Tag Archives: repatriation tax

Part 33 – US residents bring suit alleging that the Section 965 US Transition Tax is Unconstitutional


A lawsuit alleging that the Section 965 transition tax is unconstitutional affords the opportunity to write Part 33 in my series of posts about the U.S. Transition Tax.
Part 22 of this series included a discussion of a paper by Sean P. McElroy which argued that the Section 965 repatriation tax was unconstitutional for the following reasons explained in the abstract:
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Part 18 – CAMPAIGN TO TREASURY/IRS: EXEMPT AMERICAN SMALL BUSINESSES IN THE U.S. & WORLDWIDE FROM THE @USTransitionTax & GILTI TAXES

This is Part 18 of my series of posts discussing the Section 965 U.S. Transition Tax. This has been reposted with permission from Americansabroadfortaxfairness.org.
Time out from our regular programming with this special message – A Call To Action – from Attorney Monte Silver:
Hi Fellow Americans:
On August 1, 2018, the Treasury/IRS issued proposed regulations that interpret the Repatriation tax law – a 250 page very complicated document. I discovered that in issuing the document, Treasury, the IRS and other Federal agencies seriously violated numerous Federal laws and procedures. This gives us tremendous leverage in negotiating for an exemption from the Repatriation & GILTI laws.
It is not unreasonable to expect that this battle may be won by December 15, 2018. What you can do to help win the battle? Easy! Treasury needs to hear your voice in a few short paragraphs (as outlined below) – by October 7, 2018.
We are within reach! Lets do it.
Monte
p.s. – as you may have an October 15, 2018 filing deadline, there is a way for you to extend the filing date until December 15, 2017. See IRS Publication 54, page 4 (can be seen at silvercolaw.com/blog). I suggest that you discuss this with your U.S. tax person.
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Part 17 – Does "intent" matter in the interpretation of the @USTransitionTax?

An example of the perspective of the “tax compliance” community -Look at what the statute says and not what was intended


In general, the tax compliance community has not been helpful to Americans abroad in responding to the “transition tax”. Few practitioners have made any effort to consider whether the “transition tax” applies to Americans abroad and/or whether it can be mitigated by treaty provisions. Furthermore, (assuming that the “transition tax” does apply) few have explored the full range of options available to affected taxpayers. (These options may include: paying the tax outright, paying the tax over 8 installments, maximimizing the effects of tax credits available at the shareholder level or maximizing the effects of tax credits available at the corporate level – the 962 election. Of course the attractiveness of these options is influenced by whether people intend to retain U.S. citizenship.)
By failing to consider the various “Faces Of The Transition Tax”, some in the tax compliance community, are effectively “bullying” taxpayers into responses that are not in the interest of the taxpayer.
Surely Circular 231 obligations don’t prevent an objective consideration of the whole range of options!
It is within this context, that I find the recent discussion of Nina Olson of IRS Tax Advocate refreshing.
But, wait. At least in terms of how the IRS administers the law, “Congressional intent” should matter


Her analysis includes:

In other words, the memo concluded that the full amount of the Section 965 liability becomes due immediately – not ratably over the eight-year period the law gives taxpayers the option to make payments. As a result, any “overpayment” of non-Section 965 liabilities over the 8-year period cannot be refunded or applied as estimated tax for a future period until the full Section 965 liability is paid in full.
As a practical matter, this interpretation sharply limits the value of Section 965(h), and in some cases, it may even render it meaningless. Large corporations frequently overpay their estimated taxes for a variety of reasons, including to minimize the risk they may become liable for underpayment interest. Some may even have “overpaid” by most or all of their Section 965 liability. According to the IRS’s interpretation, those corporations will not receive any of the benefits Congress provided by enacting Section 965(h).
It may be that the IRS’s interpretation is legally correct, and congressional tax-writers failed to consider the interaction of IRC 965(h) with existing provisions governing refunds and credits. Some in the private sector generally agree that the IRS cannot pay refunds after a return is filed and the tax has been assessed, but they have suggested that – before the liability is assessed – the IRS may at least pay the estimated tax refunds requested on Form 4466. I have requested the Office of Chief Counsel to take another look at the issue and consider alternative approaches. Where Congressional intent is clear, it is the job of administrative agencies to give effect to that intent to the extent feasible. In some cases, that may require adopting a plausible interpretation, even if it not the “best” interpretation.

