Posts

Minneapolis MN International Tax Lawyer & Attorney | PLR 201922010

On May 31, 2019, the IRS released a Private Letter Ruling (“PLR”) on the extension of time to make an election to be treated as a disregarded entity for US tax purposes under Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701 (26 CFR 301.7701-3). Let’s explore this PLR 201922010 in more detail.

PLR 201922010: Fact Pattern

PLR 201922010 deals with a typical fact pattern for someone who is doing business overseas. A US citizen wholly owns a foreign corporation which wholly owns a foreign subsidiary. The foreign subsidiary wants to make an election to be classified as a disregarded entity for US tax purposes, but misses the deadline to do so timely. Hence, it files a request for the IRS to grant a discretionary extension of time to file Form 8832 pursuant to Treas. Reg. Sections 301.9100-1 and 301.9100-3.

PLR 201922010: Legal Analysis

The IRS began its legal analysis of the request by noting that, under Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(a), a business entity that is not classified as a corporation under Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-2(b)(1), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7) or (8) (hereinafter, an “eligible entity”) can elect its classification for federal tax purposes as provided in Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3. An eligible entity with at least two members can elect to be classified as either an association (and thus a corporation under the Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-2(b)(2)) or a partnership. An eligible entity with a single owner, however, can elect to be classified as an association (i.e. a corporation) or to be disregarded as an entity separate from its owner.

The IRS then focused specifically on the classification of foreign entities relying on Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(b)(2)(I). This provision states that, unless it elects otherwise, a foreign eligible entity is (A) a partnership if it has two or more members and at least one member does not have limited liability; (B) an association if all members have limited liability; or © disregarded as an entity separate from its owner if it has a single owner that does not have limited liability.

What does “limited liability” mean in this context? Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(b)(2)(ii) answers this question by stating that a member of a foreign eligible entity has limited liability if the member has no personal liability for the debts of or claims against the entity by reason of being a member.

How does one make this classification election? Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(c)(1)(I) provides, in part, that an eligible entity may elect to be classified other than as provided under Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(b), or to change its classification, by filing Form 8832 with the service center designated on Form 8832.

Then, the IRS addressed the key issue for this PLR – when this classification election can be made. Treas. Reg. Section 301.7701-3(c)(1)(iii) provides that the election will be effective on the date specified by the entity on Form 8832 or on the date filed if no such date is specified on the election form. The effective date specified on Form 8832 can not be more than 75 days prior to the date on which the election is filed and can not be more than 12 months after the date on which the election is filed.

Is it possible to make a late election? The IRS answered this question by referring to Treas. Reg. Section 301.9100-1(c), which provides that the Commissioner may grant a reasonable extension of time to make a regulatory election, or a statutory election (but no more than six months except in the case of a taxpayer who is abroad), under all subtitles of the Internal Revenue Code (Code), except subtitles E, G, H, and I. Treas. Reg. Section 301.9100-1(b) defines “regulatory election” as an election whose due date is prescribed by a regulation published in the Federal Register, or a revenue ruling, revenue procedure, notice or announcement published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin.

Treas. Reg. Section 301.9100-3 addresses extensions of time for making late regulatory elections. Treas. Reg. Section 301.9100-3(a) states that such requests for relief will be granted when the taxpayer provides the evidence (including affidavits described in Treas. Reg. Section 301.9100-3(e)) to establish to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that the taxpayer acted reasonably and in good faith, and the grant of relief will not prejudice the interests of the Government.

PLR 201922010: IRS Granted Request for Extension to Time to Make the Election

Based on the information submitted and the representations made, the IRS concluded that the foreign entity satisfied the requirements of Treas. Reg. Sections 301.9100-1 and 301.9100-3. As a result, the IRS granted to the foreign entity an extension of time of 120 days from the date of PLR 201922010 to file a properly executed Form 8832 with the appropriate service center electing to be treated as a disregarded entity.

PLR 201922010: The Electing Foreign Entity Must Submit Form 8858 and All Other Returns

The IRS emphasized that its ruling was contingent on the electing foreign entity and its owner filing within 120 days from the date of the PLR all of the required federal income tax and information returns for all relevant years. The IRS specifically mentioned Form 8858 (Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Foreign Disregarded Entities).

