HIDE

Other Publications

Insights

Publications

F.A.T.C.A. – Where Do We Stand Today?

F.A.T.C.A. – Where Do We Stand Today?

When F.A.T.C.A. was adopted in 2010, the hoopla from the U.S. Senate promoted the idea that the I.R.S. would become invincible in rooting out recalcitrant Americans not wanting to pay tax and the financial institutions willing to assist them. In principle, information in U.S. tax returns could be compared with F.A.T.C.A. reporting by foreign financial institutions to identify which taxpayers remained offside and which banks had insufficient reporting systems. A recent report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“T.I.G.T.A.”) concluded that after spending nearly $380 million, the I.R.S. is still not prepared to enforce F.A.T.C.A. compliance. In their article, Rusudan Shervashidze and Nina Krauthamer summarize the principal shortfalls and possible solutions identified by T.I.G.T.A. and which suggested action plans the I.R.S. will contemplate.

Read More

U.K. Requirement to Correct

U.K. Requirement to Correct

The “Requirement to Correct” (“R.T.C.”) rules for offshore tax affairs in the U.K. threaten steep penalties if noncompliant taxpayers at April 5, 2017, do not take action to correct the relevant noncompliance by September 30, 2018. In a detailed look at the R.T.C. rules, Gary Ashford of Harbottle & Lewis L.L.P., London, explains the ins and outs of the provisions, including (i) the definition of offshore noncompliance, (ii) covered taxes, (iii) penalties, (iv) the reasonable cause defense, (v) disqualified advice that cannot be reasonable cause, (v) the method that must be followed to implement a valid correction, (vi) the statute of limitations, and (vi) recent guidance from H.M.R.C. regarding last minute notifications by noncompliant taxpayers. The final date for completing a correction is December 29, 2018.

Read More

I.R.S. Announces Six Compliance Campaign

I.R.S. Announces Six Compliance Campaign

The I.R.S. Large Business and International division ("LB&I") recently announced compliance campaigns that are principally directed at compliance in cross-border fact patterns.  Included are campaigns to address (i) non-compliance with respect to Form 3520, (ii) compliance issues related to Form 1042, (iii) nonresident, non-citizen individuals inappropriately claiming tax treaty exemptions, (iv) nonresident, non-citizen individuals inappropriately claiming itemized deductions on tax returns, and (v) inappropriate credits claimed by nonresident, non-citizen individuals. Elizabeth V. Zanet looks into the various campaigns and places into context the effect on individuals.

Read More

Insights Vol. 4 No. 11: Updates & Other Tidbits

Insights Vol. 4 No. 11: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, Sheryl Shah and Nina Krauthamer look briefly at two I.R.S. actions: (i) the roll out of a long-awaited passport denial program and (ii) the end of favorable rulings on certain worthless stock deductions and spinoffs.

Read More

Employment Tax Basics and Paths to Compliance

Employment Tax Basics and Paths to Compliance

 When a company expands across a border, it faces a complex web of employment-related taxes.  Penalties for failure to properly comply with these rules can be severe.  Fanny Karaman looks at the U.S. rules that are applicable to the payment of wages and bonuses, the penalties that can be imposed on compliance failures, and the procedures that are available to cure errors.  The rules are not straightforward, guidance is often minimal, and an experienced advisor is extremely valuable.

Read More

European Commission Proposes New Advisor Disclosure Obligation for Aggressive Tax Planning

European Commission Proposes New Advisor Disclosure Obligation for Aggressive Tax Planning

In June, the European Commission proposed a set of rules calling on tax advisers to report aggressive tax plans submitted to clients.  The proposal identifies the hallmarks of aggressive plans and provides rules for the timing of reports and the exchange of information within Europe.  Fanny Karaman and Stanley C. Ruchelman explain.

Read More

Insights Vol. 4 No. 4: Updates & Other Tidbits

Insights Vol. 4 No. 4: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, Astrid Champion, Nina Krauthamer, and Jennifer Lapper look briefly at several timely issues, including (i) instructions for Form 8975, Country-By-Country Report, and Schedule A, Tax Jurisdiction and Constituent Entity Information, for U.S.-based multinationals, (ii) tax breaks for midsized companies in China, (iii) an executive order calling for review of all I.R.S. regulations issued in 2016, with a view to their withdrawal, and (iv) the French Constitutional debate over penalties for nondisclosure of trust assets.

