On July 12, the U.S. Treasury released its 2016 Model Tax Treaty. I suspect that people will interpret this in terms of how it affects their individual tax situations. This gives a huge clue with respect to information exchange and how the U.S. views “double taxation,” citizenship-based taxation, and related issues.
Archive for John Richardson
The United States has many tax treaties with many nations. As a general principle the “savings clause” prevents Americans abroad from having the benefit of treaty provisions. That said, there are situations where a U.S. citizen abroad can benefit from the specific provisions of a specific treaty.
This post is a continuation to my recent post: “The Internal Revenue Code does not explicitly define “citizen”, “citizenship” or require “citizenship-based taxation“.
It is widely understood that the United States Internal Revenue Code requires that “U.S. citizens” are subject to U.S. taxation wherever they may live in the world. Although this is true, the Internal Revenue Code:
- Does NOT explicitly say that U.S. citizens are subject to U.S. taxation on their world income wherever they reside; and
- Does NOT explicitly define the term “citizen” or “U.S. citizen”. (This contrasts with the the terms: “U.S. Person”, “Permanent Resident”, “Substantial presence”, etc. that ARE explicitly defined in the Internal Revenue Code.) This means that the starting point for the definition of “U.S. citizen” is in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and the United States Immigration and Nationality Act.
Some thoughts on each of these points…
The following is a response to comments made about an article written by Rachel Heller on medium.com titled, “Why I renounced my US citizenship (Hint: it’s not because I’m avoiding taxes!).” The article was well written, interesting and attracted responses from Homeland Americans. (It was reproduced here and attracted even more comments.) The comments from U.S. residents demonstrated again that they do NOT understand the problems experienced by Americans abroad.
Like many, I was saddened to learn of the death of Muhammad Ali. Most of the media discussion of Ali’s death focused on his boxing career; there was far less attention paid to Ali’s refusal to accept induction into the United States military. This refusal led to his being stripped of his boxing license (why anyone would need a license to box is beyond me) and interestingly, the revocation of his passport (if you can’t box in America, we will prevent you from boxing outside America). Hmmm. Does Ali’s passport revocation remind you of any recent or past events?
Physical Presence As A Necessary Condition For Being A US “Resident” Under The Internal Revenue Code
Every country in the world with the exceptions of Eritrea and the United States claim tax jurisdiction based on “residence”. Although the tests for “residence” may differ, “residence based taxation” means that it is possible to sever your tax connection to a country by severing residence.
The nations of Eritrea and the United States impose taxation based Read more
Ted Cruz was born in 1971 in Canada. He was therefore born a Canadian citizen. He claims to have been born to a U.S. citizen mother and was therefore a U.S. citizen by birth. (Whether he qualifies as a “natural born citizen” is a different question.) As a Canadian citizen he had the right (prior to renouncing Canadian citizenship) to live in Canada. Had Mr. Cruz, moved back to Canada, he could have avoided the U.S. S. 877A Exit Tax. Incredible but true. It will be interesting to see whether Mr. Cruz regrets renouncing his Canadian citizenship. As you will see, by renouncing Canadian citizenship, Mr. Cruz surrendered is right to avoid the United States S. 877A Exit Tax.
Here is why …
The S. 877A Exit Tax rules in the Internal Revenue Code, are the most punitive in relation to U.S. citizens living outside the United Read more
This is a problem that I have dealt with a couple of times (at least) in the last few months. Sooner or later your contributions (no later than the year you turn 71) must cease. At that point your RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) savings must be converted to income. A RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund) is a popular way to convert that RRSP to income.
Just remember that by creating a RRIF you are opening a new account and will be subject to the FATCA inquisition. U.S. citizenship creates planning problems to be solved!
Distributions From Canadian RRSPs Are Subject To #Obamacare Surtax While Distributions From US Plans Exempt
Yes, you read right.
By way of background, Obamacare was financed in part by the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax (“NIIT”). At the risk of oversimplification, this is a tax on passive income. What those Canadians who are also “U.S. persons” need to know includes:
1. The NIIT is an instance of pure double taxation. It is believed by most practitioners that this tax CANNOT be offset by the usual foreign tax credit rules. (But, then again – maybe the NIIT is really a Social Security Tax and therefore NOT payable under the Canada U.S. Social Security Totalization Agreement.) Read more
Interview with GordonTLong.com – Citizenship based taxation, PFIC, the S. 877A Exit Tax and #Americansabroad
On May 22, 2015 I was interviewed by Gordon T. Long. There is NO way to discuss U.S. “citizenship taxation” (which is primarily “place of birth taxation”) without discussing the S. 877A Exit Tax rules. During the month of April 2015, I wrote a 14 part series on “How the S.877A rules affect Americans abroad“. The interview with Mr. Long serves as a good reminder (or if you don’t want to read the posts) on:
– what it means to be a “covered expatriate”
“Leaving the U.S. tax system – renounce or relinquish U.S. citizenship, What’s the difference?”
Renunciation is one form of relinquishment – It’s not the form of relinquishment, but the time of relinquishment
Tina Turner: What’s FBAR Got To Do With It?
“Washington Post, Tina Turner Formally ‘Relinquishes’ U.S. Citizenship:
This item just in via an “activity” report from the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, headlined “Soul Legend Relinquishes U.S. Citizenship.” Read more