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Monthly Archives: November 2019

G20 Celebrates End of Offshore Banking Secrecy!

According to the OECD, on 26-27 November, the 10th Anniversary Meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the Global Forum) in Paris will bring together more than 500 delegates from 131 member jurisdictions for renewed discussions on efforts to advance the tax transparency agenda.
It Has Been Ten Years Since The G20 Declared The End Of Banking Secrecy, The International Community Has Achieved Unprecedented Success In Using New Transparency Standards To Fight Offshore Tax Evasion. 
Working through the Global Forum, 158 member jurisdictions have implemented robust standards that have prompted a tidal shift in exchange of information for tax purposes.

 
At the heart of this shift are thousands of bilateral exchange relationships now in place, which have enabled more than 250 000 information exchange requests over the past decade.
 
According to data in The Global Forum’s 10th anniversary report, in 2018 nearly 100 member jurisdictions automatically exchanged information on 47 million financial accounts, covering total assets of USD 4.9 trillion. In total, more than EUR 100 billion in additional tax revenue has been identified since 2009.

 
 
A recent OECD study shows that wider exchange of information driven by the Global Forum is associated with a global reduction in foreign-owned bank deposits in international financial centres (IFC) by 24% (USD 410 billion) between 2008 and 2019. The commencement of AEOI in 2017 and 2018 is associated with an average reduction in IFC bank deposits owned by non-IFC residents of 22%.

“The Global Forum has been a game-changer,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Thanks to international co‑operation, tax authorities now have access to a huge trove of information that was previously beyond reach. Tax authorities are talking to each other and taxpayers are starting to understand that there’s nowhere left to hide. The benefits to the tax system’s fairness are enormous,” Mr Gurría said.

 
Almost all Global Forum members have eliminated bank secrecy for tax purposes, with nearly 70 jurisdictions changing their laws since 2009. Almost all members either forbid bearer shares– previously a longstanding impediment to tax compliance efforts – or ensure that the owners can be identified. Since 2017, members must also ensure transparency of the beneficial owners of legal entities, so these cannot be used to conceal ownership and evade tax.
 
Tax transparency is particularly important for developing countries. With support from the Global Forum, 85 developing country members have used exchange of information to strengthen their tax collection capacity. The Africa Initiative has helped African members identify over EUR 90 million in additional tax revenues in 2018, thanks to information exchanges and voluntary disclosures. To improve developing countries’ uptake of automatic exchange of financial information, the OECD-UNDP Tax Inspectors Without Borders Initiative today launched a pilot project aimed at supporting the effective use of the data.
 
“There is still a lot of work ahead of us,” said Zayda Manatta, head of the Global Forum Secretariat. “Members must continue efforts to ensure full implementation of existing standards and address the tax transparency challenges of an increasingly integrated and digitalised global economy.”
 
 
Have Unreported Income From Offshore Accounts?

 
 
Want To Know Which OVDP Program is Right for You?

 
 
Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A. 
 
 for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact us at:
www.TaxAid.com or www.OVDPLaw.com
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243). 
 

 
 
 
 
 

Read more at: Tax Times blog

Trends in IRS audits – Part I

According to accountinTODAY, most taxpayers envision Internal Revenue Service audits as intrusive investigations resulting in criminal sentences. Today, nothing could be farther than the truth. The IRS’s auditing power has been greatly diminished in the past decade. IRS audit resources have been reduced by 28 percent in the last decade and the audit rate has dropped from 0.9 percent in 2010 to 0.5 percent in 2018. In fact, the number of IRS audits in 2018 (991,168 audits) dropped almost in half compared to 2010 (1.735 million audits).

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Since 2010, the IRS has been tasked with doing more with less resources, but the reality is that the IRS cannot do more audits with less resources. The IRS audit data reveals 10 trends from the past decade that have become the new realities for current state of IRS audits.


1. Most audits are done by mail - This trend started with IRS reforms in the late 1990s. In 1998, just before IRS reforms, the service audited 47 percent of taxpayers by mail. In the past decade, IRS data shows that the service prefers the less-intrusive mail audit. Today, three out of four audits of individual taxpayers are done by mail — a ratio that has held since 2010. These audits usually challenge small amounts of credits or deductions on a return, and require only a mail response, with documentation, to an IRS central campus location.

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2. The main issue in audits: The EITC -Fifty percent of all individual audits involve a taxpayer who is claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit. IRS efforts to curb EITC errors largely rely on audits to hold a questionable EITC claim on a return. Politicians have criticized the IRS in the past for picking on low-income taxpayers, and the EITC audit rate is their main evidence. Compared to other taxpayer profiles, the IRS clearly has the propensity to address the EITC taxpayer more than other issues, even the small-business individual taxpayers.
 
3. An alarming amount of people do not respond to an auditThere is linkage here to the EITC mail audit. The Taxpayer Advocate reports that almost two-thirds of all mail audits go without response or are assessed by taxpayer default. That is, the IRS just assesses the additional tax without the taxpayer contesting the service’s determination. Only one in five taxpayers agree to their mail audit adjustment — and likely, from the data, they don’t understand how to appeal. This mess leads to many audit reconsiderations (i.e. an audit “re-do” request). Again, more question marks here for the targets of mail audits — the low-income population.
 