Read More

Insights Vol. 4 No. 2: Updates & Other Tidbits

Insights Vol. 4 No. 2: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, Astrid Champion and Nina Krauthamer look briefly at several timely issues, including (i) the expansion of the European Commission’s attack on illegal State Aid to the French multinational group Engie (formerly G.D.F. Suez), (ii) the request for review by the French Constitutional Court of the penalties imposed under Article 1736, IV bis of the French Tax Code, regarding the failure to disclose a connection with a foreign trust, and (iii) the decision of the European Commission in World Duty Free Group, which affirms the criteria for judging whether a measure by a Member State is selective in relation to certain companies and not others and, for that reason, constitutes illegal State Aid. 

Read More

News on the French Front: Tax Law Changes for Corporations and Individuals

News on the French Front: Tax Law Changes for Corporations and Individuals

In France, the enactment of new tax law provisions requires a multi-faceted procedure involving many steps carried out by the government, two houses of parliament, specialized committees, a conference of both houses of parliament, and a review by the French Constitutional Court.  Once the full procedure is completed, the new law may be effective retroactively.  Many changes in tax law were made in 2016, including the adoption of employee withholding tax, changes to the free share regime, a reduction to the corporate tax rate, extension of exemptions to the corporate tax on the payment of dividends, and the parent-subsidiary regime.  Fanny Karaman and Astrid Champion discuss these and other changes.

Read More

U.K. Criminal Penalties for Improper Tax Planning – Could You Be Effected?

U.K. Criminal Penalties for Improper Tax Planning – Could You Be Effected?

New powers have been given to H.M.R.C. in recent legislation, and new criminal and civil penalties have been enacted as part of a massive legislative program designed to stop U.K. residents from participating in offshore tax avoidance and evasion schemes.  Several criminal penalties are directed to advisory firms that facilitated tax offenses.  In certain circumstances, advisory firms based outside the U.K. will be at risk of prosecution.  Gary Ashford of Harbottle and Lewis L.L.P., London, and Stanley C. Ruchelman examine the new provisions.

Read More

Insights Vol. 3 No. 10: Updates & Other Tidbits

Insights Vol. 3 No. 10: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month Sultan Arab, Nina Krauthamer, and Galia Antebi look briefly at several timely issues, including (i) a Swiss court order granting UBS the right to appeal an administrative order to disclose French client information to French tax authorities, (ii) the expansion of I.R.S. offshore tax avoidance investigations to banks in countries other than Switzerland, and (iii) a continuing controversy over the Common Consolidated Tax Base, known as the C.C.T.B., proposed by the E.U. Commission.

Read More

Insights Vol. 3 No. 9: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, the authors look briefly at several timely issues, including (i) the filing of appeals briefs in two major cases lost by the I.R.S., Altera and Xilinx, (ii) recent competent authority activity between the U.S. and India, (iii) the future of U.K. automobile assembly plants operated by U.K. subsidiaries of Japanese automakers, and (iv) final State Department rules concerning the revocation of U.S. passports issued to individuals who have a seriously delinquent tax debt.  Kenneth Lobo, Michael Peggs, Nina Krauthamer, and Sultan Arab contribute.

Read More

An American Solution to Offshore Tax Evasion

Volume 2 No 5    /    Read Article

By Robert J. Alter (guest author)

The United States Department of Justice Tax Division and the I.R.S. have been ramping up an intense crackdown on offshore tax evasion, and while new budget cuts have vastly reduced I.R.S. resources, the cutbacks are having no effect on I.R.S. enforcement initiatives in this area. Robert J. Alter of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter discusses the U.S. crackdown on offshore tax evasion and the various programs available to rectify noncompliance, including the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, Streamlined Procedures, Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures, and Delinquent F.B.A.R. Submission Procedures.   See more →

The Italian Voluntary Disclosure

Read Publication

INTRODUCTION

Italy has a long history of tax amnesty programs established under a broad variety of names and rules. Interestingly, every new program has been described as “the last chance” for tax evaders to comply with the Italian tax code. It is no wonder that, as in all prior cases, Italy’s most recent voluntary disclosure program (the “V.D.”) has been defined as the “last call.” Having said that, and sensitive to prior performance, we firmly believe that for a wide range of reasons the V.D. will truly be the last opportunity for Italian citizens and residents to get their tax matters in order.

One indicator is heightened criticism of the typical Italian de facto tolerance toward tax evasion, which is now being blamed for the country’s ongoing economic crisis. Accordingly, the war against tax havens, as initiated by the U.S. under F.A.T.C.A. and subsequent inter-governmental agreements, has changed the way the whole world approaches such matters. Today, there is a new sensitivity toward tax compliance and no discernable government or media tolerance towards tax avoidance.

In addition, a different approach is now being taken with respect to tax amnesty matters. In the past, there was a sort of “reward” for the penitent evaders. Such individuals were granted the opportunity to regularize their positions by paying a low flat-rate extraordinary tax. The V.D. is different. Under the new provisions of the Law n. 186, dated December 15, 2014, (the “V.D. Act”), a taxpayer who enters the V.D. procedure (“V.D. Applicant”) will be required to pay every single euro of unpaid tax; the only benefit lies in the reduction of penalties, which are less than those applicable in an ordinary tax audit procedure.

