SECURE Act – Changes to Retirement Plan and IRA Rules – No More Big “Stretch”, Work Longer, Contribute More 

Right before Saint Nicholas’ Christmas visit, President Trump signed the "Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020" to provide necessary funding to keep the federal government running through September 30, 2020. Included in the Appropriations Act was an additional piece of legislation commonly referred to as the “SECURE Act” (the full title is “Setting Every Community Up … Continue reading SECURE Act – Changes to Retirement Plan and IRA Rules – No More Big “Stretch”, Work Longer, Contribute More 

Repatriation/Transition Tax: IRS Announces Limited “Double Taxation” Relief

NEWS FLASH! The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today that there are limited circumstances in which it may be appropriate to provide relief from "double taxation" resulting from application of the repatriation tax under Internal Revenue Code Section 965, as amended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The IRS has determined that in … Continue reading Repatriation/Transition Tax: IRS Announces Limited “Double Taxation” Relief

Time to Review! Tax Issues for US Recipients of Gifts/Bequests from Foreigners

With Christmas having recently been on our doorstep, now is the time to review what tax consequences are in store for gift givers and their lucky recipients.  US tax filings might be required of a US individual who receives a gift (whether in cash or property of some kind - you know, a 5 carat … Continue reading Time to Review! Tax Issues for US Recipients of Gifts/Bequests from Foreigners

Alimony – No Need for Tax Confusion Even if Paying a Nonresident Alien Individual

My readers know that broad US tax reform was enacted in December 2017 pursuant to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”).  As of January 1, 2019, the TCJA’s new tax rules impacted any US spouse who was either paying or receiving alimony under a divorce or separation agreement executed after December 31, 2018. Under … Continue reading Alimony – No Need for Tax Confusion Even if Paying a Nonresident Alien Individual

IRS Website = Unreliable, Legal Weight = Zilch

The stress of tax filing time had been on full throttle in April, and taxpayers abroad were scrambling to meet the tax filing deadline in June ... many taxpayers are on extension until October.  Here's a familiar scenario: You need to find an answer to a tax question and turn to your good friend, Mr. … Continue reading IRS Website = Unreliable, Legal Weight = Zilch

US Immigrant’s Residency Starting Date – The Devil’s Details – Too Many Days in the USA?

Part I of this blog post examined the importance of the Residency Starting Date (RSD) and how it applied under the Green Card Test. It also pointed out that traps for the unwary can destroy pre-immigration tax planning if one had not correctly nailed down the RSD.  Today's post will examine the RSD rules that apply when … Continue reading US Immigrant’s Residency Starting Date – The Devil’s Details – Too Many Days in the USA?

Getting an ITIN When Overseas: Help!

Today's post looks at the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) options available to taxpayers residing abroad who need an “Individual Taxpayer Identification Number” (ITIN) to fulfill their US tax filing duties.  There are 3 basic options (i) mailing the completed Form W-7, “Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification”, and required identification documents to the IRS (ii) … Continue reading Getting an ITIN When Overseas: Help!

Attorney-Client Privilege & John Doe: Your Secret Is Safe … But Your Identity Isn’t!

Most of my readers are aware of the “attorney-client privilege”. Generally speaking, the privilege preserves the confidentiality of communications between a lawyer and her clients.  When the privilege is in place, attorneys may not divulge their clients’ secrets and cannot be "forced" to divulge them (for example, in a court proceeding or to the Internal … Continue reading Attorney-Client Privilege & John Doe: Your Secret Is Safe … But Your Identity Isn’t!

Do You Have Foreign Life, Sickness, or Casualty Insurance? A Foreign Annuity Contract? Excise Tax / FBAR / Form 8938….

Many US persons living abroad have foreign life, sickness or accident insurance or a foreign annuity. Yet, only a handful have any knowledge of the US Foreign Insurance Excise Tax provisions affecting these policies.  Foreign asset information reporting may also apply.  Here's what you need to know! Foreign Life Insurance Generally, an excise tax of … Continue reading Do You Have Foreign Life, Sickness, or Casualty Insurance? A Foreign Annuity Contract? Excise Tax / FBAR / Form 8938….

IRS Hits the Jackpot: Another District Court Rejects $100,000 Cap on FBAR Penalty

I have been keeping readers up to date with the current controversy surrounding imposition of an FBAR penalty for “willful” violations. Here’s an overview of where we are to date. “Willful” Penalty Ceiling: The Cases So Far Last year, two district courts had limited the FBAR “willfulness” penalty to $100,000 because the Department of Treasury did … Continue reading IRS Hits the Jackpot: Another District Court Rejects $100,000 Cap on FBAR Penalty