Contact Sherayzen Law Office if You Need to File a PLR Request for Late Entity Classification Election Similar to PLR 201922010

If you need to ask the IRS to grant a late entity classification request, you can contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with drafting and submitting your request for a Private Letter Ruling.

IRC 965 Tax: Introduction | US International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

The 2017 Tax Reform created the Internal Revenue Code Section 965, which requires US shareholders of foreign corporations to pay a new transition tax (hereinafter, “IRC 965 Tax”) in certain circumstances. In this short article, I will introduce the readers to the IRC 965 Tax.

IRC 965 Tax: Taxpayers Who Are Targeted by the New Tax

The IRC 965 Tax targets US shareholders of specified foreign corporations. In very general terms, a specified foreign corporation means either a controlled foreign corporation, as defined under the IRC Section 957 (“CFC”), or a foreign corporation (other than a passive foreign investment company (“PFIC”), as defined under the IRC Section 1297, that is not also a CFC) that has a US shareholder that is a domestic corporation.

The term “US shareholders” includes all individuals who are considered to be US tax residents, domestic corporations (including S-corporations), domestic partnerships (including LLC, LP, LLP and LLLP), domestic estates, domestic trusts, domestic cooperatives, REITs, RICs and even US tax-exempt organizations. All US shareholders of a CFC who previously filed a Form 5471 are in a particular danger of being subject to the IRC 965 Tax. Note, however, that even if you are a US shareholder who has not filed Form 5471 before, you may still be subject to the new tax.

IRC 965 Tax: What It Taxes and How

Generally, IRC 965 Tax imposes a special tax on untaxed foreign earnings of specified foreign corporations as if these earnings had been repatriated to the United States. In other words, if a specified foreign corporation has a positive accumulated Earnings & Profits (“E&P”), its US shareholders will have to pay the new tax on it unless the E&P had been already taxed under a different provision of the Internal Revenue Code.

The effective tax rates applicable to income inclusions are adjusted by way of a participation deduction set out in IRC Section 965©. A reduced foreign tax credit applies to the inclusion under the IRC Section 965(g). Interestingly, in certain situations, a US shareholder may reduce the amount of the income inclusion for the purposes of the new tax based on deficits in earnings and profits of other specified foreign corporations (of which he is a US shareholder as well).

The new tax applies to the last taxable year of a specified foreign corporations beginning before January 1, 2018; a US shareholder must include the new tax in the tax year in which the specified foreign corporation’s year ends (in other words, a US shareholder may need to pay the tax on his 2017 and/or 2018 US tax returns). If a US shareholder must pay the IRC 965 Tax, he may either pay it in full when he files the relevant US tax return or choose to do it in installments over an eight-year period.

IRC 965 Tax: IRS Closely Monitors Compliance with the New Tax

Any US taxpayers’ noncompliance with the IRC 965 Tax faces a high risk of IRS detection. The reason for it is the IRS pledge to closely monitor potential noncompliance with the new tax. In fact, the IRS even launched a special compliance campaign dedicated to the IRC Section 965 compliance.

IRC 965 Tax: What to Do if You Did Not Timely Pay the Tax

If you failed to properly comply with your reporting and payment obligations under the IRC Section 965, you will most likely face additional IRS tax penalties as well as the interest on the tax. If you also did not file the required Form 5471 and/or Form 8938 to disclose your interest in a foreign corporation, you are also at a high risk of being subject to Form 5471 penalties as well as Form 8938 penalties. Additional penalties may also apply, including the draconian FBAR criminal and civil penalties (for example, if you are the majority shareholder of a controlled foreign corporation and you did not disclose the foreign bank and financial accounts of this corporation on your FBAR).

Given the gravity of your situation, it is important that you immediately contact an international tax lawyer who specializes in US international tax compliance and offshore voluntary disclosures.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help If You Are Not in Compliance with the IRC 965 Tax

If you have not complied with your payment requirement with respect to IRC 965 Tax and other related US international tax forms, you need to contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible.

