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Tag Archive for FATCA

You Are Personally Liable When You Have Signature Authority On Foreign Accounts

Kazim Qasim Foreign Accounts – Changes In Reporting

When most people think of foreign accounts, they think of ex-pat living overseas and utilizing banks for the accumulation of their payments.  However, many taxpayers may also be subject to the federal Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts or FBAR reporting without realizing it. The United States Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) 114 form is filed alongside taxpayers’ federal tax return and reports information for those that have a financial interest or signature authority over a foreign financial account.

Financial interest is defined as: directly owning an account; directly owning or indirectly owning more than fifty percent of a corporation’s voting power and/or shares when that corporation owns an account; directly owning or indirectly owning more than fifty percent of a partnership’s profits or capital when that partnership owns an account, or directly owning or indirectly owning more than fifty percent of the voting power, total value or the equity interest or assets, or interest in profits of any entity that owns an account.

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Your FATCA Registration Must Always Be Updated

IRS, FATCA, IRS News, FATCA Registration

Your FATCA registration must always be updated with the current name and email address of your responsible officer and point of contact(s) as soon as there is a change.

When you complete a FATCA registration, you are asked to include the name and contact information of (1) a Responsible Officer (“RO”) and (2) a Point of Contact (“POC”).  Specifically, among other information, you must provide their mailing and email addresses as well as their telephone numbers.  Read more

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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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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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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Taxes For U.S. Expatriates Living In Mexico

What U.S. citizens in Mexico need to know about their tax obligations?

Are you one of the more than 1 million expats living out your golden years in Mexico? Social Security and pension checks certainly go far in this tropical paradise, but there are two important things for US expats in Mexico to remember to do in the spring of each year: file a US tax return, file a Mexican tax return. You want to stay tax compliant no matter where you choose to spend your time. Read more

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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Appeals Court Finally Affirms One Million Dollar FBAR Penalty

Ephraim Moss, Tax Attorney

In a rather swift and harsh judgment, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision in favor of the IRS, which assessed an approximately $1.2 million penalty against a taxpayer for failing to disclose her financial interests in an overseas account.

The decision, U.S. v. Bussell, is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it shows the magnitude of penalty that can be reached, even with respect to an individual and a single foreign account and tax year (in this case, the relevant tax year was 2006). Second, it shows the type of taxpayer arguments that courts will likely reject when reviewing an FBAR penalty case. Read more

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

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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What Can We Learn From Paul Manafort’s Tax Problems?

What will the IRS do with Paul Manafort if the special prosecutor’s allegations are true? On October 30, 2017, the special prosecutor released an indictment against Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for President Trump, related to his actions as an unregistered agent of the Ukraine government. The prosecutors allege that Manafort had opened 16 foreign companies and conspired to money launder over $18 million of payment through these companies.

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IRS’ Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee Issues Annual Report Recommending FATCA Delays

The Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC) has issued its annual report for 2017, including numerous recommendations to the Internal Revenue Service on new and continuing issues in tax administration. The report includes a discussion on how to improve some processes, such as for penalties, abatement requests and levies, as well as business master file entity addresses. The report also recommended enhancements to Form W-9 and the truncation of Social Security numbers on Form W-2, IRC § 6050S and Form 1098-T reporting.

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