Insights Vol. 1 No. 11: Updates & Other Tidbits

Read Publication

B.E.P.S. PROJECT FACES CHALLENGE IN ADDRESSING C.F.C. RULES

The O.E.C.D.’s pending base erosion and profit shifting action plan is due to face a significant challenge as to how to address controlled foreign corporations. Action 3, which strengthens C.F.C. rules, is set to be released in 2015. Currently, European case law restricts the scope of E.U. members establishing C.F.C. regimes.

Stephen E. Shay of Harvard Law School says the U.S. is encouraging the expansion of the C.F.C. rules as a way to solve several of the issues the B.E.P.S. action plan is trying to address, however, these new rules run the risk of being contrary to E.U. jurisprudence. The E.U.’s ability to adopt stringent C.F.C. rules is limited by the Cadbury Schweppes (C-196/04), a 2006 ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union. The Court held that E.U. freedom of establishment provisions preclude the U.K. C.F.C. regime unless the regime “relates only to wholly artificial arrangements intended to escape the national tax normally payable.”

Without resolving the issue among E.U. countries, Action 3 may not be effective in appropriately addressing earnings stripping. However, Shay also added that Action 2, which neutralizes the effects of hybrid mismatch arrangements, so far appears to include an approach that works without C.F.C. rules.

CHARGES LAID AGAINST U.S. CITIZEN FOR MAINTAINING ALLEGED SECRET SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS

Department of Justice announced that charges have been laid against Peter Canale, a U.S. citizen and resident of Kentucky, for conspiring to defraud the I.R.S., evade taxes, and file a false individual income tax return. It is alleged that Canale conspired with his brother and two Swiss citizens to establish and maintain secret, undeclared bank accounts in Switzerland.

In approximately the year 2000, a relative of Canale died and left a substantial portion of assets which were held in an undeclared Swiss bank account to Canale and his brother, Michael. The brothers met with two Swiss citizens, who agreed to continue to maintain the assets in the undeclared account for the benefit of the Canales.

Voluntary Tax Regularization: A U.S. and French Comparison

In the U.S., "the Tax Division is committed to using every tool available in its efforts to identify, investigate, and prosecute" noncompliant U.S. taxpayers who would use secret offshore bank accounts. France has also joined in the effort to combat international tax avoidance, tightening up its rules by allowing taxpayers to voluntarily declare assets held abroad. Nicolas Melot, Fanny Karaman, and Sheryl Shah explore the differences in France and the U.S. in the disclosure programs that cover undisclosed foreign financial accounts.

Read More

F.B.A.R. Update: What You Need to Know

Read Publication

NOTWITHSTANDING OFFICIAL COMMENTS, BITCOIN EXCHANGE ACCOUNTS SHOULD BE REPORTED ON F.B.A.R.’S

As noted in our previous issue, the I.R.S. clarified the tax treatment of Bitcoin, ruling that Bitcoin will not be treated as foreign currency but will be treated as property for U.S. Federal income tax purposes. As a result, the I.R.S. ruling may allow for capital gains treatment on the sale of Bitcoin. However, the ruling did not address whether Bitcoin is subject to Form 114 reporting.

This month, pursuant to a recent I.R.S. webinar, an I.R.S. official stated that Bitcoins are not required to be reported on this year’s Form 114. However, the official noted that the issue is under scrutiny, and caveated that the view could be changed in the future.

Notwithstanding the official’s comments, whether Bitcoin is a reportable asset will depend on the nature and manner it is held.

Tax 101: Undisclosed Offshore Accounts, Are You Eligible for Streamlined Procedures?

Volume 1 No 1    |    Read Article

By Stanley C. Ruchelman and Armin Gray

For persons having undisclosed offshore accounts and contemplating participation in the I.R.S. voluntary disclosure program, one frequently asked question is eligibility for the streamlined procedures (“Streamlined Procedures”) announced by the I.R.S. O.V.D.I. The Streamlined Procedures are effective as of September 1, 2012 and should be considered if there are offshore tax-noncompliance issues. If an individual qualifies, the benefits are substantial: he or she will be eligible for fast-track resolution of the case, the look-back period is limited to three years of delinquent tax returns and six years of F.B.A.R.'s, and he or she will avoid penalties. However, most taxpayers will not qualify as eligibility is limited to a narrow class of taxpayers where intentional tax non-compliance is unlikely to exist.   See more →

Tax Planning and Compliance for Foreign Businesses with U.S. Activity

Published 2009.

Read More