Legal Entity Identifiers: Introduction to LEI | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

The Legal Entity Identifiers (“LEI”) is a method to identify legal entities that engage in financial transactions. Let’s discuss LEI in more detail.

LEI: Background Information

The establishment of LEI was driven by the recognition by regulators around the world that there is a complete lack of transparency with respect to identifying parties to international transactions. Each business entity is registered at the national level, but another country’s authorities would have great difficulty identifying this entity in an international transaction, including whether this entity has taken consistent tax positions in both countries.

Establishment of LEI; Additional Initiatives

Hence, on the initiative of the largest twenty economies of the world (“G-20“), the Financial Stability Board (“FSB”) developed the framework of Global LEI System (“GLEIS”). FSB was created in 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis (it replaced the Financial Stability Forum or “FSF”).

Additionally, in January of 2013, a LEI Regulatory Oversight Committee (“ROC”) was created. ROC is a group of over 70 public authorities from member-countries and additional observers from more than 50 countries. The job of the ROC is coordination and oversight of the worldwide LEI framework.

On May 9, 2017, the ROC announced that it has launched data collection on parent entities in the Global Legal Entity Identifiers System – this is the so-called “relationship data”. The member countries (especially in the European Union (“EU”)) will use this data in a number of regulatory initiatives. For example, as of 2018, the EU uses the relationship data for the purposes of commodity derivative reporting.

How LEI Works

The LEI is a 20-character, alpha-numeric code, to uniquely identify legally distinct entities that engage in financial transactions. The code incorporates the following information:

1.the official name of the legal entity as recorded in the official registers;
2.the registered address of that legal entity;
3.the country of formation; for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions;
5.the date of the first Legal Entity Identifier assignment; the date of last update of the information; and the date of expiration, if applicable.

Here is how the numbering system works:

•Characters 1–4: A four-character prefix allocated uniquely to each LOU.
•Characters 5–6: Two reserved characters set to zero.
•Characters 7–18: Entity—specific part of the code generated and assigned by LOUs according to transparent, sound, and robust allocation policies.
•Characters 19–20: Two check digits as described in the ISO 17442 standard.

Jurisdictions With Rules Referring to LEI

Over 40 jurisdictions have rules that refer to Legal Entity Identifiers: Argentina, Australia, Canada, 31 members of the European Union and European Economic Area, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States. IGOs such as Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and International Organization of Securities Commissions also use Legal Entity Identifiers.

Could LEI Be Used for CRS and FATCA Purposes?

Sherayzen Law Office, like many other commentators, believes that there is a possibility that the LEI would be a better alternative than Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN) for CRS and FATCA purposes. First of all, it would be more efficient to have one identification system across all compliance terrains. Second, Legal Entity Identifiers are actually more popular than GIINs. As of December 7, 2017, there were 830,477 LEIs issued versus a mere less than 300,000 GIINs.

Business Service Income Sourcing | Business Tax Lawyer & Attorney Delaware

Business service income sourcing is a highly important issue in US international tax law. In this article, I will explain the concept of business service income sourcing and discuss the general rules that apply to it. Please, note that this is a discussion of general rules only; there are important complications with respect to the application of these rules.

What is Business Service Income Sourcing?

Business service income sourcing refers to the classification of income derived from services rendered by a business entity as “domestic” or “foreign”. In other words, if a corporation performs services for another business entity or individual, should it be considered US-source income or foreign-source income?

Importance of Business Service Income Sourcing

The importance of business service income sourcing cannot be overstated. With respect to foreign businesses, these income sourcing rules determine whether the income derived from these services will be subject to US taxation or not. For US business entities, the sourcing of income will be a key factor in their ability to utilize foreign tax credit.

Moreover, in light of the 2017 tax reform, the sourcing rules are now important for qualification of various benefits that the new tax laws offer to US corporations.

Business Service Income Sourcing: General Rule

Now that we understand the importance of the business services income sourcing rules, we are ready to explore the General Rule that applies in these situations. Generally, the services are sourced to the country where the services are performed.

In other words, if the services are performed in the United States, then, the income generated by these services is considered US-source income. If the services are performed outside of the United States, then, the income is considered foreign-source income.

Business Service Income Sourcing: Services Performed Partially in the United States and Partially Outside of the United States

The general rule is clear, but what happens if services were only partially performed in the United States? Here, we are now getting into practical complications and we have to look at the Treasury Regulations.

The Regulations begin with the general proposition that the sourcing of income from services rendered by a corporation, partnership, or trust, should be “on the basis that most correctly reflects the proper source of the income under the facts and circumstances of the particular case.” Treas. Reg. §1.861-4(b)(1)(i). This is the so-called “facts and circumstances test”.

