Tag Archives: PFIC

General Explanation Of The 1986 Tax Reform Act – PFIC Edition

PFICs were introduced as part of the 1986 tax reform. In order to understand the intent of the PFIC rules it is useful to read the general explanation of the tax reform act. The explanation starts at page 1021 of the document or page 1037 of the pdf. It is worth the read …

https://web.archive.org/web/20120507115421/https://www.jct.gov/jcs-10-87.pdf/

jcs-10-87

John Richardson – Follow me on Twitter @Expatriationlaw

Part 45 – “Some” examples where the U.S. creates unrealized “foreign income” before a realization event in the source country

Let There Be Income And There Was Income!

The United States has an increasing propensity to create “deemed income” in circumstances where the taxpayer has received no income to pay the tax.

In some cases the “deemed income” created is “foreign source” income. In other cases it is purely domestic source.

When the “deemed income” is “foreign source” income over which the other country has primary taxing rights, the “deemed income” event creates a U.S. tax owing before an actual realization event in the foreign country.

The implications are experienced by both the country of source and the individual taxpayer.

1. Impact on country of source: The U.S. collecting tax owing before the source country has the opportunity to tax it

2. Impact on individual taxpayer: The U.S. creating a deemed realization event resulting in real taxation means that the taxpayer is more likely to experience double taxation. The taxpayer will first pay the U.S. tax and then (when an actual realization event takes place) pay the tax in the country of source.

“Some” examples of “deemed realization” of foreign source income

Note that each of these examples in found in Subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code (income tax)

877A Exit Tax,

951 Subpart F

965 Transition Tax,

951A GILTI

1291 PFIC

988 Phantom Capital Gains

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Interested in Moore (pun intended) about the § 965 transition tax?

Read “The Little Red Transition Tax Book“.

John Richardson – Follow me on Twitter @Expatriationlaw

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U.S. Canada Tax Treaty – 1980

7. Where at any time an individual is treated for the purposes of taxation by a Contracting State as
having alienated a property and is taxed in that State by reason thereof and the domestic law of the
other Contracting State at such time defers (but does not forgive) taxation, that individual may elect in
his annual return of income for the year of such alienation to be liable to tax in the other Contracting
State in that year as if he had, immediately before that time, sold and repurchased such property for an
amount equal to its fair market value at that time

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-trty/canada.pdf

Paragraph 7 provides a rule to coordinate U.S. and Canadian taxation of gains in circumstances where an individual is subject to tax in both Contracting States and one Contracting State deems a taxable alienation of property by such person to have occurred, while the other Contracting State at that time does not find a realization or recognition of income and thus defers, but does not forgive taxation. In such a case the individual may elect in his annual return of income for the year of such alienation to be liable to tax in the latter Contracting State as if he had sold and repurchased the property for an amount equal to its fair market value at a time immediately prior to the deemed alienation. The provision would, for example, apply in the case of a gift by a U.S. citizen or a U.S. resident individual which Canada deems to be an income producing event for its tax purposes but with respect to which the United States defers taxation while assigning the donor’s basis to the donee. The provision would also apply in the case of a U.S. citizen who, for Canadian tax purposes, is deemed to recognize income upon his departure from Canada, but not to a Canadian resident (not a U.S. citizen) who is deemed to recognize such income. The rule does not apply in the case death, although Canada also deems that to be a taxable event, because the United States in effect forgives income taxation of economic gains at death. If in one Contracting State there are losses and gains from deemed alienations of different properties, then paragraph 7 must be applied consistently in the other Contracting State within the taxable period with respect to all such properties. Paragraph 7 only applies, however, if the deemed alienations of the properties result in a net gain.

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-trty/canatech.pdf

Protocol to Canada/U.S. Tax Treaty 2007 – Article VIII – Replacing Article XIII Paragraph 7 in the 1980 Treaty

3. Paragraph 7 of Article XIII (Gains) of the Convention shall be deleted and replaced by the following:

7. Where at any time an individual is treated for the purposes of taxation by a Contracting State as having alienated a property and is taxed in that State by reason thereof, the individual may elect to be treated for the purposes of taxation in the other Contracting State, in the year that includes that time and all subsequent years, as if the individual had, immediately before that time, sold and repurchased the property for an amount equal to its fair market value at that time.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/131/Treaty-Canada-Pr2-9-21-2007.pdf

Technical explanation of the 2007 Protocol

Paragraph 3

Paragraph 3 of Article 8 of the Protocol replaces paragraph 7 of Article XIII.

The purpose of paragraph 7, in both its former and revised form, is to provide a rule to coordinate U.S. and Canadian taxation of gains in the case of a timing mismatch.

