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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, 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!

Factual Basis & Tax Planning | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

In a previous article, I discussed the necessity of balancing international tax planning priorities in order to obtain an optimal tax result. In this article, I will explain why international tax planning should be based on a carefully-studied factual basis.

Factual Basis as the Foundation for International Tax Planning

Young inexperienced lawyers often come up with a particular tax strategy and then they try to implement it independent of the actual facts on the ground. Irrespective of how brilliant such a strategy would be in the abstract, it is almost always doomed to become a failure.

Why? The answer is very simple: these lawyers turn international tax planning on its head. They build the second level of a house without ever building a foundation for it. No matter how well they plan out a strategy, it will fall apart almost immediately when it comes in conflict with the facts – how the business is run, its capital structure, its needs, its goals, its cash flow source, its operating model, its E&P, its foreign tax credit and numerous other important considerations.

Hence, the starting point of any tax planning should be a careful factual study of the business.

Studying Factual Basis as a Way to Uncover Potential Opportunities

In my practice, I have found that a careful study of a business may generate a number of potential planning opportunities that may have otherwise been ignored. For example, during a study of a company’s loan structure, one can sometimes find opportunities to treat these loans as equity investments and utilize much better currency exchange rates to build up the client’s basis in the company (potentially even resulting in a reversal of an entire capital gain upon the sale of this company).

Factual Basis: Four Most Important Components

While an attorney should study all relevant facts, there are four main components that he must cover. The components are: (1) organizational chart and capital structure; (2) operating model; (3) tax status and characteristics; and (4) analysis of financial statements. Let’s analyze each component in more detail.

Factual Basis Components: Organizational Chart and Capital Structure

You should start your factual analysis by building the organizational chart of the business and understanding its capital structure. What you need to do is to understand each entity within the corporate structure and the place it occupies in the overall business structure, identify the tax status of each business, understand the sources of cash and where it is used, create a diagram of debt and equity instruments (including whether these are related or unrelated party instruments), study how the business operates across the entire corporate structure, uncover which currencies are used in business (as well as any currency hedging) and review the withholding tax exposure/compliance.

This first component is likely to help you to identify the tax inefficiencies of the existing corporate structure and seek structural alternatives. I recommend that at this stage you plan for creating a more tax-efficient financing of foreign affiliates to maximize foreign country deductions, minimize tax imposed on interest income, reduce withholding tax and assure sufficient cash flow throughout the structure.

Factual Basis Components: Operating Model

The second component of your factual analysis (though it will probably come at about the same time as you start working on the first component) is the operating model of the business. In other words, what type of a business is it: manufacturing, sales, services or IP (development, ownership and/or usage of IP)? How does the business operate: local country manufacturing, local distributing/franchising, global service contracts, et cetera?

I recommend that you especially focus here (as a goal of your tax planning strategy) on: tax-efficient structuring of current and anticipated foreign operations to maximize tax deferral, tax-efficient financing of capital needs and development of strategy concerning IP development and licensing.

Factual Basis Components: Tax Characteristics

The third component is the one that tax attorneys are likely to like the most, because it is very close to their training and professional interest – the study of the tax characteristics of the corporate structure: income/losses, NOL, AMT, foreign tax credit position (carryovers), E&P, transfer pricing, local tax position and PTI (previously taxed income through Subpart F, 965 tax, GILTI tax, et cetera).

The focus of your tax planning goals here are centered around foreign tax credit, repatriation of earnings, minimizing Subpart F income and transfer pricing (i.e. allocation of profits between the US head office and its foreign affiliate companies).

Factual Basis Components: Financial Statements

Finally, the fourth component of your factual basis study consists of the financial statement analysis. You need to carefully review the financial statement with the focus on: Effective Tax Rate (“ETR”) reconciliation, deferred tax analysis, reinvestment, valuation and foreign currency. The focus of your tax planning goals here should be on low-tax deferral structures (for example, through indefinite reinvestment outside of the United States at a lower tax rate) and the most optimal foreign tax credit utilization.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With International Tax Planning

If your US company conducts business outside of the United States, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with your international business tax planning. We have helped companies plan their inbound and outbound transactions for US and foreign companies, and we can help you!

