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So You Have Received A Bank Letter Asking You About Your Tax Residence For Common Reporting Standards (CRS) Or Foreign Accounting Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Part 4

John Richardson - Part IV

Part F – A “U.S. citizen” cannot use a “tax treaty tie breaker” to break U.S. “tax residence”. How then does a “U.S. citizen” cease to be a “U.S. tax resident”?

  1. I am a U.S. citizen. I do not live in the United States. I live in Canada. I am a Canadian citizen. How do I stop being subject to the all of the FBAR and other reporting rules, tax rules (including PFIC),  life restrictionsand inability to effectively invest and plan for retirement imposed by the Internal Revenue Code?
  2. Yourelinquish U.S. citizenship. Please note that a “renunciation” is one form of “relinquishment”. In general, the date of relinquishment of U.S. citizenship is more important than the form of relinquishment of U.S. citizenshipA Certificate of Loss of Nationality (“CLN”) may or may not (depending on the date of relinquishment) be necessary to cease to be subject to U.S. taxation.
  3. In simple terms, where do I get information about the process of renouncing U.S. citizenship?
  4. You can start here.
  5. What are the tax consequences of relinquishing or renouncing U.S. citizenship?
  6. The Internal Revenue Code describes the tax consequences of relinquishing/renouncing U.S. citizenship. See Internal Revenue Code S. 877A (the “Exit Tax” rules).

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So You Have Received A Bank Letter Asking You About Your Tax Residence For Common Reporting Standards (CRS) Or Foreign Accounting Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Part 2

Part B – The Combined FATCA/CRS Letter

This letter is particularly worrisome for Canadian residents (whether Canadian citizens or not) who were either born in the United States or are (otherwise) U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents (AKA Green Card Holders). Could this mean that they would be required to apply for a U.S. Social Security number?

What follows is a sample of a letter …

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FATCA Historical (R)evolution:  The War On U.S. Criminals With Foreign Bank Accounts; A Subsidiary Of The Wars On Everything Else (Part II) Updated

FATCA has been used primarily as a tool to increase foreign bank and financial account reporting by establishing a worldwide-financial-industry informant system.  The tool of FATCA has increased reporting, but nearly all the money collected is FBAR penalty revenue, which disproportionately harms benign actors.

In FACTA Historical (R)evolution Part I, I argued that in light of JCTX-5-10,[1] Congress failed to engage in the due-diligence necessary to reasonably relate FATCA to the collection of tax revenue lost through “tax schemes” and “tax evasion” by U.S. persons with foreign financial institution accounts.  The U.S. Congress is a legislative fact-finder charged with determining whether evidence as presented negates a legislative policy-purpose.  If the policy underlying a piece of legislation is negated, then the purpose of the legislation is no longer tied to the policy-purpose.  In this case, JCTX-5-10 offered a direct answer to the question of how much revenue would be generated by FATCA.  Therefore, Congress knew FATCA would collect less than one-half of one-percent of what it was supposed to collect.[2]  Congress also knew that even after ten-years, FATCA would fail to pay for HIRE.  Bluntly, the stated policy-purpose for FATCA could not be achieved by FATCA.  So, why was it enacted and why does it remain the law?  FATCA has been used primarily as a tool to increase foreign bank and financial account reporting by establishing a worldwide-financial-industry informant system designed to curtail the use of secret foreign bank accounts for illegal purposes, including tax evasion, securities manipulation, insider trading, evasion of Federal Reserve margin limitations, storing and laundering funds from illegal activities, and acquiring control of U.S. industries without detection by the SEC.[3]

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FATCA Historical (R)Evolution: Legislative History Reveals That FATCA Had Little To Do With Collecting Tax Revenue From U.S. Persons Evading Tax Through Offshore Bank Accounts (Part I)

Prior to the enactment of FATCA, Congress and the Executive were in possession of concrete-evidence revealing FATCA would fail to collect any meaningful amount of tax-revenue from U.S. persons evading tax through offshore financial center holdings.  Congress should have halted enactment of HIRE – if in fact, FATCA’s purpose was to collect tax-revenue from offshore tax evasion by U.S. persons.

The United States Congress used estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) as the foundation for supporting the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), contained in the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE).

HIRE was a tax expenditure designed to encourage U.S. small business to hire new employees.  HIRE included two tax expenditures of note: a payroll tax exemption to employers and a one-thousand dollar tax credit for employers hiring employees between February of 2010 and January of 2011.[1]  FATCA was included in HIRE because the tax revenue collected from FATCA was supposed to offset the tax expenditures authorized by HIRE.[2]  The tax revenue FATCA was said to be targeting was from U.S. persons with foreign bank accounts who were evading tax.

