Tag Archives: CFC

Part 32 – So, you have received a letter saying that your @USTransitiontax is also subject to the 3.8% NIIT


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:


2. Subpart F income by legal definition (controlling case law) is NOT interest, dividends or capital gains as per this tweet


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:


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

Part 29 – Can the full Canadian tax paid personally on distributions from Sec. 965 income be used to offset the @USTransitionTax

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.
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Part 25 – Reflections on the "S Corporation" exemption to the Sec. 965 @USTransitionTax – Hat Tip to @SCorpAssn

Beginnings …
A recent comment at the Isaac Brock Society includes:

It’s too bad I didn’t put my Canadian corporation in an S Corp before I knew I was a US taxpayer. I must have misplaced my crystal ball at the time. As I had when I sold my house in Canada.
What a clusterfu@k!

On November 15, 2018 I did a second interview (first interview October 16, 2018 here) with Monte Silver and his Sec. 965 advocacy. The video was featured on a post at CitizenshipTaxation.ca.


If you have not watched the November 15 interview, I suggest that you begin by watching the video (click on the above tweet). The most significant part of the interview is where Sec. 965(I) is discussed. Interestingly Sec. 965(I) provides a transition tax exemption to individuals who are the shareholders of an “S Corp”. To understand the mechanism for the exemption, click on the link in the following tweet:


This interesting exemption is available only to individuals who are shareholders of S corporations and not to other individuals. The interview also included some discussion of the fact that “S Corp” shareholders have the benefit of lobbying from a powerful lobbying association – S-Corp. The interview ended with Monte Silver describing the probability that the Sec. 965 transition tax issue is headed to the courts.
But, in the “Pay To Play Casino” that America has become:


Why are individuals who are the shareholders of an S corporation, which owns the shares of a CFC, more equal than those individual shareholders who own the shares of a CFC directly?
Let’s see …
Purpose of this post …
The purpose of this post is to explore the following issues/questions:
1. What exactly is an S Corporation?
2. How the requirements of an S Corporation reflect that that S Corps are the “small business corps” of America
3. How the S Corporation is taxed and why that taxation is consistent with the S Corporation as an entity for small business
4. An interesting history of the S Corporation
5. Why most Americans abroad are like most small business owners in America (and presumably should have similar tax treatment)
6. How the S-Corp association lobbying in DC has likely resulted in favourable “transition tax” treatment for S-Corps
7. The argument that – with respect to the “transition tax” that Americans abroad with small businesses should be treated the same way as shareholders of U.S. S-Corps
8. Should Americans abroad who don’t renounce U.S. citizenship consider using U.S. Corps to own and operate their businesses abroad?
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Part 24 – When it comes to the treatment of individuals: @USTransitonTax Code Sec. 965(i) proves that "Some individuals are more equal than other individuals"

Prologue – October 16, 2018 – Monte Silver explains the “Transition Tax” in general …


Internal Revenue Code – Section 965(i) begins with …
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/965

(i) Special rules for S corporation shareholders
(1) In general
In the case of any S corporation which is a United States shareholder of a deferred foreign income corporation, each shareholder of such S corporation may elect to defer payment of such shareholder’s net tax liability under this section with respect to such S corporation until the shareholder’s taxable year which includes the triggering event with respect to such liability. Any net tax liability payment of which is deferred under the preceding sentence shall be assessed on the return of tax as an addition to tax in the shareholder’s taxable year which includes such triggering event.

Only “some” individuals are subject to the Sec. 965 US “Transition Tax” – how “some individuals are more equal than others” …


The complete second interview with Monte Silver – The unfairness to Americans abroad is compounded…

By allowing an exemption (continued deferral to S corps, Congress is granting a benefit to one group of individuals and not to another group of individuals.

Posted by Citizenship Solutions on Friday, November 16, 2018

Part 23 – It's time for #Americansabroad to support the fight against the @USTransitionTax and #GILTI

Part 1 – Understanding the “Transition Tax” issue and what it means for Americans Abroad
As reported at Tax Connections:


Part 2 – The “Transition Tax” Battle continues …

It has become clear that a lawsuit will be necessary to stop the application of the "Transition Tax" and GILTI to the…

Posted by Citizenship Solutions on Tuesday, November 13, 2018

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Part 22 – The 16th amendment authorises an Income Tax – but the @USTransitionTax is a wealth tax!