Texas Streamlined Disclosure Lawyer | FBAR FATCA Tax Attorney

The increased emigration to Texas of foreigners and Americans from other states resulted in a higher portion of Texans with undisclosed foreign assets. The vast majority of these Texans are non-willful with respect to their prior reporting noncompliance and, once they discover their prior noncompliance, they look for professional help resolve their US tax noncompliance through Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures – i.e. they look for a Texas streamlined disclosure lawyer. In this essay, I explain who should be included within the definition of a Texas streamlined disclosure lawyer.

Texas Streamlined Disclosure Lawyer: International Tax Lawyer

It is important to understand that an offshore voluntary disclosure of noncompliance concerning foreign assets and foreign income generated by these assets falls within a specific sub-area of US international tax law. In other words, an offshore voluntary disclosure is part of US international tax law. This means that, when you are looking for a lawyer who can help you with Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures, you are searching for an international tax lawyer.

Texas Streamlined Disclosure Lawyer: Voluntary Disclosure Expertise

Not every international tax lawyer, however, is able to conduct the necessary legal analysis required to successfully complete an offshore voluntary disclosure, including Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures. Only a lawyer who has developed expertise in a very narrow sub-field of offshore voluntary disclosures within US international tax law will be fit for this job.

This means that you are looking for an international tax lawyer who specializes in offshore voluntary disclosure and who is familiar with the various offshore voluntary disclosure options. Offshore voluntary disclosure options include: SDOP (Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures), SFOP (Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures), DFSP (Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures), DIIRSP (Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures), VDP (IRS Voluntary Disclosure Practice) and Reasonable Cause disclosures. Each of these options has it pros and cons, which may have tremendous legal and tax (and, in certain cases, even immigration) implications for your case.

Texas Streamlined Disclosure Lawyer: Geographical Location Does Not Matter

While the expertise and experience in offshore voluntary disclosures are highly important in choosing your international tax lawyer, the geographical location (i.e. the city where the lawyer resides) does not matter. The reason for it is also very simple and I already stated it above: offshore voluntary disclosure options were all created by the IRS and form part of US international (i.e. federal) law; the local Texan law has no connection whatsoever to the SDOP (even though the mailing address for the SDOP voluntary disclosure package is in Texas).

This means that you are not limited to Texas when you are looking for a lawyer who can help you with your streamlined disclosure. Any international tax lawyer who specializes in this field may be able to help you, irrespective of whether this lawyer resides in Texas or Minnesota.

Moreover, the development of modern means of communications has pretty much eliminated any communication advantages that a lawyer in Texas might have had in the past over the out-of-state lawyers. This is especially true in today’s world where the pandemic greatly reduced the number of face-to-face meetings.

Sherayzen Law Office May Be Your Texas Streamlined Disclosure Lawyer

Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. is a highly-experienced international tax law firm that specializes in all types of offshore voluntary disclosures, including SDOP, SFOP, DFSP, DIIRSP, VDP and Reasonable Cause disclosures. Our professional tax team, led by attorney Eugene Sherayzen, has successfully helped our US clients around the globe, including in Texas, with the preparation and filing of their Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures disclosure. We can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

CFC Income Recognition: Five Groups | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

Ownership of a Controlled Foreign Corporation (“CFC”) presents unique income tax challenges under US international tax law. One of them is the fact that US shareholders of a CFC may have to recognize CFC income on their US tax returns beyond what is required under US domestic tax laws. In this article, I will introduce the readers to the main five CFC income recognition groups.

CFC Income Recognition: General Definitions of “CFC” and “US Shareholder”

Before we describe the five main CFC income recognition groups, we should briefly define the US international tax concepts of “CFC” and “US Shareholder”. I will provide only a general definition of both here; there are some specific circumstances that may modify this definition.

