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Tax Residency Starting Date | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

In situations where a person was not classified as a resident alien at any time in the preceding calendar year and he became a resident alien at some point during current year, a question often arises concerning the tax residency starting date of such a person. This article seeks to provide a succinct overview of this question in three different contexts: US permanent residence, substantial presence test and election to be treated as a tax resident.

Tax Residency Starting Date: General Rule for Green Card Holders

Pursuant to IRC (Internal Revenue Code) §7701(b)(2)(A)(iii), the starting tax residency date for green card holders is the first day in the calendar year in which he or she is physically present in the United States while holding a permanent residence visa.  However, if the green card holder also satisfies the Substantial Presence Test prior to obtaining his green card, the tax residency is the earliest of either the green card test described in the previous sentence or the substantial presence test (see below).

Tax Residency Starting Date: General Rule for the Substantial Presence Test

Generally, under the substantial presence test, the tax residence of an alien starts on the first day of his physical presence in the United States in the year he met the substantial presence test. See IRC §7701(b)(2)(A)(iii).  For example, if an alien meets the requirements of the Substantial presence test in 2022 and his first day of physical presence in the United States was March 1, 2022, then his US tax residency started on March 1, 2022.

Tax Residency Starting Date: Nominal Presence Exception & the Substantial Presence Test

A reader may ask: how does the rule described above work in case of a “nominal presence” in the United States. IRC §7701(b)(2)(C) provides that, for the purposes of determining the residency starting date only, up to ten (10) days of presence in the United States may be disregarded, but only if the alien is able to establish that he had a “closer connection” to a foreign country rather than to the United States on each of those particular ten days (i.e., all continuous days during a visit to the United States may be excluded or none of them). There is some doubt about the validity of this rule, but it has never been contested in court as of the time of this writing.

This rule may lead to a paradoxical result.  For example, if X visits the United States between March 1 and March 10 and leaves on March 10; then later comes back to the United States on May 1 of the same year and meets the substantial presence test, then he may exclude the first ten days in March and his US tax residency will start on May 1.  If, however, X prolongs his visit and leaves on March 12, then none of the days will be excluded (since March 11 and 12 cannot be excluded under the rules) and his US tax residency will commence on March 1.

I want to emphasize that the nominal presence exception only applies in determining an alien’s residency starting date. It is completely irrelevant to the determination of whether a taxpayer met the Substantial Presence Test; i.e. the days excluded under the nominal presence exception are still counted toward the Substantial Presence Test calculation.

Tax Residency Starting Date: Additional Requirements for Nominal Presence Exception & Penalty for Noncompliance

The IRS has imposed two additional requirements concerning claiming “nominal presence” exclusion (again, both of them have questionable validity as there is nothing in the statutory language about them).  First, the alien must show that he had a “tax home” in the same foreign country with which he has a closer connection.

Second, Treas. Regs. §301.7701(b)-8(b)(3) requires that an alien who claims the nominal presence exception must file a statement with the IRS as well as attach such statement to his federal tax return for the year in which the termination is requested. The statement must be dated, signed, include a penalty of perjury clause and contain: (a) the first day and last day the alien was present in the United States and the days for which the exemption is being claimed; and (b) sufficient facts to establish that the alien has maintained his/her tax home in and a closer connection to a foreign country during the claimed period. Id.

A failure to file this statement may result in an imposition of a substantial penalty: a complete disallowance of the nominal presence exclusion claim.  Since IRC §7701(b)(8) does not contain the requirement to file any statements with the IRS to claim the nominal presence exception, the penalty stands on shaky legal grounds.  However, as of the time of this writing, there is no case law directly on point.

Additionally, as almost always in US international tax law, there are exceptions to this rule.  First, if the alien shows by clear and convincing evidence that he took: (a) “reasonable actions” to educate himself about the requirement to properly file the statement and (b) “significant affirmative actions” to comply with this requirement, then the IRS may still allow the nominal presence exclusion claim to proceed. Treas. Regs. 301.7701(b)-8(d)

Second, under Treas. Regs. §301.7701(b)-8(e), the IRS has the discretion to ignore the taxpayer’s failure to file the required nominal presence statement if it is in the best interest of the United States to do so.