Part 1: The constitutional authorisation for the US income tax


As explained in a recent post at Tax Connections:

Written by TaxConnections Admin | Posted in TaxConnections
IRS- First Tax Return Form In 1913
Origin Of Internal Revenue Service
The roots of IRS go back to the Civil War when President Lincoln and Congress, in 1862, created the position of commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay war expenses. The income tax was repealed 10 years later. Congress revived the income tax in 1894, but the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional the following year.
16th Amendment
In 1913, Wyoming ratified the 16th Amendment, providing the three-quarter majority of states necessary to amend the Constitution. The 16th Amendment gave Congress the authority to enact an income tax. That same year, the first Form 1040 appeared after Congress levied a 1 percent tax on net personal incomes above $3,000 with a 6 percent surtax on incomes of more than $500,000.
In 1918, during World War I, the top rate of the income tax rose to 77 percent to help finance the war effort. It dropped sharply in the post-war years, down to 24 percent in 1929, and rose again during the Depression. During World War II, Congress introduced payroll withholding and quarterly tax payments.
1913 Form 1040 (PDF 126KB, 4 pages, including instructions)
A New Name
In the 50s, the agency was reorganized to replace a patronage system with career, professional employees. The Bureau of Internal Revenue name was changed to the Internal Revenue Service. Only the IRS commissioner and chief counsel are selected by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
Today’s IRS Organization
The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 prompted the most comprehensive reorganization and modernization of IRS in nearly half a century. The IRS reorganized itself to closely resemble the private sector model of organizing around customers with similar needs.

(Note that even in 1913, the most prominent part of the 1040 was the Penalty Provision.)
1913
Part 2: Taxation must be constitutional. Is the transition tax an income tax?


A new paper by Sean P. McElroy titled: “The Mandatory Repatriation Tax Is Unconstitutional” suggests that:

Abstract
In late 2017, Congress passed the first major tax reform in over three decades. This Essay considers the constitutional concerns raised by Section 965 (the “Mandatory Repatriation Tax”), a central provision of the new tax law that imposes a one-time tax on U.S.-based multinationals’ accumulated foreign earnings.
First, this Essay argues that Congress lacks the power to directly tax wealth without apportionment among the states. Congress’s power to tax is expressly granted, and constrained, by the Constitution. While the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment mooted many constitutional questions by expressly allowing Congress to tax income from whatever source derived, this Essay argues the Mandatory Repatriation Tax is a wealth tax, rather than an income tax, and is therefore unconstitutional.
Second, even if the Mandatory Repatriation Tax is found to be an income tax (or, alternatively, an excise tax), the tax is nevertheless unconstitutionally retroactive. While the Supreme Court has generally upheld retroactive taxes at both the state and federal level over the past few decades, the unprecedented retroactivity of the Mandatory Repatriation Tax — and its potential for taxing earnings nearly three decades after the fact — raises unprecedented Fifth Amendment due process concerns.

Here is a copy of the paper …
SSRN-id3247926
The point is that the transition tax is not a tax on income. It is a tax on “fake income”. It is “fake income” on two levels:
First, by definition it is not based on income. It is based on a pool of capital that was not subject to taxation when it was earned.
Second, Sec. 965 deems it to be income precisely because it not actual income which is based on any realisation event.
Is this the simplest argument for why the Section 965 transition tax mayh be unconstitutional?
John Richardson

Part 21 – @ACAVoice makes presentation at October 22/18 IRS @USTransitionTax hearing – argues both that Regulatory Flexibility Act should apply and/or that de minimis rule be created

Introduction


This is Part 21 of my series of posts about the Section 965 transition tax.
The Section 965 “Transition Tax” saga continues. Americans abroad may have political differences. They may have philosophical differences. They may live in different countries with different tax treaties. But, opposition to the Section 965 Transition Tax and GILTI appear to have unified all Americans abroad.


To put it simply: The application of the Section 965 transition tax to the small businesses operated by Americans Abroad is the most unjust, most punitive, most egregious and most unjustified piece of legislation over to come from the Homeland (assuming – which I doubt – that it was every intended to apply to Americans abroad in the first place). Significantly, the transition tax is a benefit to Homeland Americans but can confiscate the retirement plans of Americans abroad. In other words, the transition tax is one more punishment that America is meting out to its citizens who dare to leave the United States.
Boldly Go, where no fictitious tax event has gone before …
The transition tax is also a direct attack on the tax base of the countries where Americans abroad live. To put it simply: the transition tax is a fictional tax event, that allows the United States to take a preemptive tax strike against the tax base of other countries. By so doing, the transition tax allows the United States to siphon tax revenue from other countries, that it could never siphon before. (Well, the S. 877A Exit Tax rules also create a fictitious tax event that allows the United States to siphon capital from other countries.) The impact of the transition tax on Canadian residents (who are also U.S. citizens) has been explored in CBC reporter Elizabeth Thompson’s series of posts about the transition tax.
The Transition Tax when applied to Americans abroad is:

The retroactive taxation of undistributed earnings of a non-US corporation, based on NO event that generates taxable income, which almost certainly subjects Americans abroad to double taxation.