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The first sixteen 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
Part 13 – Calculating the Transition Tax: Just Like Dental Work – Painful in More Ways Than One
Part 14 – Calculating the Transition Tax: The 962 Election – getting credit for the tax the corporation has paid
Part 15 – The Canadian Media Notices the @USTransitionTax: The @LizT1 series of post
Part 16 – Interview with David Sutherland and @IRSMedic about the @USTransitionTax

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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Part 11: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: Letter to the Senate Finance discussing the effects of the transition tax on Americans abroad


This is the eleventh in my series of posts about the Sec. 965 Transition Tax and whether/how it applies to the small business corporations owned by taxpaying residents of other countries (who may also have U.S. citizenship). These small business corporations are in no way “foreign”. They are certainly “local” to the resident of another country who just happens to have the misfortune of being a U.S. citizen.
The first ten 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”!
Introduction – The purpose of this post is …
Awareness of the how the “Transition Tax” is affecting residents of other countries is beginning to grow. For example, see the following editorial in the Halifax Chroncile Herald:


On April 24, 2018, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing called “Full Committee HearingEarly Impressions of the New Tax Law“. A video of the hearing is referenced in the following tweet:


Written submissions from the public were invited.
This post includes the letter that I sent to the Senate Finance Committee describing the possible impact of the Sec. 965 “Transition Tax” on Americans abroad in general and Canadian residents in particular.
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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"

Beginning with the conclusion (for those who don’t want to read the post) …

For the reasons given in this post, I believe that there are grounds to argue that the imposition of the Sec. 965 “transition tax” on Canadian resident/citizens DOES violate the Canada U.S. tax treaty. It is my hope that this post will generate some badly needed discussion on this issue.
If you are an individual who believes you may be impacted by the “transition tax”, you should consider raising this issue with the Competent Authority. I would be happy to explore this with you.

Need some background on the Sec. 965 “U.S. transition tax”?
The following tweet references a 7 part video series about the Internal Revenue Code Sec. 965 “Transition Tax” created by John Richardson and Dr. Karen Alpert.


(Video 6 gives examples of what various approaches to “Transition Tax Compliance” might look like.)
A reminder of what the possible imposition of the “transition tax” would mean to certain Canadian residents

Interesting article that demonstrates the impact of the U.S. tax policy of (1) exporting the Internal Revenue Code to other countries and (2) using the Internal Revenue Code to impose direct taxation on the “tax residents” of those other countries.
Some thoughts on this:
1. Different countries have different “cultures” of financial planning and carrying on businesses. The U.S. tax culture is such that an individual carrying on a business through a corporation is considered to be a “presumptive tax cheat”. This is NOT so in other countries. For example, in Canada (and other countries), it is normal for people to use small business corporations to both carry on business and create private pension plans. So, the first point that must be understood is that (if this tax applies) it is in effect a “tax” (actually it’s confiscation) of private pension plans!!! That’s what it actually is. The suggestion in one of the comments that these corporations were created to somehow avoid “self-employment” tax (although possibly true in countries that don’t have totalization agreements) is generally incorrect. I suspect that the largest number of people affected by this are in Canada and the U.K. which are countries which do have “totalization agreements”.
2. None of the people interviewed, made the point (or at least it was not reported) that this “tax” as applied to individuals is actually higher than the “tax” as applied to corporations. In the case of individuals the tax would be about 17.5% and not the 15.5% for corporations. (And individuals do not get the benefit of a transition to “territorial taxation”.)
3. As Mr. Bruce notes people will not easily be able to pay this. There is no realization event whatsoever. It’s just: (“Hey, we see there is some money there, let’s take it). Because there is no realization event, this should be viewed as an “asset confiscation” and not as a “tax”.
4. Understand that this is a pool of capital that was NEVER subject to U.S. taxation on the past. Therefore, if this is a tax at all, it should be viewed as a “retroactive tax”.
5. Under general principles of law, common sense and morality (does any of this matter?) the retained earnings of non-U.S. corporations are first subject to taxation by the country of incorporation. The U.S. “transition tax” is the creation of a “fictitious taxable event” which results in a preemptive “tax strike” against the tax base of other countries. If this is allowed under tax treaties, it’s only because when the treaties were signed, nobody could have imagined anything this outrageous.
6. It is obvious that this was NEVER INTENDED TO APPLY TO Americans abroad. Furthermore, no individual would even imagine that this could apply to them without “Education provided by the tax compliance industry”. Those in the industry should figure out how to argue that this was never intended to apply to Americans abroad, that there is no suggestion from the IRS that this applies to Americans abroad, that there is no legislative history suggesting that this applies to Americans abroad, and that this should not be applied to Americans abroad.
7. Finally, the title of this article refers to “Americans abroad”. This is a gross misstatement of the reality. The problem is that these (so called) “Americans abroad” are primarily the citizens and “tax residents” of other countries – that just happen to have been born in the United States. They have no connection to the USA. Are these citizen/residents of other countries (many who don’t even identify as Americans) expected to simply “turn over” their retirement plans to the IRS???? Come on!

