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§318 Re-attribution: General Rule | International Tax Lawyers Miami

This article continues a series of articles on the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §318 constructive ownership rules. Today, I would like to focus on the §318 re-attribution rule. In this article, I will explain the general §318 re-attribution rule and mention the exceptions. I will discuss the exceptions in more detail in future articles.

§318 Re-attribution: General Rule

Generally, under the IRC §318(a)(5)(A), stock constructively owned by a shareholder under any of the §318 attribution rule is deemed to be actually owned for the purposes of re-attribution to others. In other words, except for limitations mentioned below, the constructive ownership of stock can be further attributed to other persons.

For example, if a husband owns stocks in Corporation Y and his wife is deemed to owned these stocks under the family attribution rules of §318(a)(1)(A)(i), then these constructively-owned stocks can be further attributed from the wife to Corporation X under the shareholder-to-corporation rules of §318(a)(3)(C) if the wife owns 50% or more of the value of stocks issued by Corporation X.

§318 Re-attribution: Great Burden on Taxpayers

The breadth of the §318 re-attribution rule can present a huge challenge to taxpayers. Both individuals and entities must maintain correct ownership records to allow their tax attorneys to properly determine their ownership of stock under §318 and their consequent tax obligations.

The dangerous reach of the §318 re-attribution rule can be demonstrated by the following example. Let’s suppose that corporation X has 200 shares outstanding and all of the shares are owned as follows: H owns 100 shares, his wife W owns 60 shares and his son S owns 40 shares. Additionally, H owns 25% in partnership P.

Under the §318 family attribution rules, H actually owns 100 shares and constructively owns another 100 shares (i.e. his wife’s and his son’s shares) of X. Under §318(a)(5)(A), H’s constructive ownership of 100 shares is deemed to be actual ownership for the purposes of re-attribution of stock. Consequently, under the partner-to-partnership rules of §318(a)(3)(A), 100% ownership of X is now attributed to P.

This can get even worse. Assuming the same facts, what if P also actually owns 50% of the value of the stock of corporation Y? Then, under §318(a)(3)(C), Y would be a constructive owner of 100% of X, because these shares were attributed first to H and, then, from H to P.

§318 Re-attribution: Restrictions

It is obvious that, without any limitations, such an extensive re-attribution of stock can easily get out of hand and spread to cover persons who have no relationship to the original owners. For this purpose, the US Congress imposed certain restrictions on the re-attribution of stock under §318(a)(5)(A). Each provision §318(a)(5)(B)–§318(a)(5)(D) imposes limitations on re-attribution of stock where the relationship between the original owner and the person subject to stock re-attribution no longer justifies the assertion of constructive ownership. I will detail these restrictions in future articles.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With US International Tax Law

If you own foreign assets, including foreign business entities, you have the daunting obligation to meet all of your complex US international tax compliance requirements; otherwise, you may have to face the wrath of the IRS in the form of high noncompliance penalties. In order to successfully meet your US international tax compliance obligations, you need the professional help of Sherayzen Law Office.

We are an international tax law firm that specializes in US international tax compliance and offshore voluntary disclosures. We have successfully helped hundreds of US taxpayers worldwide with their US international tax compliance, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

New Form 1040-SR for Seniors | US Tax Lawyers & Attorneys

For the very first time, the IRS has created a new tax form called Form “1040-SR”. “SR” here standards for “seniors”. The idea is that the new form will be used by senior taxpayers. Let’s discuss Form 1040-SR in more detail.

Form 1040-SR: Reasons for Its Creation

The reason for the creation of Form 1040-SR was the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The Act obligated the IRS to create a new form for seniors.

Form 1040-SR: Eligibility

Taxpayers born before Jan. 2, 1955 (i.e. those who are 65 years old or older), have the option to file Form 1040-SR whether they are working, not working or retired. Married couples filing a joint return can use the new form regardless of whether one or both spouses are age 65 or older or retired.

Form 1040-SR: Differences from Regular Form 1040

The principal difference between the regular Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR is a larger font and better readability.

Otherwise, all lines and checkboxes on the new form mirror the Form 1040, and both forms use all the same attached schedules and forms. The new form allows income reporting from other sources common to seniors such as investment income, Social Security and distributions from qualified retirement plans, annuities or similar deferred-payment arrangements. Both forms use the same “building block” approach introduced last year that can be supplemented with additional Schedules 1, 2 and 3 as needed.

Many taxpayers with basic tax situations can file Form 1040 or 1040-SR with no additional schedules. However, taxpayers with international tax exposure will most likely need additional schedules.

Seniors can use Form 1040-SR to file their 2019 federal income tax return, which is normally due on April 15, 2020 but has been extended to July 15, 2020 because of the Coronavirus. The revised 2019 Form 1040 Instructions cover both versions of Form 1040.

Seniors With Foreign Assets and Foreign Income Still Need to Comply With US International Tax Requirements

Sherayzen Law Office wishes to warn seniors that using Form 1040-SR does not relieve seniors of their obligation to comply with US international tax reporting requirements concerning their foreign assets and foreign income.

US tax residents must disclose their worldwide income on their US tax returns even if they are filing Form a 1040-SR this year. Similarly, all US international information returns must be filed with the senior version of Form 1040. Finally, foreign accounts must be disclosed not only on FBAR, but also on Schedule B of Form 1040-SR and possibly Form 8938.

If you have undisclosed foreign assets and foreign income for prior years, should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with the offshore voluntary disclosure of your past noncompliance with US international tax reporting requirements. We have successfully helped hundreds of US taxpayers resolve their prior US tax noncompliance issues, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

§267 Family Attribution | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

In a previous article, I introduced the constructive ownership rules of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §267. Today, I would like to discuss one of them in more detail – §267 family attribution.

§267 Family Attribution: General Rule

The §267 family attribution rule is described in §267(c)(2). It states that, for the purposes of determining whether an individual is a related party under §267, this individual is considered as a constructive owner of stocks owned, directly or indirectly, by or for his family.

§267 Family Attribution: Who is a Family Member

The critical question for §267(c)(2) is the definition of family. §267(c)(4) provides the answer to this question: “the family of an individual shall include only his brothers and sisters (whether by the whole or half blood), spouse, ancestors, and lineal descendants.”

Under Treas. Reg. §1.267(c)-1(a)(4), if any such family relationship was formed through legal adoption, such adoption is given full legal force for the purposes of §267(c)(2). “Ancestors” here include parents and grandparents; it appears that great-grandparents should also be family members for the purposes of §267 family member attribution. Id. The term “lineal descendants” includes children and grandchildren. Id.

Neither §267 and relevant Treasury regulations contain any reference to aunts and uncles. There is, however, a reason to believe that aunts and uncles are not family members for the purpose of §267(c)(2). This argument is based on the fact that, prior to its repeal in 2004, the definition of family in §544(a)(2) (which was part of the foreign personal holding company provisions) was identical to that of §267(c)(4). The IRS held in Rev. Rul. 59-43 that aunts and uncles are not family members for the purposes of §544(a)(2); hence, the same logic should apply to §267(c)(2).

Furthermore, neither step-parents nor step-children are family members for the purposes of §267(c)(2) (see Rev. Rul. 71-50 and DeBoer v. Commissioner, 16 T.C. 662 (1951), aff’d per curiam, 194 F.2d 289 (2d Cir. 1952)). Based on Tilles v. Commissioner, 38 B.T.A. 545 (1938), aff’d, 113 F.2d 907 (8th Cir. 1940), nieces or nephews are also not family members. Nor are the in-laws.

§267 Family Attribution: Attribution and Limitations

Under the §267 family attribution rule, any family member will be the constructive owner of any other family member’s stocks. This will be the case even if the person to whom the stock ownership is attributed has no direct or even indirect ownership of stock in the corporation (see Reg. §1.267(c)-1(a)(2)).

On the other hand, §267(c)(5) prevents the double-attribution of stock. In other words, a stock constructively owned under the family attribution rules may not be owned by another person under §267(c)(2). For example, if stock ownership is attributed to an individual’s wife under §267(c)(2), §267(c)(5) prevents further attribution of stock ownership to the wife’s mother.

§267 Family Attribution: Other Doctrines Should Be Considered

It is important to emphasize that a lawyer should always be on the lookout for other doctrines which may intervene with the attribution under §267(c)(2). For example, where a wife transfers property to her husband in anticipation of the sale of that property by the husband to her brother, §267(c)(5) double-attribution limitation may be ignored by the application of the “substance over form” principle by a court. The “step transaction” doctrine should always be a concern in such transactions.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With US Tax Law

US tax law is extremely complex. An ordinary person will simply get lost in this labyrinth of tax rules, exceptions and requirements. Once you get into trouble with US tax law, it is much more difficult and expensive to extricate yourself from it due to high IRS penalties.

This is why it is important to contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with US tax law as soon as possible. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to successfully resolve their US tax compliance and US tax planning issues. We can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

November 21 2019 BSU Seminar in Minsk, Belarus | International Tax News

On November 21, 2019, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, an international tax attorney and founder of Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd., conducted a seminar at the Belarusian State University Law School (the “2019 BSU Seminar”) in Minsk, Belarus. Let’s explore the 2019 BSU Seminar in more detail.

2019 BSU Seminar

2019 BSU Seminar: Topic and Attendance

The topic of the seminar was “Unique Aspects of the US International Tax System”. The seminar was well-attended (more than 80 attendees) by the students of the Belarusian State University (“BSU”), BSU law school faculty and attorneys from the Minsk City Bar Association.

The seminar with the follow-up Q&A session lasted close to two and a half hours.

2019 BSU Seminar Part I: Mr. Sherayzen Biography As Illustration of a Successful Career of an International Tax Attorney

The first part of the seminar was devoted to the discussion of Mr. Sherayzen’s legal career. He commenced by describing his educational path: a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, History and Global Studies with Summa Cum Laude honors and a Juris Doctor degree in Law with Cum Laude honors from the University of Minnesota Law School. Then, Mr. Sherayzen discussed how he acquired the passion for US international tax law, founded Sherayzen Law Office at the end of the year 2005 and developed his career as a successful international tax attorney.

At that point, Mr. Sherayzen described his main specialities in US international tax law: (1) offshore voluntary disclosure of foreign assets and foreign income; (2) IRS international tax audits; (3) US tax compliance concerning foreign gifts and foreign inheritance; (4) US tax compliance concerning US information returns, including FBAR and FATCA compliance; and (5) US international tax planning.

2019 BSU Seminar Part II: Discussion of Eight Unique Characteristics of the US International Tax Law

The second pat of the seminar was devoted to the long discussion of eight main unique characteristics of US international tax law. Mr. Sherayzen commenced this part with the concept of “Voluntary Compliance” and its significance for a taxpayer’s personal liability for the accuracy of his IRS submissions. Then, the attorney discussed the enormous complexity and extremely invasive nature of US international tax law. Mr. Sherayzen also separately emphasized the potentially huge penalty exposure as the fourth characteristic of the US international tax law, specifically referring to FBAR penalties.

The attorney continued the discussion with the description of the worldwide reach of the US tax jurisdiction. Here, he used the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) as an example.

Then, Mr. Sherayzen described the obscurity that surrounds many US international tax provisions and explained how such obscurity presents problems and opportunities for US taxpayers. The attorney concluded the second part of the 2019 BSU seminar with the discussion of the flexibility of US international tax system and how the US tax system should be considered a source of endless opportunities to knowledgeable US international tax attorneys and their clients.

2019 BSU Seminar Part III: Basic Unique Principles of US International Tax System

The next part of the seminar focused on the basic principles of the US international tax system. Mr. Sherayzen organized this part from the perspective of how US taxpayers should declare their foreign assets and taxable income. The structure of this part was based on answering three questions: “who”, “what” and “when”.

The first question was: who should declare their foreign assets and pay taxes on their income? In this context, Mr. Sherayzen defined the concept of “US tax residency”. He further emphasized that non-resident aliens who are not US tax residents may still need to file non-resident US tax returns with the IRS.

The next question was: what income is subject to US taxation and what assets should be declared to the IRS? Here, Mr. Sherayzen describes the most fundamental principle of US international tax law that applies to US tax residents – the worldwide income taxation requirement. He also emphasized that US tax residents must declare on their US international information returns virtually all classes of their foreign assets with the exception of directly-owned real estate.

Then, as part of his discussion of US tax responsibilities of non-residents (for tax purposes), the attorney introduced the “source of income” rules used to characterize income as US-source income or foreign-source income. He provided the audience with the basic rules concerning sourcing of bank interest, dividends, earned income, rental income and royalties.

The final question was: when should the tax be paid on income? In this context, Mr. Sherayzen explained the concept of “realized income” and the general principle that income becomes taxable when it is realized for US tax purposes. He also described the anti-deferral regimes and the Section 250 full participation exemption as exceptions to the general principle of income recognition.

2019 BSU Seminar Part IV: International Information Returns and Conclusion

During the final part of the seminar, Mr. Sherayzen briefly discussed the most important US international information returns. He concluded his lecture by re-stating that US international tax provisions reflect the reality of US position in the world economy and other countries should understand this basic fact before they attempt to copy any US international tax provisions.

2019 Minsk Seminar: US International Corporate Tax Reform | GILTI & FDII

On August 28, 2019, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, the owner and founder of Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd, gave a seminar at Minsk City Bar Association (“MCBA”) in Minsk, Belarus. The focus of the seminar was on the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“2017 TCJA” or “2017 tax reform”) changes in the US international corporate tax law. Let’s discuss this 2019 Minsk seminar in more detail.

2019 Minsk Seminar: Organizational Aspects

The 2019 Minsk seminar was held at a location owned by MCBA in Minsk, Belarus. The seminar was well-attended by Minsk lawyers of various specializations, not just tax attorneys. Mr. Sherayzen conducted the seminar in the Russian language.

2019 Minsk Seminar: Structure of the Seminar

The seminar consisted of four parts: introduction to Sherayzen Law Office’s international tax practice, discussion of five important concepts of US international tax law, explanation of certain aspects of US international business tax law prior to the 2017 tax reform and the 2017 TCJA changes to US international corporate tax law. Throughout the seminar, Mr. Sherayzen made certain digressions into individual international tax law as well as general business tax law in order to better explain certain aspects of the 2017 tax reform to the audience.

2019 Minsk Seminar: Sherayzen Law Office International Tax Practice

During the seminar, Mr. Sherayzen introduced his law firm, Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd., to the audience. He explained that the focus of his practice is on US international tax law. After explaining what “US international tax law” meant, the attorney described the four main sub-areas of his practice: offshore voluntary disclosures, IRS international tax audits, annual compliance and international tax planning.

2019 Minsk Seminar: Five Concepts

After describing his practice, Mr. Sherayzen discussed in detail five relevant concepts of US international tax law. He first introduced the concept of “US tax residency” and generally described the categories of US tax residents. In response to a question from an attendee, the attorney distinguished US tax residency from immigration residency.

Then, Mr. Sherayzen discussed the principle of worldwide income taxation of US tax residents. The fact that US tax residents must report their worldwide income even if they reside overseas caused consternation among some attendees.

The discussion of the concept of income recognition resulted in a lively exchange between the speaker and the audience. At that point, Mr. Sherayzen alluded that this topic would be relevant to the his explanation of the anti-deferral regimes during the second part of his lecture.

The rest of this part of the seminar focused on the taxation powers of the US congress and the source of income rules. The attorney introduced certain general source-of-income rules, but warned about the enormous amount of exceptions in this area of law.

2019 Minsk Seminar: Pre-Tax Reform US International Corporate Tax Law

Mr. Sherayzen adopted a general historical approach to the explanation of US international corporate tax law prior to the 2017 TCJA. He commenced with a description of the progression of law since the 1920s, explaining the incentives that existed for the accumulation of cash overseas. Then, the attorney discussed the modifications to the law enacted by Congress throughout the years in order to combat tax avoidance by US corporations.

At that point, Mr. Sherayzen introduced the two main anti-deferral regimes: Subpart F rules and PFIC rules. He explained these regimes in a general manner, warning the audience that there were many specific rules and exceptions to these general rules. The attorney also discussed why these two anti-deferral regimes failed to stop tax avoidance and the continued accumulation of corporate cash in foreign subsidiaries.

2019 Minsk Seminar: 2017 Tax Reform

The discussion of the 2017 TCJA consisted of three parts: (1) reasons for the reform; (2) new rules to combat tax avoidance; and (3) tax incentives with respect to returning production to the United States and exporting from the United States.

After introducing the audience to the historical and political context in which 2017 TCJA was enacted, Mr. Sherayzen discussed the new tax avoidance prevention rules, focusing on the Section 965 tax and Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (“GILTI”) tax. Then, the attorney explained the new tax incentives introduced by the 2017 tax reform, including lower corporate tax rates, full participation exemption and Foreign-Derived Intangible Income (“FDII”).

2019 Minsk Seminar: Conclusion

At the end of the seminar, there was an extensive Q&A session. Questions ranged from re-classification of shareholder loans during an offshore voluntary disclosure to certain aspect of the 2017 tax reform and its impact on corporate restructuring.