Whether a trust is categorized as a U.S. domestic trust or a foreign trust leads to different tax consequences and different filing obligations. This leads to the following questions: Which tax return must be filed when a trust is converted from a U.S. domestic trust to a foreign trust, and which applies when a foreign trust is converted to a U.S. domestic trust? A Chief Counsel Advice Memorandum, C.C.A. 201432022 issued on August 8, 2014, provides guidance on filing requirements in these fact patterns. Though it stated the obvious, the C.C.A. still leaves questions open, in particular with respect to grantor trusts. This article summarizes the conclusion reached by the C.C.A. and addresses issues for which clarification was not provided.
In approaching the issue, the C.C.A. began by outlining the rules under which the filing status of a trust is determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
U.S. Trust versus Foreign Trust – General Tax Rules
Domestic trusts, like U.S. citizens and residents, are taxed on worldwide income, whereas foreign trusts, like nonresident aliens, are taxed only on U.S.-source income and income effectively connected with the conduct of business in the United States.