Prologue – Report Early! Report Often! Report Everything! Keep A Record Of What You Report!
In October of 2018, Virginia and I went “Looking For Mr. FBAR.” During the last three years we have uncovered many clues, we have learned many things, but it’s clear that we have not yet located Mr. FBAR. Virginia has written about many of her “sightings” in a series of “FBAR posts“. I have also written a number of posts documenting the various adventures of Mr. FBAR.
The statutory authorization for Mr. FBAR is found in 5314 of the Bank Secrecy Act. Most of the substantive law is found in FBAR Treasury Regulations and the IRS FBAR instructions. It’s important to note that Mr. FBAR lives in Title 31 (Bank Secrecy Act) which is different from Title 26 (Internal Revenue Code).
Part I of this blog post discussed President Biden’s Green Book proposal that would change the tax rules for unrealized capital gains when assets are gifted or passed at death. To recap, the major thrust of the Green Book proposal (starting at page 30) is to treat gifts and bequests as “deemed sales at fair market value” triggering a capital gains tax which would be payable with respect to the year of the transfer. The net investment income tax / 3.8% surcharge looks as if it can certainly apply in addition to the capital gains tax (full detail on the 3.8% surcharge is here). The Green Book contains no proposals to eliminate or change the current Estate and Gift Tax rules and we believe that taxing gifts and bequests from an income tax perspective while keeping the Estate and Gift Tax regime in place is only a recipe for tax disaster.
Today’s post, Part II, looks at how the proposal will particularly impact the American abroad, its exemptions and carve-outs and how it complicates tax planning for individuals wishing to give up their US citizenship or green card.
On March 28, President Joe Biden released the FY2023 Budget, also known as the Green Book, available here. The Green Book is not proposed legislation, but it might be viewed as a kind of reading of the tea leaves showing what may lie ahead in the not-too-distant future. Today’s post will discuss a Green Book proposal that would change the tax rules for unrealized capital gains when assets are gifted or passed at death.
This is the second time this proposal has been put forth by the Biden Administration. It may be sitting on the shelf for now, but the proposal is an enticing revenue-raiser and helps meet what society has been viewing as a call for a “fairer” tax code, by targeting higher-income and asset wealthy taxpayers. We bet it goes through in one form or another. Continue reading →
"What Is The Future Of Citizenship-Based Taxation?" Prof. William Byrnes (Texas A&M Law), Prof. Edward Zelinsky (Cardozo Law), John Richardson (Canadian attorney who represents US-Canada dual nationals), Kat Jennings (CEO Tax Connections) https://t.co/LP63MHEFYS
— William Byrnes (Tax Monk) (@williambyrnes) May 5, 2019
You are invited to submit your questions in advance. In fact, PLEASE submit questions. This is an opportunity to engage with Homelanders in general and the U.S. tax compliance community in particular.
Thanks to Professor Zelinsky for his willingness to engage in this discussion. Thanks to Kat Jennings of Tax Connections for hosting this discussion. Thanks to Professor William Byrnes for his willingness to moderate this discussion.
Tax Connections has published a large number of posts that I have written over the years (yes, hard to believe it has been years). As you may know I oppose FATCA, U.S. citizenship-based taxation and the use of FATCA to impose U.S. taxation on tax residents of other countries.
Tax Connections has also published a number of posts written by Professor Zelinsky (who apparently takes a contrary view).
This is post 7 in my series leading up to the May 17 Tax Connections discussion. The first six posts have been for the purpose of demonstrating:
– in posts 1 to 4, Laura Snyder did a wonderful job in explaining how the U.S. tax system impacts the lives of Americans abroad. Her specific focus was on those individuals who identify as being U.S. citizens
– in post 5, I extended the discussion to reinforce that what the U.S. calls “citizenship-based taxation” is actually a system that impacts far more than those who identify as being U.S. citizens. In fact it burdens every individual on the planet who can’t demonstrate that he is a “nonresident” alien (people are renouncing U.S. citizenship because they can save themselves ONLY if they become a “nonresident alien”).
– in Post 6, I added the thoughts of Toronto Tax Professional Peter Megoudis who explained how those who are connected to “U.S. persons” (through family or business arrangements) can be impacted by the U.S. tax system
In this, Post 7, I am extending the discussion to explain that:
1. Not only does the United States impose worldwide taxation on individuals who don’t live in the United States; but
2. The system of worldwide taxation imposed is in reality and separate and far more punitive collection of taxes than is imposed on Homeland Americans.
