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Showing posts with label international investments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label international investments. Show all posts

September 19, 2011

IRS Voluntary Disclosure after 9/9/11



Standard Taxpayer IRS Voluntary Disclosure is still available after 9/9/11. 

 If you missed the 9/9/11 Deadline to enter the 2011 iRS Voluntary Disclosure Program you still can take advantage of the IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program which has always been in effect.  This procedure should be followed if  you have unfilled past tax returns and also have FBAR, Foreign Corporation, Foreign Partnership, Foreign Trust, and other special IRS forms which have not been filed in a timely manner.  The procedure described below is only available if you come forward first before the IRS discovers you have not been filing.

Read the details of the program below.

Voluntary Disclosure Practice

(1)  It is currently the practice of the IRS that a voluntary disclosure will be considered along with all other factors in the investigation in determining whether criminal prosecution will be recommended.  This voluntary disclosure practice creates no substantive or procedural rights for taxpayers, but rather is a matter of internal IRS practice, provided solely for guidance to IRS personnel.  Taxpayers cannot rely on the fact that other similarly situated taxpayers may not have been recommended for criminal prosecution.
(2)  A voluntary disclosure will not automatically guarantee immunity from  prosecution; however, a voluntary disclosure may result in prosecution not being recommended.  This practice does not apply to taxpayers with illegal source income.
(3)  A voluntary disclosure occurs when the communication is truthful, timely, complete, and when: 
a.  the taxpayer shows a willingness to cooperate (and  does in fact cooperate) with the IRS in determining his or her correct tax liability; and
b.   the taxpayer makes good faith arrangements with the IRS to pay in full, the tax, interest, and any penalties determined by the IRS to be applicable.
(4) A disclosure is timely if it is received before:
a.  the IRS has initiated a civil examination or criminal investigation of the taxpayer, or has notified the taxpayer that it intends to commence such an examination or investigation;
b.  the IRS has received information from a third party (e.g., informant, other governmental agency, or the media) alerting the IRS to the specific taxpayer’s noncompliance;
c.  the IRS has initiated a civil examination or criminal investigation which is directly related to the specific liability of the taxpayer; or
d.  the IRS has acquired information directly related to the specific liability of the taxpayer from a criminal enforcement action (e.g., search warrant, grand jury subpoena).
(5)  Any taxpayer who contacts the IRS in person or through a representative regarding voluntary disclosure will be directed to Criminal Investigation for evaluation of the disclosure.  Special agents are encouraged to consult Area Counsel, Criminal Tax on voluntary disclosure issues.

(6)  Examples of voluntary disclosures include:
a.  a letter from an attorney which encloses amended returns from a client which are complete and accurate (reporting legal source income omitted from the original returns), which offers to pay the tax, interest, and any penalties determined by the IRS to be applicable in full and which meets the timeliness standard set forth above.  This is a voluntary disclosure because all elements of (3), above are met.
b.  a disclosure made by a taxpayer of omitted income facilitated through a barter exchange after the IRS has announced that it has begun a civil compliance project targeting barter exchanges; however the IRS has not yet commenced an examination or investigation of the taxpayer or notified the taxpayer of its intention to do so.  In addition, the taxpayer files complete and accurate amended returns and makes arrangements with the IRS to pay in full, the tax, interest, and any penalties determined by the IRS to be applicable.  This is a voluntary disclosure because the civil compliance project involving barter exchanges does not yet directly relate to the specific liability of the taxpayer and  because all other elements of (3), above are met
c.  a disclosure made by a taxpayer of omitted income facilitated through a widely promoted scheme regarding which the IRS has begun a civil compliance project and already obtained information which might lead to an examination of the taxpayer; however, the IRS has not yet commenced an examination or investigation of the taxpayer or notified the taxpayer of its intent to do so.  In addition, the  taxpayer files complete and accurate returns and makes arrangements with the IRS to pay in full, the tax, interest, and any penalties determined by the IRS to be applicable.  This is a voluntary disclosure because the civil compliance project involving the scheme does not yet directly relate to the specific liability of the taxpayer and because all other elements of (3), above are met.
d.  A disclosure made by an individual who has not filed tax returns after the individual has received a notice stating that the IRS has no record of receiving a return for a particular year and inquiring into whether the taxpayer filed a return for that year.  The individual files complete and accurate returns and makes arrangements with the IRS to pay the tax, interest, and any penalties determined by the IRS to be applicable in full.  This is a voluntary disclosure because the IRS has not yet commenced an examination or investigation of the taxpayer or notified the taxpayer of its intent to do so and because all other elements of (3), above, are met.
(7) Examples of what are not voluntary disclosures include:
a.  a letter from an attorney stating his or her client, who wishes to remain anonymous, wants to resolve his or her tax liability. This is not a voluntary disclosure until the identity of the taxpayer is disclosed and all other elements of (3) above have been met.
b.  a disclosure made by a taxpayer who is under grand jury investigation.  This is not a voluntary disclosure because the taxpayer is already under criminal investigation.  The conclusion would be the same whether or not the taxpayer knew of the grand jury investigation.
c.  a disclosure made by a taxpayer, who is not currently under examination or investigation, of omitted gross receipts from a partnership, but whose partner is already under investigation for omitted income skimmed from the partnership.  This is not a voluntary disclosure because the IRS has already initiated an investigation which is directly related to the specific liability of this taxpayer.  The conclusion would be the same whether or not the taxpayer knew of the ongoing investigation.
d.  a disclosure made by a taxpayer, who is not currently under examination or investigation, of omitted constructive dividends received from a corporation which is currently  under examination.  This is not a voluntary disclosure because the IRS has already initiated an examination which is directly related to the specific liability of this taxpayer.  The conclusion would be the same whether or not the taxpayer knew of the ongoing examination.
e.  a disclosure made by a taxpayer after an employee has contacted the IRS regarding the taxpayer's double set of books.  This is not a voluntary disclosure even if no examination or investigation has yet commenced because the IRS has already been informed by the third party of the specific taxpayer's noncompliance.  The conclusion would be the same whether or not the taxpayer knew of the informant's contact with the IRS.

