The background: The US Senate Finance Committee has begun hearings for the purpose of discussing further reform of the rules of International Tax. These reforms would appear to include raising the GILTI tax and raising US corporate tax rates in general. Each of these would have a massive negative effect on Americans abroad. The reasons are detailed in the rest of this post.
Bottom line: Americans abroad need to send their views (presumably objections) to the Committee. The rest of this post provides the background, SEAT’s understanding of the issue and templates individuals can use to email Senate Finance.
Please forward this post to anybody who you believe would be affected by this (anybody who runs a small business through a corporation.)
In general – Good News For American Entrepreneurs Abroad …
On Friday June 14, 2019 US Treasury proposed in Notice 2019-12436 that any foreign income earned by Controlled Foreign Corporations be (subject to election) excluded from the definition of GILTI income. This will be particularly welcome to Americans living outside the United States, who are attempting to carry on business in their country of residence, through non-U.S. corporations.
For those who are concerned with understanding the hows and whys, I suggest you read Treasury’s Notice which includes a good history and description of the Subpart F rules, some Legislative History leading to the GILTI rules, and Treasury’s attempt to piece it all together. You will find it all here.
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) June 9, 2019
This is Part 32 of my series of blog posts about the Sec. 965 transition tax. I recently received a message from a person who says that he was assessed a Section 1411 Net Investment Income Tax assessment on the amount of the Section 965 transition tax. Although not intended as legal advice, I would like to share my thoughts on this. I don’t see how the transition tax could be subject to the NIIT. Let’s look at it this way: Why Section 965 Transition Tax Inclusions Are NOT Subject To The Sec. 1411 Net Investment Income Tax
A – The Language Of The Internal Revenue Code – NIIT Is Not Payable On Transition Tax Inclusions
I see no way that the language of the Internal Revenue Code leads to the conclusion that the transition tax can be subject to the NIIT. My reasoning is based on the following two simple points:
1. The NIIT is based on Net Investment Income which is generally defined as dividends, interest and capital gains as per this tweet:
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) June 8, 2019
B – The Purpose Of The Section 965 Transition Tax
3. The whole point of the transition tax is to go after active income that was not subject to U.S. tax when it was earned. There is nothing about the transition tax that converts active income into investment income by making it a subpart F inclusion as per this tweet:
One reason why the 3.8% NIIT should NOT be payable at the time the @USTransitionTax is assessed – Second reason: The fictitious Subpart F inclusion doesn't change business income to investment income See: "Section 965 and Net Investment Income Tax" https://t.co/JoCEiNyXWy
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) June 7, 2019
Therefore, (and this is speculation on my part) the NIIT charge must be based on something specific to your tax filing – likely treating the transition tax inclusion as meeting the definition of Net Investment Income – specifically Dividends, Interest or Capital Gains.
Under no circumstances should you or anybody else impacted by this simply pay a NIIT surcharge on the transition tax, without a careful and meticulous investigation of the reasons for it. Have a good look at your tax return.
The mandatory disclaimer: Obviously this is not intended to be legal advice or any other kind of advice. It is simply intended to give you the framework to discuss this issue with your tax preparer if you were one of the unfortunate victims who received an NIIT tax assessment on your acknowledged transition tax liability. John Richardson – Follow me on Twitter @Expatriationlaw
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) May 27, 2019
This is Part 31 of my series of blog posts about the Sec. 965 transition tax. It is a “guest post” by Jackie Bugnion who is the former tax direction of ACA. The article explores the impacts of the Section 965 transition tax and GILTI on the lives of Americans abroad. Ms. Bugnion places the transition tax and GILTI in the context of the U.S. system of citizenship-based taxation.
This article is reproduced with thanks to the author Jackie Bugnion and the publisher Tax Analysts.
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) January 16, 2019
This is Part 30 of my series of blog posts about the Sec. 965 transition tax.
