Foreign Tax Credit for Individuals: Who Can Take It?

If you paid or accrued foreign taxes to a foreign country on foreign source income and are subject to U.S. tax on the same income, you may be able to take these qualified foreign taxes as a tax credit to offset (in part or in full) your U.S. tax liability. An important questions arises for foreign tax credit attorneys: who is eligible to claim a foreign tax credit on his individual U.S. tax returns.

The first and most obvious category consists of U.S. citizens. If you are a U.S. citizen, you would usually be entitled to take a credit for foreign taxes that you paid or accrued. Part of the reason for this eligibility is the fact that, as a U.S. citizen, you are taxed by the U.S. government on your worldwide income irrespective of where you live.

Resident aliens constitute the second eligible category to claim foreign tax credit. Same reasoning applies as to U.S. citizens.

In most cases, nonresident aliens would not be able to take a foreign tax credit. However, there are important exceptions. The two major exceptions are: Puerto Rico residency or ECI (Effectively Connected Income).

The latter exception requires a bit more explanation. If you are a non-resident alien who pays or accrues tax to a foreign country or a U.S. possession on income from foreign sources that is effectively connected (here where the “ECI” term comes into play) with a trade or business in the United States, then you may be able to claim foreign tax credit on your individual U.S. tax return. ECI is a term of art and whether your foreign income is effectively connected with a trade or business in the United States is a complex legal question that should be reviewed by an international tax attorney.

Note that, where a non-resident alien pays foreign taxes on income from U.S. sources only because he is a citizen or resident of that foreign country, then this tax cannot be used in figuring the amount of the foreign tax credit.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help with Your Foreign Tax Credit

Claiming a foreign tax credit can be a very complex tax question and you need the right professionals to help you. Contact Sherayzen Law Office for experienced professional help with your foreign tax credit issues.

Alternative Minimum Tax Foreign Tax Credit

US persons are taxed on their worldwide income, but are allowed a foreign tax credit (FTC) for foreign taxes paid. In most cases, the FTC gives taxpayers a dollar-for-dollar credit against their US tax liability.

However, the FTC may be limited for Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) purposes in order to ensure that a taxpayer’s US liability is only reduced on foreign-source income. This article will briefly examine some of the basic elements of the Alternative Minimum Tax Foreign Tax Credit (AMTFTC).

Alternative Minimum Tax Foreign Tax Credit Calculation

The AMT for individuals in calculated on Form 6251. Taxpayers who need to determine whether they will have an AMTFTC, will first need to calculate their foreign tax credit for their regular tax. Once this is done, line 34 of the form should be filled in, and if the amount on this line is greater than or equal to the amount on line 31 (see IRS instructions for specifics), then a zero would be entered on line 35 (the AMT line), and the instructions should be reviewed to determine whether the form will need to be attached to the tax return. If the AMT is not owed, line 32 of the form will still need to be filled in, in order to determine whether a taxpayer has an AMTFTC carryback or carryforward.

If the AMT is owed, the FTC may be limited by IRS rules. In general, for purposes of calculating the AMTFTC limitation, foreign-source AMT income (AMTI) is divided by total AMTI. This amount is then multiplied by the tentative minimum tax (and not the regular tax). This calculation must be determined for each separate basket type of income (i.e. general and passive income). FTCs that are not used because of the AMTFTC may be carried forward.

Taxpayers may elect to use regular foreign-source income in the numerator of this equation, provided that it does not exceed total AMTI.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office For Tax Help With Determining AMT, FTC and AMTFTC

Determing your Foreign Tax Credit and Alternative Minumum Tax can involve complex issues and this article only attempts to provide a very general background information that should not be relied upon in making the determination of your specific situation. Rather, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for legal help with this issue. Our tax firm will help you determine your AMT, FTC and AMTFTC for the relevant tax years as well as provide sound tax planning for the future.