I have previously written on this topic at Tax Connections:
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) May 9, 2019
Think of it! With the exception of the United States, when a person moves away from the country and establishes tax residency in another country, they will no longer be taxed as a resident of the first country.
But in the case of the United States: If a U.S. citizen moves from the United States and establishes tax residency in a new country, (1) he will STILL be taxable as a tax resident of the United States and (2) will be subjected to a separate and more punitive system of taxation! #YouCantMakeThisUp!
Although this truth is rarely understood and is rarely stated (it’s one of America’s “dirty little secrets”) here is an excerpt from a discussion I had with three international tax experts:
In this series of posts I am incorporating the thinking and writing of guest bloggers. In order to guide us in this discussion I welcome Virginia La Torre Jeker, a U.S. tax lawyer based in Dubai. I have previously featured Virginia in my “Unsung Heroes Of Life” Series.
2. Videos made at ThatChannel.com (a small Toronto internet based television station).
3. Podcasts at “PREP Podcaster” – featuring many interesting discussions with interesting people.
In March of 2019 I began a discussion at Tax Connections exploring the principle that:
“The United States is imposing a separate and more punitive tax system on people who are tax residents of other countries and do not live in the United States.”
As part of this discussion I had some discussion with Virginia La Torre Jeker, Peter Megoudis and Elena Hanson. Each of them is highly experienced and knowledgeable about how the U.S. tax system applies to Americans abroad and accidental Americans. The discussion took place in March of 2019. It turned out to be a very long discussion. Rather than include a video of the complete discussion, I have broken this into smaller videos that are based on themes.
This post is to separate and highlight the videos that resulted from this discussion. Continue reading →
Before moving to the post, if you believe that Americans abroad are being treated unjustly by the United States Government: Join me on May 17, 2019 for a discussion of U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” as follows:
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) April 16, 2019
You are invited to submit your questions in advance.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
_____________________________________________________________________________ I begin with the conclusion …
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) April 15, 2019
The Every Day facts:
"The United States imposes a separate and more punitive tax system on those Americans living outside the United States than it does on Homeland Americans." They have a special hatred for the non-citizen spouse. In fact: https://t.co/VrAKXYWDf4pic.twitter.com/3gNf9lIqiX
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) April 18, 2019
1. A U.S. citizen living in Canada Is married to an alien (the nonresident type)
2. Had $500 of part time employment income
3. Because she is married (in accordance with the definition of “married” in Internal Revenue Code 7703) she is of course required to absorb all the punitive consequences of the “married filing separately” filing category. The “married filing separately category” is a punitive filing category which is a “hidden tax on Americans abroad“.
In the 2017 tax (and previous) year she had NOT met the filing threshold required to file a U.S. tax return. Using the IRS Interactive “Do I Have To File A Tax Return” tool, we find that: (Note that this refers to a threshold of $4050 which is the amount of the personal exemption for 2017. The significance of this will be further explained below.)
She did however have financial assets which exceeded the $200,000 threshold required to file Form 8938. Most of these assets were owned jointly with her nonresident alien husband. Because she had not met the filing threshold for “married filing separately” in 2017 and previous years she had not been required to file Form 8938. Notice that Form 8938 does require her to report to the IRS assets that are jointly owned with her “nonresident alien” husband. (By the way he would not be happy about this. I some cases this forces Americans abroad to choose between their U.S. citizenship and their marriage.) April 2019 – An SOS …
I received a frantic message. She was/is trying to to determine whether she is required to file a U.S. tax return for the 2018 year (based on her $500 of income and her status as “married filing separately”).
On the one hand she is directed by IRS publication 54 (the Bible For Americans Abroad) that her filing threshold is $12,000.
Page 3 of the 2018 IRS Publication 54 for Americans abroad directs that those in "married filing separately" category have a $12,000 filing threshold. This is the publication for Americans abroad. https://t.co/CcHpkoWdWdpic.twitter.com/sCOQ5QEEiN
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) April 18, 2019
On the other hand, she is being told on the IRS page describing filing thresholds that she is required to file a U.S. tax return.