On June 9, 2017, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, an international tax attorney and owner of Sherayzen Law Office, was the keynote speaker at a seminar “Introduction to U.S. Tax Compliance for U.S. Citizens and Green Card Holders Residing and Doing Business in Belarus” in Minsk, Republic of Belarus (the “Minsk Seminar”). The attorney conducted the entire Minsk Seminar in Russian, because he speaks this language fluently.
The Minsk Seminar was presented before the Minsk City Lawyer’s Association. It was a historic event, because it appears that this was the very first time that a practicing US international tax attorney conducted a seminar on this topic in Minsk. The Minsk Seminar was well-attended by close to 25-30 persons (despite the fact that it was conducted on a Friday afternoon); it appears that virtually all attendees were practicing lawyers in Minsk.
Mr. Sherayzen decided to make his presentation as broad as possible, but attended to details only as necessary. As a result, this more than two-hour presentation covered the main topics concerning US international tax reporting requirements of a U.S. citizen living and/or doing business in Belarus.
The tax attorney started the Minsk Seminar with the definition of a U.S. tax resident, emphasizing that a U.S. citizen and a U.S. Permanent Resident who reside in Belarus should be considered U.S. tax residents. Then, Mr. Sherayzen discussed the worldwide income reporting requirement and broadly covered various topics concerning specific income recognition.
The tax attorney continued the Minsk Seminar with an overview of the U.S. international information returns concerning individuals who have foreign assets, including an ownership interest in a foreign business. The severe FBAR penalties caused consternation among the attendees. As part of this discussion, he also explained the common-law concept of a “trust”.
The last part of the Minsk Seminar was devoted to the discussion of the U.S. anti-deferral regimes, such as Subpart F and PFIC rules. Mr. Sherayzen explained the potential tax consequences of income recognition under both of these regimes.
Throughout the Minsk Seminar, the Belarussian attorneys asked many questions and readily engaged in a lively comparison of the Belarussian tax rules to the U.S. tax rules. Overall, it was a very friendly seminar. Mr. Sherayzen looks forward to future presentations on this and other U.S. international tax topics in Eastern Europe.