Highlights Of The Latest Republican Tax Reform Plan

President Trump unveiled his latest framework for tax reform, which stems from a collaborative effort by the so-called “Big Six,” which includes members of the Trump administration and Senate and House leaders.

The following is a quick summary of some of the main provisions of the plan, which have potential consequences for U.S. expat individuals: Read More

Tax Reform Framework Observations

On September 27, the “Big 6″* released their tax reform framework. It doesn’t add much more than we have known for the past 16 months other than:

  • Top corporate rate is 20% rather than President Trump’s 15%. The 20% rate should help us be more competitive internationally, particularly along with a shift from a worldwide system to a territorial one (15% would be better, other than for the budget effect).
  • The individual brackets will be 12%, 25% and 35% and perhaps something higher than 35%. In April, President Trump suggested 10%, 25% and 35% while last June the House Republicans suggested 12%, 25% and 33%. Today’s lowest bracket (other than zero) is 10%. Seems odd to try to sell tax cuts with a higher lowest rate, but the effect also depends on where the brackets start and end and a few other provisions.

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IRS Budget Cuts Results In Fewer Criminal Tax Investigations

Criminal investigations by the IRS reached their lowest levels over the past five years last year because of a reduction in IRS resources, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The office said there were “unfavorable trends” in criminal investigations of businesses due to declining resources, like budget challenges, which resulted in attrition of field special agents, in a report on trends over the past five years that the office made public on September 18, 2017. Read More

IRS Ransomware Scam – Keep Taxpayers Safe

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued an urgent warning about a new scheme targeting taxpayers. The scheme, which IRS Commissioner John Koskinen called “a new twist on an old scheme” involves a bogus email which impersonates the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage.

The scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the FBI. The email urges recipients to click on a link to download a questionnaire allegedly from the FBI. The email implies that the questionnaire is required as part of changes in the law focused on tax compliance. The regs referenced in the email are bogus, and the link doesn’t click through to a questionnaire. Instead, the link downloads ransomware. Read More

Reminder To CA Manufacturers: Sales Tax Exemption!

Remember when the California Manufacturing Sales Tax Exemption first came into fruition, on July 1, 2014? It seems like so long ago. But maybe it’s a good time to remind companies about this useful partial exemption available to manufacturing companies.

What exactly is this exemption?

It allows certain manufacturers and biotech companies to exempt a portion of California sales and use tax on purchases of qualified equipment used in manufacturing and R&D (research and development). Read More

Did Harvey Wash Away Years Of Unfiled Tax Info?

Hurricane Harvey has been devastating for many Texans. It could prove to be even more devastating if you haven’t filed your income tax returns in several years and you lost your important papers during the storm.

Even if Harvey wiped out your important papers, your tax filing delinquency will not be forgotten by the IRS. Read More

Who Should Get A Rate Cut In Tax Reform?

Annette Nellen

For the past few years, the focus of federal tax reform has been on reducing the corporate statutory rate from 35% down to 25% (H.R. 1 (113rd Congress, Camp)), 20% (House Republican blueprint of June 2016) or 15% (Trump 1-pager). The rationale for a corporate rate cut is that ever since we last reduced the top corporate rate from 46% to 34% with the Tax Reform Act of 1986, other industrialized countries did the same (in 1993 the rate was increased to 35%). You can see from this OECD data that most countries have a lower rate, although France is at 34.43%. Read More

Italy’s Tax Issues Guidance On Taxation Of Neo-Tax Residents

Marco Rossi, Italy, Tax

With Circular 17/E of May 23, 2017, Italy’s Tax Agency provided administrative guidance on the interpretation and application of the provisions on the elective preferential tax regime for Italian new-tax resident individuals.

New article 24-bis of Italy’s Unified Income Tax Code, enacted with Law n. 232 of December 2016, provides that foreign-resident individuals who establish their tax residency in Italy, after having been resident in a foreign country for at least nine of the previous ten tax years, may elect to pay a fixed-amount tax of euro 100,000 on all of their foreign source income, in lieu of the ordinary Italian personal income tax. Domestic source income would remain subject to the ordinary personal income tax, charged at graduated rates on income tax brackets. Read More

EU Commission Proposes Tax System for Digital Sales

The European Commission is launching a new EU agenda to ensure that the digital economy is taxed in a fair and growth-friendly way. The Communication adopted by the Commission sets out the challenges Member States currently face when it comes to acting on this pressing issue and outlines possible solutions to be explored.

The aim is to ensure a coherent EU approach to taxing the digital economy that supports the Commission’s key priorities of completing the Digital Single Market and ensuring the fair land effective taxation of all companies. Today’s Communication paves the way for a legislative proposal on EU rules for the taxation of profits in the digital economy, as confirmed by President Juncker in the 2017 State of the Union. Those rules could be set out as early as spring 2018. Today’s paper should also feed into international work in this area, notably in the G20 and the OECD. Read More

Does Lawrence Spell The End Of FAPT Duress Clauses?

Long ago, drafters of foreign assets protection trusts (FAPT) realized that courts might hold grantors in contempt because they wouldn’t repatriate assets from a foreign jurisdiction into the U.S. To prevent this outcome, drafters included a “duress clause” in a FAPT document. This clause states that should a court threaten a U.S. grantor with contempt, he will not only be stripped of any power to control the trust, but will also lose all trust benefits.  This should allow the US grantor to argue that compliance with the repatriation order is impossible. The Anderson case, which I discussed in my last post, dealt a serious blow to this strategy. Lawrence v. Goldberg – the topic of this post – adds another nail in the “duress clause” coffin. Read More

IRS Appeals Reverts Back to Face To Face Appeals Conferences

Ron Marini

Internal Revenue Manual (IRM), blandly entitled “Conference Practices,” provides that ALL conferences will be held by telephone except under certain specific enumerated circumstances.

The mission of the IRS Appeals Division is to “resolve tax controversies, without litigation, on a basis which is fair and impartial to both the Government and the taxpayer and in a manner that will enhance voluntary compliance and public confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the Service.”  Read More