rul. 2013-14, the IRS decisively ruled that a Mexican Fideicomiso is not a foreign trust for U.S. tax purposes.

Main Rule Applies Only If a True Mexican Fideicomiso Relationship is Preserved

It is important to understand, however, that PLR 201245003 and Rev. Rul. 2013-14 apply only if the true Fideicomiso relationship is preserved. If this relationship is modified with other features and agreements, then the U.S. tax treatment of the new arrangement may actually change. For example, if the trustee of Mexican Fideicomiso suddenly acquires the ability to act independently and in complete disregard of the beneficiary’s instructions, the IRS may start treating this modified Mexican Fideicomiso as a foreign trust.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help with Reporting of Your Foreign Assets and Foreign Income

If you have foreign assets or foreign income, you are facing a difficult challenge of trying to comply with the numerous complex U.S. tax requirements. It is very easy to make mistakes in this area; given the high penalties associated with noncompliance, the cost of remedying these mistakes may be high.

This is why you need the help of Sherayzen Law Office, an experienced international tax law firm that has helped hundreds of U.S. taxpayers around the globe to bring and maintain their tax affairs in full compliance with U.S. tax laws.

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Experienced International Tax Law Firm of Sherayzen Law Office

Most U.S. taxpayers who need international tax services look for an experienced international tax law firm to help them. Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. is a highly experienced international tax law firm. In this essay, I will conduct the analysis explaining why Sherayzen Law Office is considered such an experienced international tax law firm.

Areas of Law Covered by an Experienced International Tax Law Firm

In order for a firm to be considered an experienced international tax law firm, it must have sufficient breadth of coverage of international law – i.e. a firm cannot be considered experienced if it only operates on the margins of international tax law. Sherayzen Law Office covers the full range of areas of international tax law, including: Offshore Voluntary Disclosures (all types – OVDP, Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures, Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures, Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures, Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures, Noisy Disclosures and Reasonable Cause Disclosures); Annual International Compliance with respect to PFICs (Form 8621), foreign business ownership (5471, 8865, 8858, et cetera), foreign business transactions (926 and other related forms) and ownership of foreign accounts (FBAR, Form 8938, et cetera); Foreign Gifts and Inheritance (Form 3520), Beneficiary and/or Owner of a Foreign Trust (Form 3520 and 3520-A); Anti-Deferral Regimes (PFICs, Subpart F rules, et cetera); full domestic compliance (1040, 1065, 1120, et cetera); tax withholding; International Tax Planning; FATCA compliance; and numerous other areas and sub-areas of international tax law.

Furthermore, Sherayzen Law Office helps clients with IRS audits (including FBAR audits), IRS Appeals, and tax court appeals.

The expertise developed by Sherayzen Law Office covers both legal and accounting aspects of international tax law. This means that this is one of the few law firms in the United States where a client’s U.S. legal and accounting needs are fully met without the expense and inconvenience of involving third parties.

Experienced International Tax Law Firm and its Clients

Sherayzen Law Office is an experienced international tax law firm not only because it is in this business for more than 10 years, but also because, during this period of time, it has helped hundreds of U.S. taxpayers throughout the world to resolve their U.S. international tax matters. While a minority of our clients belong to middle class, the majority of our clients consist of the upper middle-class and high-net-worth individuals (including owners of foreign and domestic businesses) with highly complex international tax issues.

Countries Covered by an Experienced International Tax Law Firm

The breadth of the geographical experience is one of the most important characteristics of an experienced international tax law firm. Sherayzen Law Office is proud to state that it has worked with U.S. taxpayers with foreign accounts and/or assets in countries in all continents inhabited by humans: North America (Canada, Mexico and the United States), Central America (Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama – geographically, part of the North American continent), South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia), the Caribbean region (Bahamas, Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Cayman Islands), Europe (Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom), Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Turkey and United Arab Emirates – geographically part of Asia), Australia, New Zealand, Africa (Cote D’Ivore, Ethiopia, Morocco and Nigeria), and Asia (Bangladesh, China, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand).

Such a broad geographical spread qualifies Sherayzen Law Office as one of the most experienced international tax law firms in the United States.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help with Your International Tax Issues

U.S. international tax law is extremely complex with numerous reporting requirements and traps for the unwary. This is why you need to make sure that you have the right team of international tax professionals on your side, especially for the purpose of voluntary disclosure of your foreign accounts and income. Sherayzen Law Office is your best choice; our international tax firm is highly knowledgeable and experienced in international tax law and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!