Who Must File IRS Form 1042

Form 1042 (“Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons”) serves a number of important reporting purposes. In general, it is used to report the tax withheld under chapter 3 of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) on certain income of foreign persons (such as nonresident aliens, foreign partnerships, foreign corporations, foreign estates, and foreign trusts), as well as to report the tax withheld under chapter 4 of the IRC on payments subject to tax withholding. It also utilized to report tax withheld pursuant to IRC Section 5000C (“Imposition of tax on certain foreign procurement”), and reportable payments from Form 1042-S under chapters 3 or 4.

In this article, we will cover who is responsible for filing Form 1042. US individuals involved with cross-border businesses or living overseas should be aware of this form as they may be subject to the form’s filing requirements for a variety of common reasons, without even knowing it. For instance, US-source alimony paid to a nonresident alien former spouse may be reportable by a withholding agent on Form 1042 (in addition to 1042-S), even if the entire amount is exempt under a tax treaty.

This article provides general information and is not intended to convey tax or legal advice. Please contact Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, an experienced tax attorney at Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. if you have any questions about filing this form, or any other US-international tax questions.

Who is Responsible for Filing Form 1042?

As noted by the IRS, unless an exception applies, “every withholding agent or intermediary who receives, controls, has custody of, disposes of, or pays a withholdable payment, including any fixed or determinable annual or periodical income, must file an annual return for the preceding calendar year” on Form 1042. The IRS defines “withholding agent” to mean any person who is required to withhold tax. This definition is expansive and can include, in general, any individual, trust, estate, partnership, corporation, nominee, government agency, association, or tax-exempt foundation (both domestic and foreign) that is required to withhold tax. Withholding agents are personally liable for any tax required to be withheld, as well as interest and applicable penalties.

An “intermediary” means, “a person who acts as a custodian, broker, nominee, or otherwise as an agent for another person, regardless of whether that other person is the beneficial owner of the amount paid, a flow-through entity, or another intermediary.”

When Must Form 1042 Be Filed?

Form 1042 must be filed in a number of different circumstances. As stated by the IRS, an individual or entity must file the form if, “you are required to file or otherwise file Form(s) 1042-S for purposes of either chapter 3 or 4 (whether or not any tax was withheld or was required to be withheld to the extent reporting is required)…; You file Form(s) 1042-S to report to a recipient tax withheld by your withholding agent; You pay gross investment income to foreign private foundations that are subject to tax under section 4948(a); You pay any foreign person specified federal procurement payments that are subject to withholding under section 5000C; You are a qualified intermediary (QI), withholding foreign partnership (WP), withholding foreign trust (WT), participating foreign financial institution (FFI), or reporting Model 1 FFI making a claim for a collective refund under your respective agreement with the IRS.” Note, that the FFI classification may also require other extensive reporting under FATCA.

2014 Form 1042: Due Date and Place of Filing

The 2014 Form 1042 must be filed by March 16, 2015, to the IRS’ Ogden (UT) Service Center, and an extension of time to file may be granted by submitting Form 7004, (“Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns”).

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With International Tax Compliance

US-International tax reporting and planning can involve many complex areas, and you are advised to seek the advice of attorneys practicing in this area. If you have any questions, please contact Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. for all of your tax and legal needs.

Ireland to End Double Irish Tax Loophole used by many US Companies

Less than a month ago, Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced in an address introducing the 2015 budget to the Irish parliament that the country will be changing its tax code to require all companies registered in Ireland to be tax residents, thereby ending the so-called Double Irish loophole utilized by many US companies and multinationals to reduce their tax liabilities. Noonan was quoted in one recent article as stating, “Aggressive tax planning by the multinational companies has been criticized by governments across the globe, and has damaged the reputation of many countries.”

This article will briefly examine the Double Irish structure used by US companies and others, and the new changes that will affect this structure; this article is not intended to convey tax or legal advice under either US or Irish laws.

The changes to the Double Irish loophole, combined with the recent Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service Notice 2014-52, “Rules Regarding Inversions and Related Transactions” will significantly affect many US companies. Tax planning and compliance will become even more important the days ahead. Please contact Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, an experienced international tax attorney at Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC for questions about your tax and legal needs.

The Double Irish Loophole

Before the new changes, multinationals could utilize a structure commonly referred to as the “Double Irish”. In general, under the Double Irish structure, companies would take advantage of Irish territorial taxation laws, meaning that the income of an Irish subsidiary operating outside of Ireland would not be subject to taxation. Prior to the new change, an entity in Ireland would be considered to be a tax resident not where it was incorporated, but rather where its controlling managers were located; thus, an entity registered in Ireland with its managers located in a tax haven would be considered to be a tax resident of the tax haven, and not Ireland, if properly structured.

