On January 28, 2021, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, an international tax attorney and founder of Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd., co-presented with a business lawyer a seminar titled “Investing in US Businesses by Foreign Persons – Common Business and Tax Considerations” (the “Inbound Transactions Seminar”). The Inbound Transactions Seminar was sponsored by the International Business Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the seminar was conducted online.
Mr. Sherayzen began his part of the Inbound Transactions Seminar with an explanation of the term “inbound transactions” and how it differs from “outbound transactions”. He then laid out a flowchart which represented the entire analytical tax framework for inbound transactions; the tax attorney warned the audience that, due to time restraints, the breadth of the subject matter only allowed him to generally highlight the most important parts of this framework.
Then, Mr. Sherayzen proceeded with an explanation of each main issue listed on the inbound transactions tax framework flowchart. First, he discussed the explanation of the concept of a US person and how it related to the flowcharted. The international tax attorney provided definitions for all four categories of US persons: individuals, business entities (corporations and partnerships), trusts and estates.
Then, Mr. Sherayzen focused on the second part of the flowchart – US income sourcing rules. After the general explanation of the significance of the income sourcing rules, the international tax attorney discussed in general terms the application of these rules to specific types of income: interest, dividends, rents, royalties, sales of personal property, sales of inventory, sales of real estate and income from services. Despite the time limitations, he was even able to provide a few examples of some of the most paradoxical outcomes of some of the US source-of-income rules.
The third part of the Inbound Transactions Seminar was devoted to the definition of “US trade or business activities”, an important tax term. Mr. Sherayzen provided a general definition and gave some specific examples, warning the audience that this is a highly fact-dependent issue.
In the next two parts of the seminar, the international tax attorney explained one of the most important terms in US taxation – ECI or Effectively Connected Income. Mr. Sherayzen not only went over all three ECI income categories but he also explained how ECI should be taxed. He also mentioned the affect of specific tax regimes (such as BEAT and branch taxes) on the taxation of ECI.
After finishing the left side of the flowchart (the part that was devoted to the analysis of the ECI of US trade and business activities), Mr. Sherayzen switched to the explanation of inbound transactions that do not involve US trade or business activities. In this last part of his presentation, the international tax attorney discussed the definition of FDAP income and the potential Internal Revenue Code and treaty exemptions from US taxation.
While the ongoing pandemic currently limits the number of options for conducting seminars, Mr. Sherayzen already plans future talks in 2021 on the subjects of US international tax compliance and US international tax planning.