Some of these thoughts are explored in an earlier post: “U.S. Tax Reform and the “nonresident corporation owner”: Does the Section 965 “transition tax apply”?
And now, on to our “regularly scheduled programming”: The possible use of the U.S. Canada Tax Treaty to as a defense to the U.S. “transition tax”

In Part 1 of this series, I wrote: “Responding to the Section 965 “transition tax”: “Resistance is futile and compliance is impossible“. I ended that post with a reminder that the imposition of Section 965 “transition tax” on Canadian residents has (at least) four characteristics:

1.The U.S. Transition Tax is a U.S. tax on the “undistributed earnings” of a Canadian corporation; and
2. Absent deliberate and expensive mitigation provisions, the U.S. transition tax contemplates the “double taxation” of Canadian residents who hold U.S. citizenship.
3. The “transition tax” is a preemptive “tax strike” against a corporation in Canada. Historically Canada would have the first right of taxation over Canadian companies.
4. The U.S. Transition Tax creates a “fictitious” taxable event. It is not triggered by any action on the part of the shareholder.

The purpose of this post is to argue that the Canada U.S. tax treaty may be a defense to the application of the Section 965 “Transition Tax”
Part A – Exploring  what a “Subpart F” inclusion really is
Part B – The Canada U.S. Tax Treaty: Relevant provisions

Part C – Impact of the “Savings Clause”
Part D – The Interpretation of the tax treaty: WHO interprets the treaty and HOW is the treaty to be interpreted
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Republicans Overseas asks for hearings on how the @USTransitiontax unfairly impacts Americans abroad

Republicans Overseas has requested a House hearing to address the unintended but severe consequences of the Tax Cuts &…

Posted by Republicans Overseas on Monday, February 26, 2018

I have previously written about the confiscatory effect of the “transition tax” on small business owners living outside the United States here and here. This is a “tax” – based on the Subpart F regime – on certain shareholders of “controlled foreign corporations“. For Canadians this “tax” represents a U.S. partial confiscation of their pensions. Interestingly the recent “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” has significantly increased both the number of “United States Shareholders” and the number of “Controlled foreign corporations”.
All of this is taking place in the context of more countries enacting CFC (“Controlled Foreign Corporation”) rules. For example, Russia recently enacted its own “Controlled foreign corporation rules. In general the worldwide climate toward corporations is becoming more and more hostile.
The advocacy of Republicans Overseas is a welcome development. It is hoped that the leadership of Republicans Overseas will encourage other groups that claim to represent non-U.S. residents to join the fight against “non-resident taxation”.
Their official announcement is here and a copy of their submission is here.
To read a copy of their submission …
RO-Transition-Tax-Overview
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