Generally, a foreign corporation is a CFC if US shareholders own more than 50% of the corporation’s stock. One determines the percentage of stock ownership either based on the value of stocks or the voting rights associated with these stocks.

A person is considered to be a US Shareholder if this person is a US person that owns more 10% or more of the total voting power or the total value of all classes of stock in a foreign corporation. Besides the direct ownership of stock, one should also include this US person’s indirect ownership of stock as well as any stock he (or it) owns constructively by the operation of any of the attribution rules of IRC §958(b). These rules are described in detail in other articles on sherayzenlaw.com.

CFC Income Recognition As A Special Set of US International Tax Rules

When we talk about “CFC income recognition”, we mean a set of special US international tax rules that require US shareholders of a CFC to recognize income from the CFC that would not be normally taxed. In other words, this is income that no one would recognize under the normal US domestic tax rules or even any other US international tax rules.

CFC Income Recognition: Five Main Groups

The CFC income recognition rules force US shareholders of a CFC to increase their gross income only by certain types of income of a CFC. There are five main groups of this special CFC income:

  1. §951(a)(1)(A): subpart F income earned by a CFC;
  2. Former §951(a)(1)(A)(ii) and former §951(a)(1)(A)(iii) (both repealed by the 2017 tax reform, but still relevant for the years beginning before January 1, 2018): previously excluded subpart F income withdrawn from certain types of investments;
  3. §951(a)(1)(B): investments in certain types of US property;
  4. §951A: GILTI (Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income) income starting January 1, 2018; and
  5. §59A: base erosion minimum tax starting January 1, 2019.

Note that these are not the only rules that may accelerate recognition of CFC income. As stated above, these five groups of income are the ones that apply only to US shareholders of a CFC. However, there are other tax rules that apply to CFCs as well as other types of corporations.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office Concerning CFC Income Recognition Rules

Each of the aforementioned five groups of CFC income contains a huge amount of highly complex rules and exceptions. There are also important rules for the interaction of these categories with each other as well as other general US tax rules. It is very easy to get into trouble in this area of law without the help of an experienced international tax lawyer.

If you are US shareholder of a CFC contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional tax help. We have successfully helped US shareholders around the world with their US tax compliance concerning their ownership of CFCs, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

IRC §267 Purpose | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney Austin TX

This brief essay explores the IRC §267 purpose of existence – i.e. Why did Congress decide to enact IRC §267 and in what situations does it generally apply?

IRC §267 Purpose: Problematic Scenarios

When Congress enacted IRC §267, it meant to address a very specific problem in the context of two scenarios. The problem was the rise of a large number of tax minimization strategies based on transactions between persons with shared economic interests (for example, a transaction between a father and his son). The IRS calls such persons with shared economic interests “related persons”.

In particular, these related person transaction strategies focused on two different scenarios. The first scenario was the creation of an artificial loss on the sale or exchange of property between related persons. The second scenario involved transactions between related persons where one of them recognized a deduction while the other one did not recognize any income from the same transaction.

IRC §267 Purpose: Limitations on Related Person Tax Planning

Given the high potential of related person transactions to artificially lower tax liability of all parties involved, Congress enacted IRC §267. The main purpose of IRC §267 is to impose severe limitations on the ability of related persons to realize losses from sales of property to related persons and take deductions with respect to transactions involving related persons.

It should be emphasized that IRC §267 does not impose an absolute limitation on one’s ability to take losses. For example, once a property is sold to an unrelated person, IRC §267(d) allows the seller to offset recognized gain by the previously disallowed loss. In other words, the IRC §267 purpose is to handicap the ability of related persons to artificially lower their federal tax liability, not to deprive related persons from recognizing legitimate losses in transactions with unrelated persons.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With IRC §267

If you have a transaction involving related persons, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with US business tax planning. We have helped taxpayers around the globe with the US tax planning, and We Can Help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!