 
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To be continued in parts II & III. 
Have an IRS Tax Problem?
 
 
 
Contact the Tax Lawyers at

Marini & Associates, P.A. 
 
 for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact us at:
www.TaxAid.com or www.OVDPLaw.com
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243). 
 

Read more at: Tax Times blog

Ten Facts About Tax Expatriation – Part II

On November 6, 2019 we posted Ten Facts About Tax Expatriation - Part I, where we discussed that whatever your motives, just because you leave the United States and renounce your citizenship, don't assume you can leave U.S. taxes (or U.S. tax forms and complexity) behind, particularly if you are financially well-off.

For those who expatriate after June 16, 2008, the rules are different, since Internal Revenue Code Section 877A applies instead of Section 877. You are subject to an immediate exit tax, which deems you (for tax purposes) to have sold all of your worldwide property for its fair market value the day before your departure from the U.S.
We also discussed in Ten Facts About Tax Expatriation - Part I:

1. Uncle Sam taxes income worldwide.

2. Expatriating means really leaving.

3. The old 10-year window is closed.

Herein will discuss 7 more, of the 10 things you need to know about Expatriation:
(set forth below and in one subsequent blog posts)

4. Big changes came in 1996.
Thirty years later, in 1996, after the Forbes story on "The New Refugees" created a stir, Congress tried again. As part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (otherwise known as HIPAA), Congress added a presumption of tax avoidance if an expatriate's five-year average net income tax exceeded $100,000, or if the expatriate's net worth was $500,000 or more (both adjusted each year for inflation). But people could--and with the help of skilled lawyers did--rebut the presumption, and the IRS still had to show tax avoidance in most cases.

5. Tax avoidance is now irrelevant.
In 2004 (in the American Jobs Creation Act), Congress threw out the tax avoidance motive test altogether, imposing 10 years of U.S. tax on U.S. source gross income and gains on a net basis if you left the country for any reason. However, Congress increased the threshold for determining who was subject to this expatriation tax. An individual was only subject to the expatriation tax if he had an average net annual income tax for the five years preceding expatriation of $124,000, or if he had a net worth of $2 million or more on the date of expatriation. (If you expatriated on or after June 17, 2008, under the new Section 877A, there is a higher net worth threshold--currently $145,000 of annual net income tax for 2010.)

In some cases, even if you're below these thresholds, you'll get taxed. For example, expatriates must certify their past U.S. tax compliance by filing an IRS Form 8854. Any expatriate who fails to certify compliance with U.S. federal income tax laws for the five taxable years preceding expatriating is subject to the expatriate income tax even if he didn't meet the income tax liability or net worth tests.
Plus, later U.S. visits can be expensive if you expatriated before June 17, 2008 (and Internal Revenue Code Section 877 applies). In that case if an expatriate comes back to the U.S. for more than 30 days in any year during the 10 years following expatriation, that person is considered a resident of the U.S. for that whole tax year. That means the person would again be subject to U.S. tax on his worldwide income, not just his U.S.-source income. Ouch!

This 30-day rule does, however, have an exception for any days (up to a 30-day limit) that the individual performed personal services in the U.S. for an employer (who is not related). This exception only applies if that individual either had certain ties with other countries or was physically present in the U.S. for 30 days or less for each year in the 10-year period on the date of expatriation or termination of residency.

6. There are special rules for long-term residents.
It's easy to define who is or is not a U.S. citizen, but the term "long-term resident" isn't quite so clear. A long-term resident is a non-U.S. citizen who is a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. in at least eight years during the 15-year period before that person's residency ends. A "lawful permanent resident" means a green card holder. However, a person is not treated as a lawful permanent resident for purposes of this eight-year test in a year in which that person is treated as a resident of a foreign country under a tax treaty, and does not waive the treaty benefits applicable to the residents of that country. Caution: holding a green card for even one day during a year will taint the whole year.

7. There's an exit tax for expatriations on or after June 17, 2008.
The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (generally known as the Heroes Act) changed the method of taxation for those who became expatriates on or after June 17, 2008, adding even more complexity and usually higher U.S. taxes. If you are a U.S. citizen or long-term resident who expatriates on or after June 17, 2008, you will be deemed (for tax purposes) to have sold all of your worldwide property for its fair market value the day before you leave the U.S.! All that gain is subject to U.S. tax at the capital gains rate. Plus, all your gain is taken into account without regard to any ameliorative tax provisions in the Internal Revenue Code.
Put differently, you get all of the bad parts of the tax code, and none of the good. That would include, for example, the inability to benefit from the $250,000 per person ($500,000 per couple) exclusion from gain on a principal residence (Section 121 of the Internal Revenue Code) and many other rules. The exit tax is like an estate tax, in the sense that everything that would be part of your estate will be subject to income tax on unrealized gains as of the day before you expatriate, as if you sold all your assets the day before leaving. In effect this is Congress' way of making sure your assets don't escape the estate tax entirely through expatriation.

"Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

 

Need Advise on Expatriation? 

 

Contact the Tax Lawyers of
Marini & Associates, P.A.

 

For a FREE Tax Consultation at:
Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid ( 888 882-9243)

 

 

Read more at: Tax Times blog