US companies would often take advantage of this structure by forming offshore subsidiary entities that would own the rights to intellectual property located outside the United States, typically without paying US tax, through a cost sharing agreement between US parents and offshore companies. The non-US intellectual property rights would then be licensed to a second Irish subsidiary (hence the “Double Irish” phrase), which would be an Irish tax resident, generally in return for royalty payments, or similar fees. The second Irish subsidiary would additionally be able to deduct the royalties or other fees paid to the entity in the tax haven, thereby reducing its taxable profits (and subjecting any remaining profits to Ireland’s competitive 12.5% rate). Until such profits were remitted to the US, they would typically not be subject to US taxation.

Many US companies, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Twitter and others successfully used the Double Irish loophole to reduce their overall tax liabilities.

Ending the Double Irish Loophole

Under the new changes to the Double Irish loophole, beginning in January of 2015, all newly Irish-registered entities will automatically be deemed to be Irish tax residents. The new rules will not apply to companies currently utilizing the Double Irish structure; however, such companies will need to be compliant with the new rules by the end of 2020. Ireland will still retain its favorable 12.5% corporate tax rate.

The changes to the Double Irish loophole were made as a result of intense international criticism and potentially adverse consequences for Ireland. This year, the European Commission announced that it would conduct a formal investigation into the practices of various companies with Irish subsidiaries, including the Double Irish loophole. According to various news reports, European Union officials have expressed preliminary support for the new changes.

To address the possible loss of jobs resulting from the new changes (one news report puts the number of jobs created by foreign firms registering in Ireland to be 160,000 jobs, or approximately one in ten workers in the country – a lot of these jobs were created as a result of the Double Irish loophole), Noonan announced that he intended to create a new taxable rate for income derived from intellectual property in the form of a “Knowledge Development Box”. However, the EU is currently investigating so-called “patent boxes” (which could likely be similar to Noonan’s future proposal) utilized by various other European countries, such as the U.K. and the Netherlands.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With International Tax Planning

Since 2008, the world has experienced an almost unprecedented surge in the international tax enforcement, reflecting the desire (and the great economic need) of many countries to be able to obtain what these countries consider their fair share of tax revenues from international companies. The recent change to Irish tax laws with respect to the Double Irish loophole is just the latest example of this growing trend.

As tax enforcement rises, many US companies operating overseas and foreign companies operating in the United States are facing increasing risks of over-taxation with a direct threat to their profitability. For a number of reasons, the mid-size and small companies that operate internationally face a disproportionate increase in these risks than large multinational companies.

Sherayzen Law Office has successfully helped companies around the world to successfully operate internationally while reducing the risks of being subject to unfair tax treatment. If you have a small or mid-size business that operates internationally, you should contact our international tax team for professional legal and tax help.

Illegal Use of Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans: Advisor Sentenced

In an earlier article, we referred to a case where a investment advisors used offshore accounts in the Caribbeans to launder and conceal funds. On September 5, 2014, the IRS ad the DOJ announced one of these advisors, Mr. Joshua Vandyk, was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison.

Mr. Vandyk, a U.S. citizen, and Mr. Eric St-Cyr and Mr. Patrick Poulin, Canadian citizens, were indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on March 6, and the indictment was unsealed March 12 after the defendants were arrested in Miami. Mr. Vandyk, 34, pleaded guilty on June 12, Mr. St-Cyr, 50, pleaded guilty on June 27, and Mr. Poulin, 41, pleaded guilty on July 11. St-Cyr and Poulin are scheduled to be sentenced on October 3, 2014.

According to the plea agreements and statements of facts, All three advisors conspired to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership and control of $2 million (believed to be the proceeds of bank fraud) through the use of the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans. The Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans are often used not only to conceal illegal funds, but also perfectly legal earnings of U.S. persons.

In addition to the use of the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans, the advisors assisted undercover law enforcement agents posing as U.S. clients in laundering purported criminal proceeds through an offshore structure designed to conceal the true identity of the proceeds’ owners. Moreover, Mr. Vandyk helped invest the laundered funds on the clients’ behalf and represented that the funds in the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans would not be reported to the U.S. government.

According to court documents, Mr. Poulin established an offshore corporation called Zero Exposure Inc. for the undercover agents and served as a nominal board member in lieu of the clients. Mr. Poulin then transferred approximately $200,000 that the defendants believed to be the proceeds of bank fraud from the offshore corporation to the Cayman Islands, where Mr. Vandyk and Mr. St-Cyr invested those funds outside of the United States in the name of the offshore corporation. The investment firm represented that it would neither disclose the investments or any investment gains to the U.S. government, nor would it provide monthly statements or other investment statements with respect to the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans to the clients. Clients were able to monitor their investments in the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans online through the use of anonymous, numeric passcodes. Upon request from the U.S. client, Mr. Vandyk and Mr. St-Cyr liquidated investments and transfered money from the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans, through Mr. Poulin, back to the United States.

This case is just one more example of the increased IRS international tax enforcement with respect to the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans.