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Archive for John Richardson

The #FATCA Is Americans Abroad Are Subjected To A Far More Punitive Tax System Than Homeland Americans

JOHN RICHARDSON- FATCA, Form 3520-A

The purpose of this post is to continue the discussion generated by the “Open Letter To Democrats Abroad” (discussing the notion that “revenue neutrality” should be part of the “citizenship taxation” debate) and the “13 Reasons Why” (describing why Americans abroad are being forced to renounce U.S. citizenship.

Neither of those posts really described that fact that as ridiculous and unfair as “citizenship-based taxation” is, Americans abroad are “in effect” subject to a separate tax system than are Homeland Americans. A more extensive version of this post appeared at Tax Connections on March 13, 2019.

There are many instances where a U.S. citizen living abroad who earns his salary abroad, owns his assets abroad, has his pension abroad and is married to a non-U.S. spouse will pay higher U.S. taxes on income that is local to him than a comparable Homeland American would pay on income that is local to him.

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Treasury Should Be Proactive In Mitigating Prospective Foreign Trust And Other Form Problems

JOHN RICHARDSON On Foreign Trusts

What are the requirements for an arrangement to qualify as a “trust” under the Internal Revenue Code?

1. Definitions are found in Internal Revenue Code 7701.

2. Treasury Reg. 301.7701-4(a) defines a trust as for Internal Revenue Code purposes as:

“an arrangement created either by will or inter vivos declaration whereby trustees take title to property for the purpose of protecting and conserving it for the beneficiaries under the ordinary rules applied in chancery or probate courts . . . . Generally speaking, an arrangement will be treated as a trust under the Internal Revenue Code if it can be shown that the purpose of the arrangement is to vest in trustees responsibility for the protection and conservation of property for beneficiaries who cannot share in the discharge of this responsibility and, therefore, are not associates in a joint enterprise for the conduct of business for profit”

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13 Reasons Why I Committed Citizide AKA Renounced My US Citizenship

JOHN RICHARDSON

Introduction

On December 5, 2019 TaxConnections published our “Open Letter To Democrats Abroad” in which we argued that “revenue neutrality” should be irrelevant in moving from “citizenship-based taxation” to “residence-based taxation”. That post attracted a large number of comments from Americans abroad expressing the difficulties living under the citzenship-based taxation regime. The bottom line is that the United States is forcing expats to renounce their U.S. citizenship. Yes, its’ true. The comments reminded me of a post that appeared on my site in 2017. Settle in for the ride as you read the “13 Reasons Why …”

Guest post by a perfectly ordinary person who renounced U.S. citizenship for perfectly ordinary reasons

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Revenue Neutrality And A Move To Residence-based Taxation: Open Letter To Democrats Abroad

JOHN RICHARDSON

OPEN LETTER TO DEMOCRATS ABROAD

Democrats Abroad (DA) recently reached out to the Democratic presidential candidates to ask them about issues relevant to Americans living overseas. The questions DA posed and the responses it received can be accessed at this link:

https://www.democratsabroad.org/democrats_abroad_talks_with_the_candidates?fbclid=IwAR0TKNlkqnxPjdhQz22tUsnnBDotPiSR7NaRVm430LXvlZHma8FWF1HuhQs

We strongly applaud DA for this valuable initiative. But we believe that it is important—indeed, vital—to call out the framing of this question:

“Most Americans living abroad think that the time has come for Residency-Based Taxation, the principle guiding all other countries’ tax systems and a fix for numerous unjust burdens on Americans living and working abroad. There are bi-partisan, revenue-neutral proposals to implement RBT that include robust provisions to protect the law from abuse by tax evaders. All we need is a moment of leadership to get this done. Will you be that leader?”

We believe that it is a grave error to condition a move to residency-based taxation (RBT) upon a demonstration of revenue neutrality. Doing so would serve to perpetuate the immoral and unjust system in place today.

These are the reasons why:

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Survey Dispels Myth Of Wealthy Americans Abroad And Why Middle Class Americans Abroad Are Forced To Renounce U.S. Citizenship

John Richardson On FATCA

Introduction

This blog post features the research of Laura Snyder. It is (I believe) the single and most comprehensive study of (1) the U.S. legislation that is understood to apply to Americans abroad and (2) the disastrous impact this legislation has on them. To put it simply, Congress is forcing Americans Abroad to renounce their U.S. citizenship.

The bottom line is that for Americans Abroad:
“All Roads Lead To Renunciation!”

And now over to Laura Snyder with thanks.

“I Feel Threatened by My Very Identity:”

US Taxation and FATCA Survey

Introduction

In autumn 2018 I worked with a France-based association of Americans living overseas to organize an online survey addressing the topics of FATCA and US taxation. The survey was open for participation for a period of about six weeks, from late September to early November. The survey was conducted using the open source software LimeSurvey.

Approach and Methodology

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Naomi Osaka Does Not Automatically Relinquish U.S. Citizenship By Choosing Japanese Citizenship

John Richardson Japanese Citizenship

Citizenship is becoming more and more interesting. In my last post I wrote about Canada’s Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s U.S. citizenship. Theoretically, on October 21, 2019, Canada could have it’s first U.S. citizen Prime Minister. (Think of the extra pressure that the United States could bring to bear on Canada.)

The newsworthiness of U.S. citizenship continues. There has been much discussion of citizenship as a prerequisite to compete for countries in the Olympic games. It is being reported that tennis star Naomi Osaka , a dual Japan/U.S. citizen is complying with a Japanese law that requires her to choose either U.S. or Japanese citizenship. A number of media outlets are reporting that Ms. Osaka is relinquishing U.S. citizenship. Is this really true? Interestingly the Toronto Globe and Mail initially reported that:

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Lawsuit Alleges Section 965 Transition Tax Is Unconstitutional

John Richardson On Sec 965 Transition Tax

A lawsuit alleging that the Section 965 transition tax is unconstitutional affords the opportunity to write Part 33 in my series of posts about the U.S. Transition Tax.

Part 22 of this series included a discussion of a paper by Sean P. McElroy which argued that the Section 965 repatriation tax was unconstitutional for the following reasons explained in the abstract:

Abstract

In late 2017, Congress passed the first major tax reform in over three decades. This Essay considers the constitutional concerns raised by Section 965 (the “Mandatory Repatriation Tax”), a central provision of the new tax law that imposes a one-time tax on U.S.-based multinationals’ accumulated foreign earnings.

First, this Essay argues that Congress lacks the power to directly tax wealth without apportionment among the states. Congress’s power to tax is expressly granted, and constrained, by the Constitution. While the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment mooted many constitutional questions by expressly allowing Congress to tax income from whatever source derived, this Essay argues the Mandatory Repatriation Tax is a wealth tax, rather than an income tax, and is therefore unconstitutional.

Second, even if the Mandatory Repatriation Tax is found to be an income tax (or, alternatively, an excise tax), the tax is nevertheless unconstitutionally retroactive. While the Supreme Court has generally upheld retroactive taxes at both the state and federal level over the past few decades, the unprecedented retroactivity of the Mandatory Repatriation Tax — and its potential for taxing earnings nearly three decades after the fact — raises unprecedented Fifth Amendment due process concerns.

It appears that the plaintiffs in this case are making precisely these two arguments.

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Presumptions Of Tax Residency In A FATCA World

John Richardson

Introduction – All The World Is A Multiple Choice Test

Q.1 – A tax resident of the United States is taxable on his worldwide income. According to the Internal Revenue Code of the United States, which one of the following is NOT a tax resident of the United States of America?

(A) A Congresswoman “Born In The USA”, head of her household, who does not and has never had a U.S. Passport
(B) An unmarried Green Card Holder who has never filed an FBAR who lives in El Paso Texas
(C) A fifty year old U.S. citizen who is divorced has never set foot in the United States, doesn’t have a U.S. Social Security Number and lives in and pays full taxes in Germany
(D) A citizen of only Canada who lives four months a year in Florida with his U.S. citizen wife, in a house he owns where he parks a car he owns with Florida license plates
(E) A citizen of Grenada who lives full time in the USA with an E1 visa operating a fast food franchise

For help in finding the answer see …

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IRS Provides Limited Tax Relief For Certain Individuals Renounced(ing) After March 18, 2010

John Richardson On Renouncing U.S. Citizenship

In what appears to be a response to how FATCA issues affect “accidental Americans” living outside the United States, the IRS has introduced a procedure providing limited tax relief, penalty relief and certainty for accidental Americans who need to renounce U.S. citizenship in a FATCA world. The problem is described in this recent article by Helen Burggraf at American Expat Finance. Note that March 18, 2010 was the date that the HIRE Act (of which FATCA was a revenue offset) was enacted – making it clear that this relief is tied to FATCA and NOT to “citizenship-based taxation” per se.

In a nutshell, it appears (I will read this in more detail again) to say that Individuals who:

1. Have NEVER filed a 1040 U.S. tax return

2. Have relinquished/renounced U.S. citizenship after March 18, 2010

3. File the five tax years in the year prior to relinquishment

4. File a tax return in the year of relinquishment

5. Have a net worth of less than 2 million USD at the time of relinquishment AND at the time of filing

6. Have a total of less than $25,000.00 in U.S. tax liabilities over the five year period

7. Certify that their failure to file was non-willful.

can file, avoid paying the U.S. taxes owed and NOT be a covered expatriate.

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Be Form Warned And Form Armed: The Easiest Way To Receive A Form 3520A Penalty Would Be To File A Form 3520

John Richardson

There is evidence from both tax practitioners and from individuals that Americans abroad are suffering from a “Form 3520A” penalty epidemic. Some of the best discussion of both the scope and technicalities of this problem may be found at Tax Connections. See particularly the posts herehere and here. (Mr. Carter’s original post was also reproduced at American Expat Finance.) The posts have attracted commentary from a number of tax professionals. The IRS Taxpayer Advocate has been invited to intervene.

“Tax Compliant” Americans Abroad are just a penalty waiting to happen!

Americans abroad are potentially required a very large number of IRS forms. My point is simple. It’s the “possible” requirement to file International Information Returns that makes Americans abroad so vulnerable to the IRS penalty regime. As I commented at Tax Connections:

The only reason that the Form 3520A penalty was imposed was because a Form 3520 was filed!

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The Newest 2019 IRS Expatriation Compliance Campaign

John Richardson

On July 19, 2019 the IRS announced six new compliance initiatives.

Of particular interest to U.S. citizens and permanent residents (Green Card holders) is what is described as:

Expatriation

U.S. citizens and long-term residents (lawful permanent residents in eight out of the last 15 taxable years) who expatriated on or after June 17, 2008, may not have met their filing requirements or tax obligations. The Internal Revenue Service will address noncompliance through a variety of treatment streams, including outreach, soft letters, and examination.

What is expatriation?

From a tax perspective, expatriation is the process of ceasing to be a “tax resident” of the United States. Both U.S. citizens and permanent residents are taxable by the United States on their worldwide income. A U.S. citizen expatriates by relinquishing U.S. citizenship. A permanent resident expatriates by either surrendering their Green Card or making an appropriate election under a tax treaty.

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The Moore Case – A Recent Form #T1135 Taxpayer Victory In Canada

John Richardson Form T1135

This post has been submitted by Toronto, Canada lawyer John Richardson and is about the recent Moore Case in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Mr. Richardson states “It is a great example of taxpayer victory in resisting the draconian and unreasonable Form T1135 penalties in Canada.”

The taxpayer was employed by GE Capital Canada and participated in their employer sponsored share purchase plan as provided by the company. When GE Capital Canada was acquire by Wells Fargo Canada this ended the taxpayers participation in the share purchase plan. Mr Moore was given the option to sell his shares or place them into a Canadian Brokerage firm. He chose the brokerage firm. It was only after this change that he learned he should be filing a Form T1135.

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