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Tag Archive for Form 3520

Treasury Exempts Applicable “Tax-Favored Foreign Trusts” From The Form 3520… And Therefore Form 3520A Requirement

Form 3520 And Form 3520A

Introduction – A small step for forms, one giant leap for “formkind”

It’s true. Many Americans abroad will no longer have to file Form 3520 and Form 3520A to report their lives abroad! Early indications appear that many Americans will (assume their retirement vehicle does qualify as a trust) be required to report on Form 3520. This new initiative from Treasury a positive step in the right direction.

I have long thought that Treasury could solve many of the problems experienced by Americans abroad. Here is a wonderful example of Treasury taking the initiative to clarify the obvious:

Americans abroad do NOT use non-U.S. pension plans and non-U.S. tax-advantaged investing accounts to evade U.S. taxes. Hence, there is NO reason for the Form 3520 reporting requirement. This is an example of the tax compliance industry sitting down with Treasury, explaining a problem and getting a resolution. I suggest (and hope) that the same can be done for PFIC (Form 8621), Small Business Corporations (Form 5471) and other penalty-laden forms.

Yes, this announcement from Treasury in the form of RP 20-17 is a great achievement. Although it certainly doesn’t solve all the problems, it’s:

A small step for forms, one giant leap for “formkind”

The background to this problem – It starts in 1996 (same year as the beginning of the Exit Tax)…

Since 1996 Internal Revenue Code 6048 has required extensive reporting of almost any interaction with a foreign trust. Treasury has required that the reporting take place on Forms 3520 and 3520A. The forms are complex and subject to the draconian penalty regime described in Internal Revenue Code Section 6677. In order for an entity to be a foreign trust, it must be a trust. A “trust” for IRS purposes is defined by the Treasury Regulations as:

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Does Your Client Have A Foreign Trust? Is The Form 3520 Nightmare Happening To Your Tax Clients?

Gary Carter

(NOTE: This important article is reposted in case anyone missed it over the July 4th weekend. Is this happening to your tax clients?)

It was early on a Monday morning, and I dragged myself in after a long weekend of reg. buzzing and Code section perusing. I was not looking forward to the day. I played a message on my answering machine that made me want to return home and crawl back into bed. It was left in the middle of the previous night by a crazed and panicked client living in Norway. She had just gotten a CP15 Notice from the IRS that said she had been charged a penalty in the amount of $10,000 under Section 6677 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) for failure to file Form 3520-A, under the requirements of IRC Section 6048(b).

The client was the owner of a foreign trust, and I knew we had properly filed Form 3520, “Annual Return to Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts.” Foreign trusts with U.S. owners have the responsibility to file Form 3520-A, “Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner,” which few of them do. So since IRC Section 6048(b) requires the owner of a foreign trust to ensure that this happens, we attached “substitute” Form 3520-A to Form 3520, in accordance with the instructions to Form 3520. Form 3520 and the attached substitute Form 3520-A were filed in August, but we had filed an automatic extension for the client’s tax return, which, according to the instructions to Form 3520, also extended the filing date for Form 3520.

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U.S. Expatriates RESP Reporting Issues in Canada

Larry Stolberg

U.S. citizens (or even green cardholders) resident in Canada who are contributors (or a joint contributor) to their children’s RESP (Registered Educational Savings Plan) may have U.S. reporting issues.

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Forms Required By #Americansabroad 101 – The Explanation

John Richardson BNN

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.

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Beyond The FBAR – Everything You Never Wanted To Know About All of The Other International Reporting Forms (But Must)

With all of the focus on FBARs and Form 8938s these days, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the other IRS international reporting forms. Below is a list of other important international reporting forms that relate to foreign asset reporting along with their penalties.

(1) Form 3520, Annual Return to Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts: Under IRC § 6048, taxpayers must report various transactions involving foreign trusts, including creation of a foreign trust by a United States person, transfers of property from a United States person to a foreign trust, and receipt of distributions from foreign trusts. This return also reports the receipt of gifts from foreign entities under IRC § 6039F. The penalty for failing to file each one of these information Read more

So What’s The New Buzz On Foreign Bank Accounts?

When looking for a picture for this post, I came across this one and remembered my college English Professor. She really loved the term, “Freudian Slip” for some reason! All I knew then was that Sigmund Freud was the father of psychoanalysis but I never quite understood how that related to a Business English class, unless that was the Professor’s way of telling us we were driving her nuts! Now I know that the term, “Freudian Slip” is a “mistake in speech that shows what the speaker is truly thinking” or “to do what one is truly thinking about”.

No, this post is not about defining psychoanalytic terms, dare I say more interesting than tax stuff? Not quite, but this post is about the latest buzz from the Internal Revenue Service, about some situations US taxpayers having foreign accounts might be in and their Read more

OVDP Hotline Nixes Practical Use of New Streamlined Program

The inflexibility of the IRS in the offshore area is starting to get some professionals down. I am one of them, but there are some others voicing similar frustration.

Taxpayers and professionals alike, were very pleased when the IRS announced the new Streamlined procedures in mid-June. You can learn more about the new Procedures here.

It seemed that sensibility and reason were beginning to prevail over at the IRS! Finally, “benign actor” (as opposed to “bad actor”) taxpayers with undisclosed offshore assets, could obtain relief and come into tax compliance without driving themselves into both fiscal and physical bankruptcy. Read more

How To Treat Gifts And Bequests From Foreign (Non-US) Persons

If you are a US citizen or resident and you receive gifts or bequests (generally, an inheritance or gift of property by a Will) of money or other property from a foreign (non-US) person or entity, you may need to report these gifts on Form 3520, Annual Return to Report Transactions with Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts. Form 3520 is an information return, not a tax return. Many people receiving gifts or bequests get very confused. They mistakenly believe that they have to pay tax when they receive a gift or bequest. This is not the case – bona fide gifts or bequests are not subject to income tax in the hands of the recipient. This remains the case regardless of whether the person giving the gift is a US person or a foreign person. It remains the case regardless of the amount of the gift or bequest. Read more

Statute of Limitations Remains Open Forever For Any Return Which Fails to File An Associated Information Report!

Taxpayer spend some of their time monitoring when the statute of limitations expires for certain tax return exposure items. This means watching the calendar until you are clear of audit. Unless you skip filing taxes entirely, you might assume your risk of audit eventually passes.

Taxpayers with a unreported income from a foreign bank account find that this situation is tough to resolve. The safest approach is going into the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, although some clients opt for more aggressive approaches.

Failure to file any one of the various foreign information reporting forms (e.g. 5471, 3520, 8838, etc.) leaves the statute of limitations open for every item in the associated federal Read more

Rescued From The Brink of Insanity: Practical And Sound Advice For Making The Decision To Opt Out of The OVDI – Part II

Hypotheticals Demonstrating When Opting Out is Detrimental To the Taxpayer –

Under what circumstances might opting out of the OVDI be detrimental for the taxpayer? Below are two examples.

Example 3: Large Unreported Gain

Kevin is a U.S. citizen. In 2008, he opened a checking account in Country A with funds upon which U.S. taxes were previously paid. Kevin owned an apartment building in Country A that he sold in 2008. However, Kevin failed to report the gain from the sale of that building on his tax return. Read more