We can help you make a Voluntary Disclosure and provide you with the complete confidentiality and privacy of  "Attorney-client" privilege.  Do not wait until it is too late.

April 7, 2011

PASSIVE FOREIGN INVESTMENT COMPANY SPECIAL RULES FOR TAXES - Form 8621


For purposes of income tax in the U.S., U.S. persons owning shares of a passive foreign investment company (PFIC) may choose between (i) current taxation on the income of the PFIC or (ii) deferral of such income subject to a deemed tax and interest regime. The provision was enacted as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 as a way of placing owners of offshore investment funds on a similar footing to owners of U.S. investment funds (regulated investment companies). The original provisions applied for all foreign corporations meeting either an income or an asset test. However, 1997 amendments limited the application in the case of U.S. Shareholders of controlled foreign corporations.

PFIC Defined

Any foreign (i.e., non-U.S.) corporation meeting either the income test or the asset test is a PFIC with respect to each shareholder when the test is met. PFIC status applies separately for each U.S. person owning shares, and also separately with respect to shares acquired at different times. PFIC status does not, itself, have any impact on the foreign corporation or foreign shareholders.
The income test is met if 75% or more of the foreign corporation's gross income is passive income, defined as foreign personal holding company income with modifications.
The asset test is met if 50% or more of the foreign corporation's average assets (as defined in the IR Code) produce, or could produce passive income, or are assets (such as cash and bare land) that produce no income. The test is applied based on the foreign corporation's adjusted basis, for U.S. tax purposes, of the assets, or at the election of the particular shareholder, fair market values of the assets.
Look-thru of 25% subsidiaries: Interests in 25% or more owned foreign corporations are treated similarly to partnership interests (i.e., looked through) for the income test and the asset test.


Effect of PFIC Status
If a U.S. person receives income from a PFIC or recognizes gain from disposition of shares of a PFIC, such person is subject to a tax and interest regime. A shareholder may elect out of this regime (see QEF below). The regime applies only to any distribution or gain in excess of 125% of the average distributions for the prior three years. This regime is as follows: First, such income or gain (in excess of the 125%) is allocated pro rata to each day of the person's holding period for the particular shares. Next, the amounts allocated to prior years after 1986 are excluded from current year taxable income. Then tax is computed on amounts allocated to each prior year at the maximum rate of tax applicable to the type of taxpayer for such year (prior year tax). Then interest is computed on such prior year tax as if it were an underpayment of tax (interest charge). Finally, current year tax is increased by the aggregate of prior year tax amounts and interest charge amounts.
The interest charges are computed using daily compounding. Thus, the interest charges and prior year tax amounts may exceed the income recognized, if the holding period of the shares is long enough.
Shareholders of a PFIC (including a QEF) are eligible for foreign tax credit with respect to the current and deemed prior year taxes, including the deemed paid credit for 10% corporate shareholders of the PFIC.
Shareholders of a PFIC should consider filing IRS Form 8621 to make certain elections which may reduce their tax burden. Read more about the PFIC rules by downloading the IRS Instructions.