The parts I have bolded provide arguments for why the “transition tax” violates numerous tax treaties.
In Part 20 I explored the arguments for why/how the Treasury Regulations are not compatible with the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Part 20 included a discussion of the arguments made by ACA for why the Regulatory Flexibility Act should apply to the regulations.
In Part 21 (this post), I am highlighting the submission of American Citizens Abroad (ACA), who argues IN ADDITION (this is a no brainer) that there should be a threshold level of undistributed earnings before the Section 965 confiscation can apply – period.
Thanks to ACA (“American Citizens Abroad”) for taking the time to organize these arguments and present them at the October 22, 2018 IRS hearing on the “transition tax”.
What follows is the email I received from ACA – I strongly suggest that you follow the links. ACA has done a superb job of demonstrating how the Treasury can exempt Americans abroad from this particularly draconian and confiscatory piece of legislation.
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Part 19 – Comments from those with @TaxResidency in other countries about the effects of @USTransitionTax & #GILTI

Designed for Google and Amazon and applied to individual Americans abroad …


ADCS Press Release on the Transition Tax and GILTI: The Alliance For The Defence Of Canadian Sovereignty issued a press release on the impact of the “transition tax and GILTI” on people with tax residency in other countries. Although issued in November of 2017, it attracted a number of comments. These comments provide insight into how U.S. citizenship-based taxation damages people in other countries.
Comments made in November 2017 (before the world heard about the transition tax)
The comments (from November of 2017 which is well before the Section 965 transition tax was understood) are here.
Comments in September/October 2018
As described in this post, U.S. Treasury has been seeking comments about the Sec. 965 transition tax. The deadline for comments is October 9, 2018. You can read the comments here.
Comments that are particularly noteworthy are:
From American Citizens Abroad – on behalf of all Americans abroad


From James Gosart an individual

To: United States Department of the Treasury
Subject: Re: Proposed Regulations under Section 965 [REG 104226-18]
The transition tax is a killer for small American owned overseas businesses.
I am a small business owner of a consulting company in Hong Kong. Around the world, I’m sure there are thousands of small American business owners like me.
I formed the company in 2011 after spending more than 25 years based in China and Asia as an expat employee of a major US corporation. During the 7 years the company has been in operation, I have helped US companies and investors with their China and Asia strategies, ultimately growing their businesses in Asia and contributing to US based employment. My company paid corporate taxes annually in Hong Kong. I have now relocated to the US and I’m in the process of shutting the business down.
The new transition tax is so burdensome and complex that there is no way I would start such a business today. Nor would I recommend it to anyone else. For the US to decide to retroactively tax retained earnings of small US owned overseas businesses is so draconian and unprecedented that it will seriously impact the survival of countless numbers of such businesses. Even if a US owned overseas business is capable of making this payment, and many will not be able to, how can any business survive when faced with a 17.5% tax that their non-US owned competitors do not have? In addition, many thousands of Americans who use lawful local corporate entities as retirement savings vehicles will see their lifelong retirement savings decimated.
The Commerce Department has long estimated that for every $1 billion of business done by American business abroad 5,000 domestic US jobs are supported. Based on my own anecdotal experience I agree with that. No doubt the transition tax will cause thousands of American owned small businesses to close, or fail to start in the first place, will cause the loss of many thousands of US based American jobs, and will damage the lives of countless numbers of Americans living abroad.
I do not believe the transition tax for small business can be made fair or workable. It must simply be dropped altogether.

________________________________________________________________________
And on the Home front …


The FATCA Canada lawsuit continues: The Alliance For The Defence Of Canadian Sovereignty announces the filing of its Memorandum of Fact and Law. The trial is expected to be heard in January of 2019.
_________________________________________________________________________
More on the U.S. “Transition Tax”
This is Part 19 of my series of posts discussing the Section 965 U.S. Transition Tax. This has been reposted with permission from Americansabroadfortaxfairness.org.

Part 13 – Calculating the Transition Tax: Just Like Dental Work – Painful in More Ways Than One

Continuing with the “Transition Tax” series …
The first twelve posts in my “transition tax” series were:
Part 1: Responding to The Section 965 “transition tax”: “Resistance is futile” but “Compliance is impossible”
Part 2: Responding to The Section 965 “transition tax”: Is “resistance futile”? The possible use of the Canada U.S. tax treaty to defeat the “transition tax”
Part 3: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: They hate you for (and want) your pensions!
Part 4: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: Comparing the treatment of “Homeland Americans” to the treatment of “nonresidents”
Part 5: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: Shades of #OVDP! April 15/18 is your last, best chance to comply!
Part 6: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: A “reprieve” until June 15, 2018
Part 7: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: Why the transition tax creates a fictional tax event that allows the U.S. to collect tax where it never could have before
Part 8: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: This small business thought it was saving to invest in business expansion – Wrong, they were saving to be robbed by America!
Part 9: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: From the “Pax Americana” to the “Tax Americana”
Part 10: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: Individuals subject to U.S. state tax jurisdiction, the response of New York State – It’s about “reasonable cause”!
Part 11: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: Letter to the Senate Finance discussing the effects of the transition tax on Americans abroad
Part 12 – Bulletin – June 4, 2018: It appears that the first payment for the @USTransitionTax will be delayed for some
This post is a “guest post” written by Virginia La Torre Jeker.
This post originally appeared on Virginia La Torre Jeker’s blog. It is reproduced here with her kind permission.


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Part 12 – Bulletin – June 4, 2018: It appears that the first payment for the @USTransitionTax will be delayed for some


To get to the point:
On June 4, 2018 U.S. Treasury issued the following bulletin which included questions and answers about the Sec. 965 U.S. Transition Tax.
It included Q. 16 …
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