international tax lawyer minnesota

2019 Tax Filing Season for Individual Filers Opens on January 27 2020

On January 6, 2020, the IRS announced that the 2019 tax filing season will commence on Monday, January 27, 2020. In other words, on that date, the IRS will begin accepting and processing the 2019 tax returns.

This year the deadline for the filing of the 2019 tax returns as well as any payment of taxes owed is April 15, 2020. The IRS expects that individual taxpayers will file more than 150 million tax returns for the tax year 2019; the vast majority of them should come in prior to the April deadline.

This is not the case, however, for US taxpayers with exposure to international tax requirements. Usually, most of these taxpayers file extensions in order to properly prepare all of the required international information returns by the extended deadline in October. Often, such tax filing extensions are necessary in order to obtain the necessary information from foreign countries which may operate on a fiscal year rather than a calendar year. However, even in such cases, taxpayers are expected to pay at least 90% of the tax owed by April 15, 2020.

Moreover, it should be mentioned that taxpayers who reside overseas receive an automatic tax filing extension. For such taxpayers, the 2019 tax filing season will commence also on January 27, 2020, but their tax return filing deadline is June 15, 2020.

The IRS is certain that it will be ready for the 2019 tax filing season by January 27, 2020. In other words, the agency believes that it will not only be able to process the returns smoothly, but all of its security systems will be operational by that date. The IRS also believes that, by January 27, 2020, it will address the potential impact of recent tax legislation on 2019 tax returns

The IRS encourages everyone to e-file their 2019 tax returns. This, however, is not always possible for US taxpayers who have to file international information returns due to software limitations.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Your 2019 Tax Filing Season If You Have To Comply With US International Tax Filing Requirements

Sherayzen Law Office helps US and foreign persons with their US international tax compliance requirements, including the filing of all required international information returns such as FBAR, FATCA Form 8938, Form 3520, Form 3520-A, Form 5471, Form 8865, Form 8858, Form 926 and other relevant forms.

With respect to taxpayers who have not been in full compliance with these requirements in the past, Sherayzen Law Office helps you to choose, prepare and file the relevant offshore voluntary disclosure option, including Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures, Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures, Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures, Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures, Reasonable Cause Noisy Disclosures and Modified IRS Traditional Voluntary Disclosures.

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

§267 Entity-to-Member Attribution | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

In a previous article, I introduced the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §267 constructive ownership rules. Today, I would like to focus specifically on the §267 entity-to-member attribution rule.

§267 Entity-to-Member Attribution: General Rule

§267(c)(1) describes the §267 entity-to-member attribution rule. It states that stocks owned by a corporation, partnership, estate or trust will be treated as owned proportionately by its shareholders, partners, or beneficiaries.

Let’s use an example to explain §267(c)(1). Let’s imagine that Peter and Mary (both US citizens who are not family members within the meaning of §267(c)(4)) own 70% and 30% respectively of shares of X, a C-corporation organized in South Dakota. X owns 100% of shares of N, a Nevada C-corporation.

In this situation, under §267(c)(1), Peter and Mary constructively own 70% and 30% of shares of N. Hence, pursuant to §267(b)(2), Peter is considered to be a related person with respect to X and N corporations due to actual constructive ownership of 70% of shares of both corporations (since this is higher than the 50%-of-value threshold demanded by §267(b)(2)).

Also, note that X and N are related persons, because, pursuant to §267(b)(3), they are members of the same controlled group. §267(b)(3) relies on §267(f) for the definition of the “controlled group”; §267(f), in turn, mostly adopts §1563 definition of controlled group (the main difference is that §267(f) reduces the required level of ownership to more than 50% of voting power and value of the stock as opposed to more than 80% demanded by §1563).

§267 Entity-to-Member Attribution: How Stock is Attributed

The §267(c)(1) is a downstream attribution rule. This means that the attribution of stock flows only in one direction – from entity to the shareholder, partner or beneficiary. There is no “upstream attribution” from shareholder, partner, or beneficiary to the corporation, partnership, estate or trust. Note that this differs from the attribution rules for many corporate transactions governed by §318.

Section 267(c)(1) fails to specify the manner in which attributed stock ownership should be apportioned. The most convincing authority for the apportionment of attributed stocks can be found in case law, particularly Hickman v. Commissioner, 30 T.C. Memo 1972-208. In that case, the Tax Court determined that stock would be attributed from a trust to its beneficiaries proportionately based on the fair market value without any discount for indirect ownership. Actuarial value apportionment was also rejected.

§267 Entity-to-Member Attribution: Chain Ownership

It is important to understand that stock constructively owned by a shareholder, partner, or beneficiary pursuant to §267(c)(1) is treated as actually owned for the purposes of further attribution. In other words, the constructive ownership of a shareholder, partner or beneficiary may be further attributed to others. Moreover, such attribution does not have to be under §267(c)(1); rather, any other attribution category can be used (for example, family member stock attribution).

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With US Tax Law

US tax law is extremely complex. An ordinary person will simply get lost in this labyrinth of tax rules, exceptions and requirements. Once you get into trouble with US tax law, it is much more difficult and expensive to extricate yourself from it due to high IRS penalties.

This is why it is important to contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with US tax law as soon as possible. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to successfully resolve their US tax compliance and US tax planning issues. We can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

SLO’s 2017 Seminar on Business Lawyers’ International Tax Mistakes

On February 23, 2017, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, an international tax lawyer and owner of Sherayzen Law Office (“SLO”), conducted a seminar titled “Top 5 International Tax Mistakes Made by Business Lawyers”. The seminar was sponsored by the Corporate Counsel Section and International Business Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Mr. Sherayzen commenced the seminar by asking a question about why business lawyers should be concerned with making international tax mistakes. After identifying the main answers, the tax attorney stated that he would focus on the strategic mistakes, rather than any specific U.S. international tax requirements.

