FDII Export Incentive | Foreign Business Income Tax Lawyer & Attorney

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “2017 tax reform” or “TCJA”) enacted a highly-lucrative incentive for US corporations to export directly from the United States – the Foreign-Derived Intangible Income (“FDII”) regime. In this article, I would like to introduce the readers in a general manner to the FDII export incentive contained in the TCJA.

FDII Export Incentive: TCJA

The creation of the participation exemption system posed a problem for the drafters of the TCJA – how does one stop US corporations from running all of their foreign business through a foreign corporation since foreign corporate profits may actually be transferred to the United States tax-free? Among other provisions of this complex law, the drafters utilized two powerful incentives for US corporations to export directly overseas.

The first one was a “stick” – the Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income or GILTI. The GILTI regime established what can be best described as a global minimum tax on the earnings of foreign subsidiaries of a US business entity.

The second approach was a “carrot” – the FDII export incentive. The FDII regime creates a powerful incentive for US corporations to export goods and services from the United States by creating a deemed deduction of a large percentage of corporate export income. In other words, the effective corporate tax rate is reduced through the FDII regime because a portion of a corporation’s export income is being deducted and never subject to US taxation.

FDII Export Incentive: General Description of the Deemed Deduction

The deemed deduction applies only to a US corporation’s FDII. FDII is basically a certain portion of corporate income from foreign sources determined by a formula established by Congress.

The formula requires a multi-step process. The first steps involve the determination of the Deduction-Eligible Income (DEI), Qualified Business Asset Investment (“QBAI”), Foreign-Derived Deduction-Eligible Income (“FDDEI”). Once all of these items are calculated, then the Deemed Intangible Income (“DII”) is figured out.

FDII is calculated last. The basic formula for FDII is: DII times the ratio of FDDEI over DEI.

The last step is to calculate the tax liability which involves the reduction of FDII by 37.5%. Thus, the effective tax rate for a corporate taxpayer (assuming the current 21% corporate tax rate stays the same) with respect to its FDII is only 13.125%.

It should be mentioned that the current deemed deduction will stay at 37.5% only through December 31, 2025. For the years after December 31, 2025, the deemed deduction will go down to 21.875%. This means that the effective tax rate on FDII will be 16.406%. Unless the law changes (which is possible), non-FDII corporate income will continue to be taxed at 21%.

FDII Export Incentive: Net Impact of the Deemed Deduction

Based on even just this general analysis of FDII, we can understand why the FDII export incentive is such an important part of the US corporate tax law. First, in most cases, the FDII deduction is a disincentive to shift foreign-source income from a US corporation to a controlled foreign corporation (“CFC”). A CFC may be subject to taxation under two different anti-deferral regimes, Subpart F or GILTI tax. Subpart F income will just force the recognition of foreign income by the CFC right away without any deemed deduction (i.e. this would be the worst-case scenario).

If the Subpart F rules do not apply, then the corporation may be subject to the GILTI tax. It is true that the effective corporate tax rate for GILTI, after its current 50% deemed reduction is only 10.5%. Nevertheless, FDII”s effective tax rate of 13.125% significantly reduces the difference from that what it would have been otherwise (i.e. between 10.5% and 21%). Moreover, when one factors in the additional administrative, US tax compliance and local tax compliance expenses, this difference may become nonexistent.

Second, the FDII deemed deduction makes US corporations more competitive worldwide, because they may now realize a higher profit margin even if they lower the prices for their products and services sold overseas.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With FDII Calculations and International Business Tax Planning

If your business engages in selling products or services overseas, there are opportunities for international business tax planning from US perspective. Contact Sherayzen Law Office to take advantage of these opportunities through professional, creative and ethical tax help.

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Credinvest Bank Signs Non-Prosecution Agreement

On June 3, 2015, the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that Banca Credinvest SA (Credinvest Bank), together with Rothschild Bank, signed a Non-Prosecution Agreement that finalized Credinvest Bank’s participation in the DOJ Program for Swiss Banks.

Credinvest Bank History

Located in Lugano, Switzerland, Credinvest Bank started operations as a fully licensed bank in 2005. Credinvest Bank offered a variety of services that it knew could assist, and that did assist, U.S. clients in concealing assets and income from the IRS, including hold mail service and numbered accounts. Credinvest Bank did not set up any formalized internal reporting regarding U.S. clients and did not adopt any procedures to ascertain or monitor the compliance of its U.S. clients with their U.S. tax obligations. In late 2008, an external asset manager referred 11 accounts to Credinvest Bank, all of which were for U.S. clients who had left UBS. The bank delegated to that external asset manager the primary management of those accounts and failed to ascertain the compliance of those clients with their U.S. tax obligations. The bank thus aided and assisted those clients in concealing their accounts from U.S. authorities. Since August 1, 2008, Credinvest Bank had 31 U.S.-related accounts with just over $24 million in assets.

Credinvest Bank Penalty and Disclosures

As other banks in the DOJ Program for Swiss Banks, Credinvest Bank mitigated some of its penalties, but it will still have to pay a penalty of $3.022 million.

In addition, as part of its participation in the DOJ Program for Swiss Banks, Credinvest Bank made a complete disclosure of its cross-border activities, provided detailed information on an account-by-account basis for accounts in which US taxpayers have a direct or indirect interest, and provided detailed information regarding transferred funds to other banks. It is not known at this point if the IRS made any treaty requests to Credinvest Bank.

The most immediate impact of Rothschild Bank Non-Prosecution Agreement will be felt by US accountholders who wish to enter OVDP after June 3, 2015 – their penalty rate will go up from 27.5 percent of the highest value of their foreign accounts and other assets included in the OVDP penalty base to a whopping 50 percent penalty rate.

What Credinvest Bank Non-Prosecution Agreement Means to US Taxpayers

Credinvest Bank Non-Prosecution Agreement is likely to have three important consequences for US taxpayers with undisclosed accounts. First, US taxpayers with undisclosed accounts at Credinvest Bank will now face the higher 50% penalty rate in the OVDP program, instead of the regular 27.5% penalty rate.

Second, US taxpayers who attempted to conceal their Credinvest Bank accounts by closing them and transferring them to other banks will now face an increased risk of IRS detection due to the fact that the IRS now has the transfer information from Credinvest Bank. It is also possible that they may have received this information as part of another Swiss bank’s disclosure under the DOJ Program for Swiss Banks.

Finally, Credinvest Bank participation in the DOJ Program for Swiss Banks is one more reminder that, in this FATCA world, US taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts are playing a Russian roulette with their future by persevering in their non-compliance. The IRS may receive information regarding their accounts from various sources – DOJ Program is just one of them.

US Taxpayers With Undisclosed Foreign Accounts Should Explore Voluntary Disclosure

At this point, if you are a US taxpayer with undisclosed foreign accounts, please consult the experienced international tax team of Sherayzen Law Office. Our professional legal team has helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world and we can help you!

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