Tax Residency Starting Date: Election to Be Treated as a US Tax Resident

In situations where a resident alien elects to be treated as a US tax resident (for example, by filing a joint resident US tax return with his spouse), the tax residency date starts on the first day of the year for which election is made.  See Treas. Regs. §7701(b)(2)(A)(iv).

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help with US International Tax Law, Including the Determination of the Tax Residency Starting Date

If you have foreign assets or foreign income or if you are trying to determine your tax residency status in the United States, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help.  Our law firm is a leader in US international tax compliance; we have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

2022 2Q IRS Interest Rates | US International Tax Lawyers

On February 23, 2022, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced that the 2022 Second Quarter IRS underpayment and overpayment interest rates (“2022 2Q IRS Interest Rates”) will increase from the first quarter of 2022. This means that, the 2022 2Q IRS interest rates will be as follows:

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

The second quarter will start on April 1, 2022.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, these interest rates are determined on a quarterly basis. The IRS used the federal short-term rate for February of 2022 to determine the 2022 2Q IRS interest rates. The IRS interest is compounded on a daily basis.

The 2022 2Q IRS interest rates are important for many reasons for US domestic and international tax purposes. For example, the IRS will use these rates to determine how much interest a taxpayer needs to pay on an additional tax liability that arose as a result of an amendment of his US tax return through Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures and Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures. The IRS will also utilize 2022 2Q IRS interest rates with respect to the calculation of PFIC interest on Section 1291 tax.

As an international tax law firm, Sherayzen Law Office keeps track of the IRS underpayment and overpayment interest rates on a regular basis. Since our specialty is offshore voluntary disclosures, we often amend our client’s tax returns as part of an offshore voluntary disclosure process and calculate the interest owed on any additional US tax liability. In other words these interest rates are relevant to Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures, Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures, IRS Voluntary Disclosure Practice, Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures and Reasonable Cause Disclosures. We also need to take interest payments into account with respect to additional tax liability that arises out of an IRS audit.

Moreover, we regularly have to do PFIC calculations for our clients under the default IRC Section 1291 methodology. This calculation requires the usage of the IRS underpayment interest rates in order to determine the amount of PFIC interest on the IRC Section 1291 tax.

Finally, it is important to point out that the IRS will use the 2022 2Q IRS interest rates to determine the amount of interest that needs to be paid to a taxpayer who is due a tax refund as a result of an IRS audit or amendment of the taxpayer’s US tax return. This situation may also often arise in the context of offshore voluntary disclosures.

Thus, the IRS underpayment and overpayment interest rates have an impact on a lot of basic items in US tax law. Hence, it is important to keep track of changes in these rates on a quarterly basis.

Austin Business Trip | February 2022 | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

In early February of 2022, Mr. Sherayzen, an international tax attorney and owner of Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd., traveled to Austin, Texas. Let’s discuss this Austin business trip in more detail.

Austin Business Trip: Goals

While the business trip to Austin was very short, Mr. Sherayzen set forth three main goals for the trip: (1) meeting with a client; (2) familiarizing himself with the city, which is a major source of clients to the firm; and (3) conducting important marketing activities to promote the firm.

All of these goals were accomplished (though #2 may still need more work) despite the fact that he came to Austin at the worst possible moment – right after a winter storm when the temperatures plummeted to the twenties (Fahrenheit) from the usual upper fifties/lower sixties and there was still ice on the roads.

Austin Business Trip: Client Meeting

The first goal was very easy to achieve as the meeting with a client was set prior to his arrival to Austin.

Austin Business Trip: Getting to Know Austin

The weather and the brevity of the Austin business trip presented a formidable challenge to the second goal. Despite these problems, Mr. Sherayzen was able to familiarize himself with the old-city Austin. Even more important, he was able to visit the IRS campus in Austin that processes streamlined disclosures: Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures and Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures. Both of these options are known as Streamlined Compliance Procedures.

Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures and Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures belong to the core practice of Sherayzen Law Office. This is why visiting the Austin IRS campus was an indispensable part of the Mr. Sherayzen’s trip to this city.

One may ask: why does Mr. Sherayzen want to know Austin in person? The answer is very simple: he wants to understand how his clients live, what their particular needs are, what logistical problems they may be facing and what are the peculiarities of their everyday life. At Sherayzen Law Office, we take an extra step in delivering customized services to our clients; for this reason, we strive to understand not only the financial situation of our clients, but also their logistics.

Austin Business Trip: Marketing

Marketing is Mr. Sherayzen’s crucial goal in almost every business trip. Nothing can replace the authenticity of marketing materials made in the city where the client lives. For this reason, more than two-thirds of his trip to Austin was devoted to marketing activities.

Given the presence of an IRS campus in Austin, offshore voluntary disclosures of course constituted the focus of these marketing activities. Besides Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures and Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures, Mr. Sherayzen also covered IRS Voluntary Disclosure Practice and other voluntary disclosure options.

Additionally, as always, Mr. Sherayzen promoted the awareness of the FBAR and FATCA reporting requirements in his marketing activities. The attorney also covered important US international tax information returns such as: Forms 8865, 5471, 3520, 3520-A, et cetera.

Austin Business Trip is Part of a Major Marketing Strategy

The Austin business trip is merely one part of a major marketing strategy that Sherayzen Law Office launched last year. It is projected that this strategy will run through the end of the year 2027.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Your Offshore Voluntary Disclosure and US International Tax Compliance

Sherayzen Law Office is an international tax law firm that specializes in US international tax compliance and offshore voluntary disclosures. We help clients with their US international tax compliance issues throughout the world, including in all fifty states of the United States.

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Subsidiary vs. Branch | International Business Tax Lawyer Minneapolis

For the purposes of US international tax laws, it is very important to distinguish a subsidiary from a branch. Let’s define both terms in this short essay.

Subsidiary vs. Branch: Definition of a Branch

A branch is a direct form of doing business by a corporation in another country where the corporation retains the direct title of the assets used in the branch’s business. In other words, a branch is a direct extension of the corporation to another country.

Most importantly, there is no separate legal identity between a corporation’s branch in one country and its head office in another. It is all the same company doing business in two countries.

One of the practical advantages of a branch is that it usually requires a lot less effort to establish a branch than a subsidiary. However, it is not always the case – for example, in Kazakhstan, creation of a branch is a very formal process. Moreover, while the legal formalities may not be that complicated, the tax consequences of having a branch in another country may be far more complex.

Subsidiary vs. Branch: Definition of a Subsidiary

A subsidiary is a complete opposite of a branch. It is a separately-chartered foreign corporation owned by a US parent corporation. In other words, a subsidiary has its own legal identity separate from that of its parent US corporation. In the eyes of a local jurisdiction, the US corporation is merely a shareholder of its foreign subsidiary; the US corporation is not directly doing any business in the foreign jurisdiction.

Of course, a situation can be reversed: it can be a foreign parent corporation that organizes a US subsidiary. In this case, the foreign parent company will have its separate identity from its US subsidiary. It will be merely a shareholder of the US company in the eyes of the IRS.

As a separate legal entity, subsidiaries will usually have a host of legal and tax duties in the jurisdiction where they are organized.

Subsidiary vs. Branch: Forced Tax Similarities

Despite these legal differences, the US tax treatment of a subsidiary and a branch created some artificial similarities between these two forms of business. The reason for these similarities is the huge potential for tax deferral through subsidiaries.

The basic trend here is to minimize the advantages of a separate legal identity of a subsidiary, making it a lot more similar to a branch when it comes to tax treatment. The IRS has achieved this through the usage of a number of anti-deferral regimes, such as Subpart F rules and GILTI tax, as well as transfer pricing rules.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office to Determine Whether a Branch or a Subsidiary is Best for Your Business

Whether you are a US business entity who wishes to do business overseas or a foreign entity that wishes to do business in the United States, you can contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We have helped domestic and foreign businesses with their US international tax planning concerning their inbound and outbound transactions, and we can help you!

Foreign Partnership Definition | International Business Tax Lawyers

Defining a partnership as “foreign” or “domestic” can be highly important for US tax purposes. In this article, I will explain the foreign partnership definition and explain its significance.

Foreign Partnership Definition: Importance

There may be important US international tax law consequences that stem from whether a partnership is classified as “foreign” or “domestic”. These consequences may encompass not only income tax compliance, but also the type of information returns that may have to be filed. Even tax withholding requirements may be affected by this classification.

Let me give you a few examples of where foreign partnership directly appears in the IRC (Internal Revenue Code) in order for you to appreciate the significance of the foreign partnership definition. The term foreign partnership appears in such diverse provisions as IRC §6046A (filing of information returns by U.S. persons with regard to acquisition, disposition, or substantial change of interest in foreign partnership – this is the famous IRS Form 8865), §3401(d)(2) (wage withholding), §168(h)(5) (tax-exempt entity leasing rules) and even tax withholding rules for disposition of US real property under §1445.

The main reason for this significance of the foreign partnership definition lies in §7701(a)(30), which states that a foreign partnership is not a “US Person”, a highly important term of art in US international tax law. The implications of being a “foreign person” rather than a “US person” can be huge, extending as far as affecting anti-deferral tax regimes.

Foreign Partnership Definition: Formal Partnership

Let’s delve now into the foreign partnership definition. Our starting point is §7701(a)(5); it states that a partnership is considered to be foreign as long as it is “not domestic”. §7701(a)(4) defines domestic partnership as those which were “created or organized in the United States, or under the law of the United States or of any State.”

Under §7701(a)(9), the term “United States” includes only the states and the District of Columbia. In other words, if a partnership is formally organized in any place other than the fifty states of the United States and the District of Columbia, it is a foreign partnership.

What about partnerships created or organized in US possessions? The IRS and the courts have consistently stated that they are foreign (though there are more examples of these rulings with respect to corporations rather than partnerships).

What if a partnership is chartered both in the United States and another country? Without delving too deeply into legal analysis, pursuant to Treas. Reg. §301.7701-5(a), such a partnership would be classified as a domestic entity

Foreign Partnership Definition: Common Law/Private Agreement Partnerships

The above definition only works well in cases where a partnership is formally created or organized under the laws of a country. However, it is also possible for the IRS to classify a contractual relationship as a partnership for tax purposes. In these cases, the determination of whether a partnership is a foreign or domestic for US international tax purposes is a lot more difficult.

At this point, there is no absolute clarity provided by the IRS on this issue. However, there are two main approaches for determining whether a deemed partnership is domestic or foreign that may be acceptable to the IRS: (1) the contract’s governing law; and (2) primary location of the business of the deemed partnership. Let’s review these approaches.

Foreign Partnership Definition for Deemed Partnerships: Governing Law Approach

The governing law approach to classification of partnerships as foreign or domestic states that a partnership should be classified as foreign or domestic depending on the governing law which controls the agreement that gave rise to the deemed partnership.

The IRS often likes this approach, because it pretty much mimics the foreign partnership definition for formal partnerships described above. In other words, while in a formal partnership we look at the place of organization, the governing law approach for deemed partnerships basically looks at the jurisdiction which controls the legal enforcement of the partnership agreement. Both approaches are based on the premise that the foreign partnership definition should depend on whether the partners’ rights and duties are defined under domestic or foreign law.

Foreign Partnership Definition for Deemed Partnerships: Business Location Approach

The primary location of business approach, on the other hand, seeks to classify a deemed partnership not based on where the partners’ rights and duties are defined, but based on where the business of the partnership is actually conducted. The advantage of this approach is that it is closer to business reality and does not artificially classify a partnership based on which law governs it.

There are, however, problems with this approach which make the IRS like it a lot less. First of all, it is very difficult to apply this approach to a partnership with extensive business operations within and outside of the United States. Second, the classification of the same partnership may often switch depending on the shift in the volume of its US operations versus foreign operations.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With Foreign Partnership Definition

If you are unclear about the classification of your partnership for US tax purposes or you wish to change the existing classification for US tax planning purposes, contact the US international tax law firm of Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We Can Help You!