Because of the importance and significance of this news I am writing this post without having read the 305 pages of Treasury regulations which relate to the Sec. 965 transition tax which are found here. I am relying on Monte Silver’s analysis which concludes that the regulations propose NO regulatory relief for the small businesses of Americans abroad. This is disappointing after the lobbying efforts that have been undertaken. The attitude of U.S. Treasury
Assuming no relief for Americans abroad, coupled with the vast campaign that was undertaken to educate Treasury, we can assume that the denial of relief was intentional and with full recognition of the harm caused to a political minority, who do not even live in the United States. To put it simply: It is the intention of U.S. Treasury to confiscate the retirement assets of Canadians with Canadian Controlled Private Corporations and similarly situated individuals in other countries. No other conclusion is possible. The attitude of Congress – As I have previously said:
The problem is NOT that Congress doesn’t care about Americans Abroad. The problem is that they con’t care that they don’t care!
The only remedy is with the courts and I strongly suggest that you support the transition tax lawsuit being organized by Monte Silver. The attitude of the Courts
I anticipate that Monte Silver’s lawsuit (described in the previous paragraph) is now inevitable. Here is what actually has happened this week … First – as reported on January 15, 2019 before issuing final regulations …
Second – and on January 16, 2019 – for the encore the final Sec. 965 regulations are issued and guess what?
Introduction – As the year of the “transition tax” comes to an end with no relief for Americans abroad (who could have known?)
As 2018 comes to and end (as does my series of posts about the transition tax) many individuals are still trying to decide how to respond to the Sec. 965 “transition tax” problem. The purpose of this post is to summarize what I believe is the universe of different ways that one can approach Sec. 965 transition tax compliance. These approaches have been considered at various times and in different posts over the last year. As 2018 comes to an end the tax compliance industry is confused about what to do. The taxpayers are confused about what to do. For many individuals they must choose between: bad and uncertain compliance or no attempt at compliance. (I add that the same is true of the Sec. 951A GILTI provisions which took effect on January 1, 2018.) But first – a reminder: This tax was NEVER intended to apply to Americans abroad!!!
A recent post by Dr. Karen Alpert – “Fixing the Transition Tax for Individual Shareholders” – includes:
There have been several international tax reform proposals in the past decade, some of which are variations on the final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) package. None of these proposals even considered the interaction of the proposed changes with taxing based on citizenship. One even suggested completely repealing the provision that eliminates US tax on dividends out of previously taxed income because corporate shareholders would no longer be paying US tax on those dividends anyway.
and later that …
One of the obstacles often mentioned when it comes to a legislative fix is the perceived requirement that any change be “revenue neutral”. While this is understandable given the current US budget deficit, it shouldn’t apply to this particular fix because the transition tax liability of individual US Shareholders of CFCs was not included in the original estimates of transition tax revenue.
The bottom line is:
Congress did not consider whether the transition tax would apply to Americans abroad and therefore did not intend for the transition tax to apply to them. Within hours of release of the legislation, the tax compliance industry, while paying no attention to the intent of the legislation, began a compliance campaign to assist owners of Canadian Controlled Private Corporations to turn their retirement savings over to the IRS. There was (in general) no “push back” from the compliance industry. There was little attempt on the part of the compliance industry to analyze the intent of the legislation. In general (there are always exceptions – many who I know personally – who have done excellent work), the compliance industry failed their clients. By not considering the intent of the legislation and not considering responses consistent with that intent, the compliance industry effectively created the “transition tax”.