Such a mismatch may occur, for example, where a Canadian resident is deemed, for Canadian tax purposes, to recognize capital gain upon emigrating from Canada to the United States, or in the case of a gift that Canada deems to be an income producing event for its tax purposes but with respect to which the United States defers taxation while assigning the donor’s basis to the donee. The former paragraph 7 resolved the timing mismatch of taxable events by allowing the individual to elect to be liable to tax in the deferring Contracting State as if he had sold and repurchased the property for an amount equal to its fair market value at a time immediately prior to the deemed alienation.

The election under former paragraph 7 was not available to certain non-U.S. citizens subject to tax in Canada by virtue of a deemed alienation because such individuals could not elect to be liable to tax in the United States. To address this problem, the Protocol replaces the election provided in former paragraph 7, with an
election by the taxpayer to be treated by a Contracting State as having sold and repurchased the property for its fair market value immediately before the taxable event in the other Contracting State. The election in new paragraph 7 therefore will be available to any individual who emigrates from Canada to the United States, without regard to whether the person is a U.S. citizen immediately before ceasing to be a resident of Canada. If the individual is not subject to U.S. tax at that time, the effect of the election will be to give the individual an adjusted basis for U.S. tax purposes equal to the fair market value of the property as of the date of the deemed alienation in Canada, with the result that only post-emigration gain will be subject to U.S. tax when there is an actual alienation. If the Canadian resident is also a U.S. citizen at the time of his emigration from Canada, then the provisions of new paragraph 7 would allow the U.S. citizen to
accelerate the tax under U.S. tax law and allow tax credits to be used to avoid double taxation. This would also be the case if the person, while not a U.S. citizen, would otherwise be subject to taxation in the United States on a disposition of the property.

In the case of Canadian taxation of appreciated property given as a gift, absent paragraph 7, the donor could be subject to tax in Canada upon making the gift, and the donee may be subject to tax in the United States upon a later disposition of the property on all or a portion of the same gain in the property without the availability of any foreign tax credit for the tax paid to Canada. Under new paragraph 7, the election will be available to any individual who pays taxes in Canada on a gain arising from the individual’s gifting of a property, without regard to whether the person is a U.S. taxpayer at the time of the gift. The effect of the election in such case will be to give the donee an adjusted basis for U.S. tax purposes equal to the fair market value as of the date of the gift. If the donor is a U.S. taxpayer, the effect of the election will be the realization of gain or loss for U.S. purposes immediately before the gift. The acceleration of the U.S.
tax liability by reason of the election in such case enables the donor to utilize foreign tax credits and avoid double taxation with respect to the disposition of the property.

Generally, the rule does not apply in the case of death. Note, however, that Article XXIX B (Taxes Imposed by Reason of Death) of the Convention provides rules that coordinate the income tax that Canada imposes by reason of death with the U.S. estate tax.

If in one Contracting State there are losses and gains from deemed alienations of different properties, then paragraph 7 must be applied consistently in the other Contracting State within the taxable period with respect to all such properties. Paragraph 7 only applies, however, if the deemed alienations of the properties result in a net gain.

Taxpayers may make the election provided by new paragraph 7 only with respect to property that is subject to a Contracting State’s deemed disposition rules and with respect to which gain on a deemed alienation is recognized for that Contracting State’s tax purposes in the taxable year of the deemed alienation. At the time the Protocol was signed, the following were the main types of property that were excluded from the
deemed disposition rules in the case of individuals (including trusts) who cease to be residents of Canada: real property situated in Canada; interests and rights in respect of pensions; life insurance policies (other than segregated fund (investment) policies); rights in respect of annuities; interests in testamentary trusts, unless acquired for consideration; employee stock options; property used in a business carried on through a permanent establishment in Canada (including intangibles and inventory); interests in most Canadian
personal trusts; Canadian resource property; and timber resource property.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/131/Treaty-Canada-Pr2-TE-9-21-2007.pdf

Model U.S. Tax Treaty 2016

The following provision appears first in the 2016 Model Tax Treaty. There is at present no technical explanation discussing the treaty. Therefore, it must be interpreted based on the presumed intent (which can be gleaned in part from the Canada U.S. Tax Treaty). Significantly, this provision is intended to prevent double taxation resulting from the deemed “alienation” of property upon severing tax residency. It is far narrower than the Article XIII – Paragraph 7 of the Canada U.S. Tax Treaty.

Article 13 – Paragraph 7

7. Where an individual who, upon ceasing to be a resident (as determined under paragraph 1
of Article 4 (Resident)) of one of the Contracting States, is treated under the taxation law of that
Contracting State as having alienated property for its fair market value and is taxed in that
Contracting State by reason thereof, the individual may elect to be treated for purposes of
taxation in the other Contracting State as if the individual had, immediately before ceasing to be
a resident of the first-mentioned Contracting State, alienated and reacquired such property for an
amount equal to its fair market value at such time.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/131/Treaty-US-Model-2016_1.pdf

John Richardson – Information Session – London, UK – Thursday Oct. 13/22 – 19:00 – 21:00

Attention!! Date, time and location updated!! – Thursday Oct. 13/22 – 19:30 – 21:30 – New location! See here.