In July of 2008, and around the time of the UBS scandal and the Global Financial Crisis the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing and issued a report entitled “Tax Haven Banks and U.S. Tax Compliance”.[3]  The underlying justification for FATCA as a substantial revenue raiser rested on a single statement found in a footnote in the 2008 hearing report:  “Each year, the United States loses an estimated $100B in tax revenue due to offshore tax abuses.”[4]  In a 2009 follow-up report, the Ways and Means’ Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures held a hearing entitled:  Banking Secrecy Practices and Wealthy Americans.  During this hearing, the Senate increased the U.S. tax revenue loss-estimate by 50 percent stating: “Contributing to the annual tax gap are offshore tax schemes responsible for lost tax revenues totaling an estimated $150B each year.”[5]  The estimates entered into the record during these hearings measured the offshore tax gap, or the amount of tax revenue[6] that would be collected if offshore tax evasion by U.S. persons holding foreign bank accounts was ended.  One month, before HIRE was signed into law by President Obama, new evidence revealed the offshore tax gap was nowhere near as large as previously thought.

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IRS Rules: FATCA Reporting For U.S. Taxpayers

IRS, U.S. Citizens Reporting Foreign Assets, TaxConnections

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is an important development in U.S. efforts to combat tax evasion by U.S. persons holding accounts and other financial assets offshore. The Treasury Department and the IRS continue to develop guidance concerning FATCA. For current and more in-depth information, please visit FATCA.

Under FATCA, certain U.S. taxpayers holding financial assets outside the United States must report those assets to the IRS on Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets. There are serious penalties for not reporting these financial assets (as described below). This FATCA requirement is in addition to the long-standing requirement to report foreign financial accounts on FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) (formerly TD F 90-22.1).

FATCA will also require certain foreign financial institutions to report directly to the IRS information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. The reporting institutions will include not only banks, but also other financial institutions, such as investment entities, brokers, and certain insurance companies. Some non-financial foreign entities will also have to report certain of their U.S. owners.

Therefore, if you set up a new account with a foreign financial institution, it may ask you for information about your citizenship. FATCA provides special (and lessened) reporting requirements about the U.S. account holders of certain financial institutions that do not solicit business outside their country of organization and that mainly service account holders resident within it. In order to qualify for this favorable treatment, however, the local foreign financial institution cannot discriminate by declining to open or maintain accounts for U.S. citizens who reside in the country where it is organized.

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Supreme Court Decision Further Confirms FATCA Is Here To Stay

One of the key pieces of legislation used by the U.S. government in its effort to combat tax evasion abroad is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). To the surprise of many, FATCA remained completely untouched by Trump’s sweeping tax reform passed late last year.

A recent decision by the Supreme Court further evidences that FATCA likely will not be repealed or amended any time soon. Last month, a legal challenge to FATCA was thwarted when the United States Supreme Court refused to review the Sixth Circuit Court’s decision affirming a lower court ruling which dismissed the case brought against FATCA.

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Options Available For U.S. Taxpayers With Undisclosed Foreign Financial Assets

The implementation of FATCA and the ongoing efforts of the IRS and the Department of Justice to ensure compliance by those with U.S. tax obligations have raised awareness of U.S. tax and information reporting obligations with respect to non-U.S. investments.  Because the circumstances of taxpayers with non-U.S. investments vary widely, the IRS offers the following options for addressing previous failures to comply with U.S. tax and information return obligations with respect to those investments:

  1. Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program;
    Note: The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) is closing. Refer to the OVDP FAQs for an outline of the sunset provisions.
  2. Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures;
  3. Delinquent FBAR submission procedures; and
  4. Delinquent international information return submission procedures.

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What US Expats Who Receive Form W-9 from a Foreign Bank Should Do

Over the last few years, millions of US expats have been asked by their foreign banks and investment firms to fill out IRS form W-9. Receiving form W-9 often causes surprise or alarm. While there’s no need to panic, there are a number of things that expats should know if they receive form W-9, to ensure that they don’t create any problems in the future. Read more

Filing IRS Back Taxes for US Expat Americans

American expats are still required to file a US federal tax return to the IRS. As expats also have to comply with the tax rules in the country where they live, it’s counterintuitive but nonetheless important that they file US taxes too.
Taxing US citizens abroad, or Citizenship (rather than Residence) Based Taxation, dates back to the Civil War, but until recently the IRS was powerless to enforce expat taxes, so few expats filed.

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deVere Group CEO Demands ‘Firm Action’ from Secretary Mnuchin on FATCA

The CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial services organizations has co-written an assertive open letter to the U.S. Treasury Secretary to demand the Trump administration scrap the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

Nigel Green, together with Jim Jatras, his co-leader of the Campaign to Repeal FATCA, have sent the five-page letter to the Honorable Steve Mnuchin as, after a year in office, nothing has been done to abandon the “worst law most Americans have never heard of.” This despite promises in the election campaign that, should they win, the Republicans would “call for repeal” of FATCA.

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What US Expats Can Learn From the Paul Manafort Indictment

President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, along with his associate Richard Gates, were indicted last week, with a long list of criminal charges filed against them.

The charges include engaging in conspiracies against the United States and to launder money, making false statements, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, and failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts.

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