Sherayzen Law Office is an international tax law firm that specializes in US international tax compliance and offshore voluntary disclosures. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers to resolve their past US tax noncompliance issues, and We Can Help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Colombian Bank Accounts | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney Miami

Even today many US owners of Colombian bank accounts remain completely unaware of the numerous US tax requirements that may apply to them. The purpose of this essay is to educate these owners about the requirement to report income generated by these accounts in the United States as well as the FBAR and FATCA obligations concerning the disclosure of ownership of Colombian bank accounts to the IRS.

Colombian Bank Accounts: Individuals Who Must Report Them

Before we discuss the aforementioned requirements in more detail, we need to determine who is required to comply with them. In other words, is every Colombian required to file FBAR in the United States? Or, does this obligation apply only to certain individuals?

The answer is very clear: only Colombians who fall within one of the categories of US tax residents must comply with these requirements. US tax residents include US citizens, US Permanent Residents, an individual who satisfies the Substantial Presence test and an individual who properly declares himself a US tax resident. There are important exceptions to this general rule, but, if you fall within any of these categories, you need to contact an international tax attorney as soon as possible to determine your US tax obligations concerning your ownership of Colombian bank accounts.

Colombian Bank Accounts: Income Reporting

All US tax residents are subject to the worldwide income reporting requirement. In other words, they must disclose on their US tax returns not only their US-source income, but also their foreign income. The latter includes all bank interest income, dividends, royalties, capital gains and any other income generated by Colombian bank accounts.

The worldwide income reporting requirement also requires the disclosure of PFIC distributions, PFIC sales, Subpart F income and GILTI income. These are complex requirements which are outside the scope of this article, but US owners of Colombian bank accounts need to be aware of the existence of these requirements.

Colombian Bank Accounts: FinCEN Form 114 (FBAR)

FinCEN Form 114, the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (commonly known as “FBAR”) mandates US tax residents to disclose their ownership interest in or signatory authority or any other authority over Colombian bank and financial accounts if the aggregate highest balance of these accounts exceeds $10,000. Every part of this sentence has a special significance and contains a trap for the unwary.

The most dangerous of these traps is the definition of an “account”. The FBAR definition of account is much broader than how this word is generally understood by taxpayers. For the purposes of FBAR compliance, this term includes checking accounts, savings accounts, fixed-deposit accounts, investments accounts, mutual funds, options/commodity futures accounts, life insurance policies with a cash surrender value, precious metals accounts, earth mineral accounts, et cetera. In fact, it is very likely that the IRS will find that an account exists whenever there is a custodial relationship between a foreign financial institution and a US person’s foreign asset.

FBAR has its own intricate penalty system which is widely known for its severity. The FBAR penalties range from incarceration to willful and even non-willful penalties which may easily exceed the value of the penalized accounts. In order to circumvent the potential 8th Amendment challenges and make the penalty imposition more flexible, the IRS has implemented a system of self-imposed limitations, but it is a completely voluntary system (i.e. the IRS can, and in fact already did several times, disregard these limitations).

Colombian Bank Accounts: FATCA Form 8938

While Form 8938 is a relative newcomer (since tax year 2011), it has occupied a special place among the US international tax requirements. In fact, one could argue that it is currently as important as FBAR for US taxpayers with Colombian bank accounts.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) gave birth to Form 8938, making it part of a taxpayer’s federal tax return. This means that a failure to file Form 8938 may render the entire federal tax return incomplete, and the IRS may be able to audit the return. Immediately, we can see the profound impact Form 8938 has on the Statute of Limitations for the entire tax return.

Given the fact that it is a direct descendant of FATCA, it is not surprising Form 8938’s primary focus is on foreign financial assets. Form 8938 requires a US taxpayer to disclose all Specified Foreign Financial Assets (“SFFA”) as long as he satisfies the relevant filing threshold. The filing thresholds differ depending on the filing status and the place of residence (i.e. inside or outside of the United States) of the taxpayer.

SFFA includes an enormous variety of foreign financial assets, including foreign bank and financial accounts. In fact, with respect to bank and financial accounts, Form 8938 is very similar to FBAR, which often results in double-reporting of the same assets. It is important to emphasize that Form 8938 does not replace FBAR, both forms must still be filed. In other words, US taxpayers should report their Colombian bank accounts on FBAR and disclose them again on Form 8938.