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John Richardson – Information Session – London, UK – Thursday Oct. 13/22 – 19:00

What: John Richardson informal information and discussion session for those impacted by US extraterritorial overreach

When: Thursday October 13, 2022 – 19:00 – 21:00

Where: Pret A Manger – Directly Across From Russell Square Tube (careful to choose the correct Pret)
40 Bernard Street, London, WC1N 1LE
https://www.pret.co.uk/en-GB/shop-finder/l/london/40-bernard-street/284

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The Road To Tax Reform For Americans Abroad: Part 2 – Citizenship Taxation And The Seven Deadly Sins

Introduction

Life is full of rude awakenings. More and more people are experiencing their OMG moment …

This is Part 2 of the series. In Part 1, I identified that it is essential that individuals (and governments) unite to bring an end to the US tradition of “citizenship taxation”. “Citizenship taxation” – what a phrase. The words are not descriptive of anything. It clearly has something to do with some form of taxation. The inclusion of the word “citizenship” makes it sound almost patriotic. But maybe, not. Maybe it’s just part of what means to be a citizen. Since only the United States has citizenship taxation, perhaps taxation is what it means to be a US citizen. If so, then perhaps US citizenship should be called “taxation based citizenship”. The concept of citizenship means different things in different countries. Is this a statement that the essence and the meaning of US citizenship is taxation and only taxation?

Citizenship Taxation – Theory vs. Reality

A supporter of citizenship taxation is someone who THINKS about “citizenship taxation”. An opponent of citizenship taxation is anybody who has tried to LIVE under citizenship taxation.

https://www.citizenshiptaxation.ca

I guarantee you that there is not a single supporter of US citizenship taxation who actually understands it!

Toward An Understanding: Citizenship Taxation And The Seven Deadly Sins

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The Road To Tax Reform For Americans Abroad: Part 1 – The Problem Is The System And Not The Party

Introduction – The First Of A Series Of Short Posts

My name is John Richardson. I am a Toronto, Canada based lawyer. I am also a founding member of “SEAT” (“Stop Extraterritorial American Taxation”). I am an advocate for reforming the US laws which apply to US citizens who live outside the United States as permanent residents of other countries. The problems experienced by Americans abroad are at the “boiling point” and something must be done. This post is motivated by the following twitter thread which reveals the pain, desperation, anger and divisiveness experienced by Americans abroad:

This is the first of a series of short posts in which I will share my thoughts and suggestions for how to proceed. I welcome your comments both here and on twitter where I am @Expatriationlaw.

Blind Partisanship Is Not Productive

I want to state at the outset that I am an independent and am not a member of any political party. I have been and continue to be supportive of independent candidates in Canada (and anywhere else). I state this because during this series of posts, I will express sentiments that are critical of political parties. When I criticize the Democrats it’s not because I am a Republican. It’s because the Democrats are deserving of criticism (or vice-versa). Healthy democracies are dependent on accurate observations and objective analysis. Excessive partisanship is simply an excuse for reasoned analysis.

The Difficulty Of Living As A US Citizen Outside The United States

First, if you are a “retiree living abroad” where all of your income is US sourced this post is NOT for you. You are filing the same US tax return while “retiring abroad” that you would if you were living in the USA. You are probably filing tax returns ONLY in the USA. Therefore, the US citizenship tax regime does not impact you in the same way. This post is for those who live permanently outside the United States and your income sources, assets and retirement planning are associated with the tax systems of other countries (foreign to the United States).

Second, As permanent residents of other countries, US citizens are treated as BOTH tax residents of the United States and tax residents of the countries where they live. In other words, they are subject to the full force of two (often incompatible) tax systems. Think of it. US citizens living outside the United States are subject to the tax systems of two countries at the same time. Leaving aside the anxiety this induces, the time that it takes to comply, the heightened threats of penalties and the outrageous costs of compliance (think tax accountants and lawyers), this puts Americans abroad in a position where:

1. They are subjected to a tax system that is more punitive than the tax system imposed on US residents

2. They are often subject to double taxation (the foreign tax credit rules and the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion do not prevent many forms of double taxation)

3. The US tax rules prevent them from engaging in the normal financial planning and retirement opportunities (Canadian TFSA and UK ISAs are not tax free for US citizens)

4. In many countries, because and only because of their US citizenship they are prevented from maintaining the normal financial accounts they need to live in a normal way (this is the direct result of the 2010 Obama FATCA law)

The cumulative weight of these problems is that US citizens living outside the United States are being constructively forced to renounce their US citizenship in order to survive. But, it gets worse. Since June 16, 2008 certain Americans abroad who renounce US citizenship (“covered expatriates“) are forced to pay a special expatriation tax on their non-US assets to achieve this goal. (You can find a video of my discussing US citizenship renunciation here.)