In fairness to the industry, Treasury has given little guidance to practitioners and the guidance given came late in the year. In fairness to Treasury, by granting the two filing extensions, Treasury made some attempt to do, what they thought they could, within the parameters of the legislation. The purpose of this post …
This post will summarize (but not discuss) the various options. There is no generally preferred option. This is not “one size fits all”. The response chosen will largely depend in the “stage in life” of the individual. Younger people can pay/absorb the “transition tax”. For people closer to retirement, for whom the retained earnings in their corporations are their pensions: compliance will result in the destruction of your retirement. Continue reading →
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) December 2, 2018
For most U.S. citizens attempting to live outside the United States (in compliance with U.S. laws), their days as U.S. citizens are coming to an end. Those who have ignored the fiscal demands required of Americans abroad (meaning they have not entered the U.S. tax system) will be able to retain U.S. citizenship for the foreseeable future. But, for those who do file U.S. taxes and attempt to comply with the outrageous demands of the United States (FBAR, forms, PFIC, Transition Tax, GILTI, Subpart F and more), they experience life like this: Continue reading →
Introduction – Punishing You For Your Past and Destroying Your Future Punishing You For Your Past – Retroactive Taxation And The Sec. 965 Transition Tax
The 2017 U.S. Tax Reform AKA – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ushered in significant changes for Americans abroad who carry on business through small business corporations. Section 965 was an attempt to impose retroactive taxation on 31 years of corporate earnings that were NOT subject to U.S. taxation at the time that they were earned. In Canada Canadian Controlled Private Corporations are used as private pension plans. The effect of the Sec. 965 transition tax was/is to confiscate the pensions which were earned in Canada by Canadian residents. It’s simply wrong.
In early of 2018 Dr. Karen Alpert and I worked on a series of videos to explain the Sec. 965 Transition Tax. Those vides spawned a series of 27 posts about the Sec. 965 transition tax. Destroying Your Future – Presumed GILTI – The Sec. 951A GILTI Tax Continue reading →
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) November 29, 2018
A quick summary of this post:
On November 26, 2018 the House Ways and Means Committee under the leadership of Chairman Brady announced a bi-partisan bill which contains a number of “Technical Fixes” to the December 22, 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While specifically addressing the Sec. 965 transition tax, the bill contains neither mention nor relief for Americans Abroad who are at risk of having their retirement pensions confiscated by the U.S. Government. (While the transition tax may actually be beneficial for Homeland Americans, it is simply devastating for Americans abroad.) In other words: The proposed legislation is NOT neutral. By specifically addressing the Sec. 965 transition tax and NOT providing relief for Americans abroad, it has exacerbated a difficult situation. My understanding is that many Americans abroad have requested filing extensions to December 15, 2018. The failure of this proposed bill to provide relief means that many Americans abroad with small businesses are in an untenable situation where compliance may well be impossible.
My analysis and discussion follows … Continue reading →
Jack Russell kept inside it's yard by the "invisible dog fence" is exactly like an individual U.S. citizen who uses a CFC to attempt to carry on a business outside the USA under the new #GILTI regime. Q. What kind of dog are you? A. Ask your tax accountant https://t.co/BQb1RePQ3f
— U.S. Transition Tax – Subpart F and #GILTI (@USTransitionTax) January 29, 2018
2018 has been a difficult year for Americans living outside the United States who operate small businesses through corporations. The tax compliance community is still interpreting Section 965 of the Internal Revenue to require them to “turn over” a percentage of their assets to the U.S. government.
For those who don’t understand what the “transition tax” is:
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) February 5, 2018
Okay, sorry the text in the above image is a little small. But, my point includes, that the “transition tax” is: (1) retroactive taxation (2) on income that was specifically NOT subject to U.S. taxation at the time that it was earned (3) without any triggering event whatsoever (4) that is an attempted tax grab before the host country can tax it (5) in a way that absolutely results in double taxation (6) that is in effect a confiscation of the “pensions” of Americans abroad. Yes, it’s true and NO U.S. TAX PROFESSIONAL HAS EVEN ATTEMPTED TO SUGGEST THAT POINTS 1 – 6 ARE FALSE. The purpose or this post is to:
1. Review what has happened during the last year; and
2. Strongly encourage you to support Monte Silver (a U.S. tax lawyer based in Israel) in his organizing a lawsuit against U.S. Treasury for not having complied with various statutes in the implementation of this law. See Silvercolaw.com or contact Monte at firstname.lastname@example.org Continue reading →