Then, the Regulations clarify that usually “the facts and circumstances will be such that an apportionment on the time basis, as defined in paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(E) of this section, will be acceptable.” Id. In other words, the Time Basis Allocation will be the default method for business service income sourcing, but it is possible to use other tests where it is reasonable to do so.

Curiously, the Regulations provide only one example of business service income allocation that involves a corporation, and this example does not utilize the Time Basis Allocation method.

Business Service Income Sourcing: Time Basis Allocation

The Time Basis Allocation method offers two ways to source income: the “number of days” allocation and the “time periods” allocation. Under the “number of days” variation, the business entity adds together the number of days worked by its employees who worked in the United States and the number of days they worked in a foreign country, figures out the percentages for each country and sources the income according to the percentage allocation. See Treas. Reg. §1.861-4(b)(2)(ii)(F).

Under the “time periods” variation, a tax year is split into distinct time periods: one where the employees of a business entity spent all of their time in the United States and one where they spent all of their time in a foreign country. The compensation paid in the first period is allocated entirely to the United States, whereas the proceeds paid in the second time period is considered to be foreign-source income. Id.

The Time Basis Allocation methodology works better for specific employees rather than a business entity as a whole, particularly the “time periods” variation. Often, a business entity would have its employees working at the same time in the United States and outside of the United States making it very difficult to use the “time periods” allocation. Even the “number of days” allocation becomes fairly complex if one has a large number of employees working back and forth between the countries.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With Your Business Service Income Sourcing

Sherayzen Law Office is a premier US international tax law firm that helps businesses and individuals with their US international tax compliance, including business service income sourcing. If you have employees who work in the United States and overseas, you need the professional help from our law firm.

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FACC Seminar (French-American Chamber of Commerce Seminar) | News

On October 19, 2017, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, an owner of Sherayzen Law Office and a highly experienced international tax attorney, conducted a seminar titled “Introduction to U.S. International Tax Compliance for U.S. Owners of Foreign Businesses” at the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Minneapolis, Minnesota (the “FACC Seminar”). The audience of the FACC Seminar consisted of business lawyers and business owners.

The FACC Seminar commenced with the breakdown of the title of the seminar into various parts. Mr. Sherayzen first analyzed the tax definition of “owner” and contrasted it with the legal definition of owner. Then, he identified who is considered to be a “U.S. owner” under the U.S. international tax law.

During the second part of the FACC Seminar, Mr. Sherayzen discussed the definition of “foreign” (i.e. foreign business) and the definition of the concept of “business”, contrasting it with a foreign trust. At this point, the tax attorney also acquainted the attendees with the differences between the common-law and the civil-law definitions of partnership.

Then, the focus of the FACC Seminar shifted to the discussion of the U.S. international tax requirements. The tax attorney stated that he would discuss four major categories of U.S. international tax requirements: (1) U.S. tax reporting requirements related to ownership of a foreign business; (2) U.S. owner’s tax reporting requirements related to assets owned by a foreign business; (3) U.S. tax reporting requirements related to transactions between a foreign business and its U.S. owners; and (4) income recognition as a result of anti-deferral regimes.

Mr. Sherayzen first discussed the U.S. tax reporting requirement related to the ownership of a foreign business. In particular, he covered Forms 5471, 8865 and 8858. The tax attorney also introduced the catch-all Form 8938. In this context, he also explained the second category of U.S. international tax requirements concerning the assets owned by a foreign business.

The next part of the FACC Seminar was devoted to the U.S. tax reporting requirements concerning transactions between a foreign business and its U.S. owners. Mr. Sherayzen explained in detail Form 926 and Schedule O of Form 8865, including the noncompliance penalties associated with these forms. The tax attorney also quickly reviewed Form 8886 for participating in transactions related to tax shelters. The discussion of the complex penalty system of Form 8886 surprised the audience.

The last part of the FACC Seminar was devoted to the income tax recognition and other U.S. tax reporting requirements that arise by the operation of anti-deferral regimes. Both, the Subpart F and the PFIC regimes were covered by the tax attorney.

Israeli IT Tax Breaks | Minnesota International Tax Lawyer and Attorney

Israel continues to solidify its leading positions in the IT market by using tax policy. On January 1, 2017, Amendment 73 to the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investments of 1959 entered into force. The main goal of the Amendment is to clarify, extend and improve the Israeli tax breaks for IT companies operating in Israel. Let’s review some of the most important of these Israeli IT tax breaks.

Israeli IT Tax Breaks: Preferred Technological Taxable Income Tax Rates

Starting year 2017, Israel will have three levels of taxation of what is termed as “preferred technological taxable income” (PTTI) of certain companies, referred to as “preferred enterprises” (PE). The tax rates will be as follows: 12% default rate, $7.5% development area A (special Israeli designation for certain areas) and just 6% in the case of a special preferred technological enterprise (SPTE). All of these rates compare favorably to the standard business tax rate in Israel of 24% (which was also lowered as of January 1, 2017 from 25%).