Americans abroad are NOT renouncing because they don’t want to be Americans. They are renouncing because the US tax and regulatory regime is forcing them out of their US citizenship!

It’s The System Not The Parties

Regardless of which political party is in power, tax laws will continue to change.

As long as the United States employs citizenship-based taxation, changes in US tax laws will continue to have dramatic (sometimes intended and sometimes unintended) effects on Americans abroad. These negative effects and outcomes will continue regardless of which political party is in power.

For example:

The 2017 TCJA became law under the Republicans. The effects on Americans abroad were horrible. (Examples include: Transition Tax, GILTI, those using the “Married Filing Separately” category were required to file with zero income)

The 2010 FATCA law was enacted under the Democrats. The effects on Americans abroad were horrible. (Examples include: Form 8938, FATCA bank account closures, etc.)

Therefore, it is a mistake to bicker over which political party has done more or less damage to Americans abroad. As long as citizenship-based taxation continues and tax laws continue to evolve, whatever political party is in power will – by changing tax laws – continue to damage the lives and finances of Americans abroad.

Individual American Abroad Must Unite To Get This System Of Law Changed

Conclusion for today: The problem is the system! It’s not the political parties.

You have the right to vote. The question is not which party to vote for. The question is how can you most effectively use your vote to end US citizenship-based taxation and encourage FATCA repeal.

To be continued …

John Richardson – Follow me on Twitter @Expatriationlaw

Comments from Americans abroad about the effects of #FATCA and @CitizenshipTax

Those contributing to conversations on Social media about FATCA and US citizenship-based taxation would find the following to be of great value.

Those who are trying to provide education on this topic should use this book.

Those who are trying to learn about this topic should use this book.

Submission_SFC

Also, see the following video accounts here:

http://www.vimeo.com/citizenshiptaxation

John Richardson – Follow me on Twitter @Expatriationlaw

The United States imposes a separate and more punitive tax system on US dual citizens who live in their country of second citizenship

Prologue

Do you recognise yourself?

You are unable to properly plan for your retirement. Many of you with retirement assets are having them confiscated (at this very moment) courtesy of the Sec. 965 transition tax. You are subjected to reporting requirements that presume you are a criminal. Yet your only crime was having been born in America (something you didn’t even choose) and attempting to live as a U.S. tax compliant American outside the United States. Your comments to my recent article at Tax Connections reflect and register your conviction that you should not be subjected to the extra-territorial application of the Internal Revenue Code – when you don’t live in the United States.

The Internal Revenue Code: You can’t leave home without it!

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Considering renouncing US citizenship? Thinking #citizide? @Expatriationlaw moderates a "Retain or Renounce" conversation among a lawyer, a financial planner and an accountant

As 2018 comes to a close, the “Retain or Renounce” discussion intensifies. American Citizens Abroad (ACA) writes that …

The @citizide twitter account frames the question as follows …

In an #FBAR and #FATCA world #Americansabroad ask: “To retain or renounce US citizenship, whether tis better to live free ..” – #citizide explore this question

The hashtag #citizide has been established in the twittersphere …
The “Retain or Renounce” question is discussed by a wide range or professional advisers …

To hear the snippets of the discussion continue on …
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As Sir John Templeton said: The best time to invest is when you have the money – The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective #Americansabroad

The late Sir John Templeton pioneered the concept of “international” investing. Of course, by the standards of today, this would be considered “offshore investing”. He also pioneered the concept of “renouncing U.S. citizenship“. It is clear that Sir John’s renunciation of U.S. citizenship was the best investment decision he ever made. Like many Americans who are forced to renounce U.S. citizenship to create business opportunities, Sir John likely renounced to save his mutual fund business.

Sir John was fond of saying:

“The best time to invest is when you have money.”

Of course, that is a more difficult concept for Americans abroad. (The problem is particularly acute in Australia where it is believed that the Australian Superannuation may be subject to U.S. taxation.) Time after time, in country after country, I speak with people who avoid investing because they are Americans abroad. This is a great mistake.

It’s important for Americans abroad to heed the teaching of Sir John Templeton. They must (1) learn to invest when they have the money and (2) discipline themselves to acquire the money to invest!

One of my most consistently read posts is “The biggest cost of being a “dual Canada/U.S. tax filer” is the “lost opportunity” available to pure Canadians“.

I have been meaning to write a “follow up” post for a long time. Perhaps, the message was too simple. Perhaps it is only worth a tweet. Perhaps it’s dangerous to expand such a simple thought into multiple paragraphs, but here goes …

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