Form 8938 has its own penalty system which contains some unique elements. In addition to its own $10,000 failure-to-file penalty, Form 8938 directly affects the accuracy-related income tax penalties and the ability of a taxpayer to use foreign tax credit.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With the US Tax Reporting of Your Colombian Bank Accounts

US international tax compliance is extremely complex. It is very easy to get yourself into trouble, and much more difficult and expensive to get yourself out of this trouble. This is why, if you have Colombian bank accounts, you should contact the experienced international tax attorney and owner of Sherayzen Law Office, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen. Mr. Sherayzen has helped hundreds of US taxpayers with their US international tax issues, and He can help You!

Contact Mr. Sherayzen Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Main Worldwide Income Reporting Myths | International Tax Attorney St Paul

In a previous article, I discussed the worldwide income reporting requirement and I mentioned that I would discuss the traps or false myths associated with this requirement in a future article. In this essay, I will keep my promise and discuss the main worldwide income reporting myths.

Worldwide Income Reporting Myths: the Source of Myths

I would like to begin by reminding the readers about what the worldwide income reporting rule requires. The worldwide income reporting requirement states that all US tax residents are obligated to disclose all of their US-source income and foreign-source income on their US tax returns.

This rule seems clear and straightforward. Unfortunately, it does not coincide with the income reporting requirements of many foreign tax systems. It is precisely this tension between the US tax system and tax systems of other countries that gives rise to numerous false myths which eventually lead to the US income tax noncompliance. Let’s go over the four most common myths.

Worldwide Income Reporting Myths: Local Taxation

Many US taxpayers incorrectly believe that their foreign-source income does not need to be disclosed in the United States because it is taxed in the local jurisdiction. The logic behind this myth is simple – otherwise, the income would be subject to double taxation. There is a variation on this myth which relies on various tax treaties between the United States and foreign countries on the prevention of double-taxation.

The “local taxation” myth is completely false. US tax law requires US tax residents to disclose their foreign-source income even if it is subject to foreign taxation or foreign tax withholding. These taxpayers forget that they may be able to use the foreign tax credit to remedy the effect of the double-taxation.

Where the foreign tax credit is unavailable or subject to certain limitations, the danger of double taxation indeed exists. This is why you need to consult an international tax attorney to properly structure your transactions in order to avoid the effect of double-taxation. In any case, the danger of double taxation does not alter the worldwide income reporting requirement – you still need to disclose your foreign-source income even if it is taxed locally.

The tax-treaty variation on the local taxation myth is generally false, but not always. There are indeed tax treaties that exempt certain types of income from US taxation; the US-France tax treaty is especially unusual in this aspect. These exceptions are highly limited and usually apply only to certain foreign pensions.

Generally, however, tax treaties would not prevent foreign income from being reportable in the United States. In other words, one should not turn an exception into a general rule; the existence of a tax treaty would not generally modify the worldwide income reporting requirement.

Worldwide Income Reporting Myths: Territorial Taxation

Millions of US taxpayers were born overseas and their understanding of taxation was often formed through their exposure to much more territorial systems of taxation that exist in many foreign countries. These taxpayers often believe that they should report their income only in the jurisdictions where the income was earned or generated. In other words, the followers of this myth assert that US-source income should be disclosed on US tax returns and foreign-source income on foreign tax returns.

This myth is false. US tax system is unique in many aspects; its invasive worldwide reach stands in sharp contrast to the territorial or mixed-territorial models of taxation that exist in other countries. Hence, you cannot apply your prior experiences with a foreign system of taxation to the US tax system. With respect to individuals, US tax laws continue to mandate worldwide income reporting irrespective of how other countries organize their tax systems.

Worldwide Income Reporting Myths: De Minimis Exception

The third myth has an unclear origin; most likely, it comes from human nature that tends to disregard insignificant amounts. The followers of this myth believe that small amounts of foreign source income do not need to be disclosed in the United States, because there is a de minimis exception to the worldwide income reporting requirement.

This is incorrect: there is no such de minimis exception. You must disclose your foreign income on your US tax return no matter how small it is.

This myth has a special significance in the context of offshore voluntary disclosures. The Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures can only be used if there is no income noncompliance. Oftentimes, taxpayers cannot benefit from this voluntary disclosure option, because they failed to disclose an interest income of merely ten or twenty dollars.