Mr. Sherayzen first discussed the Business Purity Trap, a situation where business lawyers view a business transaction as something exclusively within the business law domain and with no relation whatsoever to U.S. tax law. The tax attorney stated that all business transactions have tax consequences, even if the effect is not immediate and there is no actual income tax impact.

Then, Mr. Sherayzen discussed the Tax Dabble Trap. This trap describes a situation where a business lawyer attempts to provide an advice on an international tax issue. The tax attorney explained why business lawyers often fall into this trap and the potentially disastrous consequences this trap may have for the business lawyers’ clients.

The Tax Law Uniformity Trap was the third trap discussed by the tax attorney. One of the most common international tax mistakes that business lawyers (and also many accountants) make is to believe that U.S. domestic tax law and U.S. international tax law are similar. Mr. Sherayzen also pointed out that there is a variation on this trap with respect to foreign owners of U.S. entities.

The discussion of the fourth trap, the Tax Professional Equality Trap, turned out be very fruitful. Mr. Sherayzen drew a sharp distinction between the role played by a general accountant versus the role of an international tax attorney. He also specifically focused on the potentially disastrous consequences the reliance on a domestic accountant may have in the context of offshore voluntary disclosures.

Finally, Mr. Sherayzen discussed the Foreign Exceptionalism Trap. This trap deals with a false belief that certain foreign transactions that occur completely outside of the United States have no tax consequences for the U.S. clients involved in these transactions. Mr. Sherayzen also pointed out that danger of relying solely on foreign accountants and lawyers in this context.

He concluded the seminar with a short examination of another “bonus” tax trap called the Linguistic Uniformity Trap. The description of all tax traps was accompanied by real-life examples from Mr. Sherayzen’s international tax law practice.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional U.S. International Tax Advice to Avoid Costly International Tax Mistakes

If you are a business lawyer who deals with international business transactions or transactions involving tax residents of a foreign country, please contact Sherayzen Law Office to avoid costly international tax mistakes. Our law firm has worked with many business lawyers, helping them to properly structure international business transactions in a way that avoids making international tax mistakes. Remember, it is much easier and cheaper to avoid making international tax mistakes than fixing them later.

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Taxation of Royalties Ceases Under Estonia-UK Tax Treaty | MN Tax Lawyer

On January 18, 2017, the HM Revenue & Customs announced that the withholding tax on royalties under the 1994 Estonia-UK tax treaty has been eliminated retroactively as of October 16, 2015.

Under the original Estonia-UK tax treaty, the rates had been 5 percent for industrial, commercial, and scientific equipment royalties and 10 percent in other cases. However, paragraph 7 of the Exchange Notes to the Treaty contains the Most Favoured Nation” (MFN) provision relating to royalties (Article 12). Under the MFN provision, UK tax residents only need to pay the lowest tax withholding rate ever agreed by Estonia in a Double-Taxation Treaty (DTA) it later agrees with an OECD member country that was a member when the UK-Estonia tax treaty was signed in 1994.

It turns that Switzerland was an OECD member country in 1994. In 2002, Estonia signed a tax treaty with Switzerland, but the treaty did not impact the UK withholding tax rate at that time. In 2014, however, Estonia and Switzerland signed an amending protocal to the 2002 Estonia-Switzerland tax treaty. Under the protocol, the treaty was revised to provide for only resident state taxation of royalties.

It was this provision in the 2014 protocol to the Estonia-Switzerland tax treaty that triggered the 1994 MFN provision of the Estonia-UK tax treaty. Therefore, when the 2014 protocol entered into force on October 16, 2015, it effectively eliminated tax withholding on royalties not only in Switzerland (wth respect to Estonia), but also in the United Kingdom. While the taxation of royalties under the Estonia-UK tax treaty ceased on October 16, 2015, the HM Revenue & Customs waited for more than a year to announce it on January 18, 2017.

It should be pointed out that MFN provisions, such as the one in Estonia-UK tax treaty, quite often have an important impact throughout the treaty network of a country. This ripple effect of the MFN provisions creates enormous opportunities for international tax planning that is often utilized by international tax lawyers, including US international tax law firms such as Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd.

IRS 2016 Standard Mileage Rates for Business, Medical and Moving

On December 17, 2015, the IRS issued its 2016 standard mileage rates to calculate deductible automobile operation costs for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

The 2016 standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

54 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 57.5 cents for 2015
19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 23 cents for 2015
14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

These 2016 standard mileage rates are effective January 1, 2016 and they are optional; taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

There are some circumstances where a taxpayer cannot use the business standard mileage rate. These exceptions include where a vehicle is depreciated using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. Furthermore, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

The 2016 Standard Mileage Rates apply to the vehicles that the taxpayers own or lease (though, there may be additional complications if the vehicle is leased). In addition to standard mileage rates, taxpayers may also deduct, as separate items: parking fees and tolls attributable to the use of a car for business purposes; interest related to the business purchase of a car; state and local personal property taxes (to the extent allowed by IRC Sections 163 and 164).

Parking fees and tools are also available for deduction, as separate items, for the use of a car for charitable, medical, or moving expense purposes. The interest related to the purchase of a car and state/local property taxes are not deductible as charitable, medical or moving expenses; however, they may be deducted as separate items to the extent allowed by IRC Sections 163 and 164.

IRS Notice 2016-01 contains the 2016 standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.