There is an important exception – R&D centers will not be entitled to a reduced corporate tax rate if the controlling shareholders or the beneficiaries are Israeli residents. Control here can be direct or indirect and it is defined as an entitlement to 25% or more of the income or profits of the R&D center.

Israeli IT Tax Breaks: IT Company Owners Dividend Tax Rates

The owners of IT companies get another tax break in the form of dividend withholding rates. Generally, the tax withholding rate for dividends paid to an owner of an IT company will be 20% (subject to any applicable tax treaty). However, the rate goes down to a mere 4% if the dividend is distributed to at least a 90% foreign resident corporate shareholder.

Again, these rate are below the general tax withholding rate of 30-33% for dividends paid out to shareholders who own at least 10% of the company.

Israeli IT Tax Breaks: Certain Capital Gains

The Israeli IT tax breaks also expand to capital gains in certain limited situations. Israeli IT companies that sell IP to a related foreign company will qualify for a reduced 6% capital gains tax rate, but only if the Israeli company developed or acquired the IP from a foreign company after January 1, 2017. Such sales are subject to the approval of the National Authority for Technological Innovation.

A Combined Effort of US and Israeli Lawyers Needed to Properly Plan A US Company’s Expansion to Israel

All of the tax law changes that I mentioned above are described here in a very general manner. There are very specific qualifications that need to be satisfied by a company in order to qualify for the Israeli IT Tax Breaks. This is why a US company will need to contact a specialized Israeli tax attorney to properly plan the expansion of its IT business to Israel.

At the same time, however, the work of the Israeli tax attorney should be coordinated with proper US tax planning, because US companies are taxed on their worldwide income and may potentially even be taxed on the income of their foreign subsidiaries. Therefore, the tax planning efforts of an Israeli tax attorney should be combined with those of a US tax attorney in order to produce a tax plan that will function properly in both jurisdictions at the same time.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Your Business Tax Planning

If you wish to expand your business overseas, you need to contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional US business tax planning. Additionally, we can also help you with your US annual compliance with respect to your foreign assets and foreign income.

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Consultation!

Importance of Outbound Business Tax Planning | International Tax Attorney

Outbound business tax planning should form part of every outbound business transaction, whether it is in technology transfers, export of goods or an investment overseas. In this article, I would like to discuss the main goal of the outbound business tax planning and identify the overall “global” (i.e. looking at the entire genre of outbound transactions) strategies which are utilized to achieve this goal.

The Main Purpose of the Outbound Business Tax Planning

The main goal of the outbound business tax planning is not difficult to discern – legal reduction of tax burden and, thereby, maximization of profits. What is important to understand is that the outbound business tax planning seeks to optimize the after-tax financial return from a transaction by reducing the taxes paid. It is not concerned so much with the pre-tax business details of the outbound transaction (although, these details may play a very important role in tax planning, but as a strategy and not a goal).

In other words, instead of treating taxes as just another cost of doing business, a business can significantly increase its real return from an outbound transaction through careful business tax planning.

Three Global Strategies to Achieve the Main Goal of the Outbound Business Tax Planning

How can the goal of after-tax financial return be achieved? There are three main strategies that can be utilized by an international tax attorney. The first strategy is to avoid the existence of any taxing jurisdiction in the destination country (i.e. the foreign country that is the object of the outbound business transaction). In other words, the transaction is structured in such a way as to avoid (or, at least, significantly reduce) the taxation of profits overseas.

The second strategy is to postpone for a significant period of time the US taxation of foreign profits until these profits are repatriated into the United States. Since US businesses are taxed on their worldwide income, the focus of this strategy is on deferral of US income tax, rather than its complete avoidance. The economic benefits of such deferral can be very significant, because the profits can be either reinvested tax-free, accumulate interest (also tax-free) or serve as a collateral for borrowing in the United States.

What happens if the income taxation in the destination country cannot be avoided? Does the outbound business tax planning have anything to offer in this case?

The answer is yes – the prevention of significant double-taxation of foreign income in the United States. This is the third main strategy of the outbound business tax planning. A prominent example of such strategy is the utilization of foreign tax credit to offset US tax liability.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help with Your Outbound Business Tax Planning

If you are planning to expand your business overseas, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We will thoroughly analyze your planned business transaction, create a tax plan for you and implement it. Moreover, our firm will also provide you with the annual US tax compliance support with respect to US tax compliance requirements that may arise as a result of the tax plan (such as Form 5471 or 8865 compliance).

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!