Worldwide Income Reporting Myths: Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

Finally, the fourth myth comes from the misunderstanding of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (the “FEIE”). The FEIE allows certain taxpayers who reside overseas to exclude a certain amount of earned income on their US tax returns from taxation as long as these taxpayers meet either the physical presence test or the bona fide residency test.

Some US taxpayers misunderstand the rules of the FEIE and believe that they are allowed to exclude all of their foreign income as long as they reside overseas. A variation on this myth ignores even the residency aspect; the taxpayers who fall into this trap believe that the FEIE excludes all foreign income from reporting.

This myth and its variation are wrong in three aspects. First of all, even in the case of FEIE, all of the foreign earned income must first be disclosed on a tax return and then, and only then, would the taxpayer be able to take the exclusion on the tax return. Second, the FEIE applies only to earned income (i.e. salaries or self-employment income), not passive income (such as bank interest, dividends, royalties and capital gains). Finally, as I already stated, in order to be eligible for the FEIE, a taxpayer must satisfy one of the two tests: the physical presence test or the bona fide residency test.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Your Worldwide Income Reporting

Worldwide income reporting can be an incredibly complex requirement despite its appearance of simplicity. In this essay, I pointed out just four most common traps for US taxpayers; there are many more.

Hence, if you have foreign income, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. Our highly-experienced tax team, headed by a known international tax lawyer, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, has helped hundreds of US taxpayers to bring themselves into full compliance with US tax laws. We can help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Broadcom Re-domiciliation Approved | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

On January 29, 2018, Broadcom Board of Directors approved the plan for Broadcom re-domiciliation in the United States. This move was expected after Broadcom’s November of 2017 pledge to president Trump that the company would return to the United States.

Broadcom Re-domiciliation: A Story of Tax Inversion and Tax Remorse

The story of the Broadcom re-domiciliation began fairly recently in February of 2016. At that time, Broadcom did what was very popular during the Obama administration – tax inversion. California-based Broadcom allowed itself to be acquired by Singapore’s Avago Technologies Limited with the result of creation of a single Singapore entity.

The real motivation for the inversion was lowering the corporate taxes. At that time, during the political climate that existed in the United States, Broadcom thought that it was a good move.

Now, Broadcom believes that the tax inversion might not have been such a great thing to do in light of the new developments and certain consequences that it did not seem to have anticipated prior to tax inversion. First of all, Broadcom’s business in the US has continued to expand as it stepped-up its acquisition strategy. Already in 2017, barely a year and a half after tax inversion, Broadcom has stated that the benefits of this business strategy outweigh the potential additional taxes it might have to pay when it returns to the United States (especially after the tax reform – see below).

Second and closely related to the first reason, as a foreign company based in Singapore, Broadcom is under constant scrutiny of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFI”). CFI focuses on the review of transactions that may result in control of a US business by a foreign person and the impact of such control on US national security. This is an irritating and expensive factor that continuously hinders Broadcom’s acquisition strategy in the United States.

Third, Broadcom apparently did not anticipate that the tax reform be so radical and so beneficial to corporations. There is one issue in particular that makes Broadcom re-domiciliation in the United States so important. At the time of its tax inversion, Broadcom established a deferred tax liability on its balance sheet with respect to integration of the company’s intellectual property (“IP”). Under the old law, this deferred tax liability would have become payable at 35% tax rate in the United States.

Now, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”), this deferred liability will be recognized in fiscal year 2018 as deemed repatriated foreign earnings at a much lower tax rate. This means that Broadcom re-domiciliation in 2018 will save the company a huge amount in taxes; or, as the company itself put it: “a material reduction in the amount of other long-term liabilities on our balance sheet”.

Broadcom Re-domiciliation Approved Within One Month of TCJA

The tax motivation behind Broadcom re-domiciliation became especially evident in light of the fact that the Broadcom Board approved it within just one month of the passage of TCJA. Moreover, in its filings with SEC, Broadcom directly stated that, as a result of TCJA, the tax cost of being a US-based multinational company has decreased substantially.

Sherayzen Law Office will continue to observe the impact of the recent tax reform on the behavior of US companies that went through tax inversion.