International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Monday, November 6, 2017

Early Christmas Gift Announcement: US Overseas Taxpayers Subject to Three New IRS Scrutiny Campaigns & Audits Next Year

Since the enactment of FATCA, US persons (citizens and green card holders) overseas have, via lobbying efforts, requested relief from the additional tax compliance burdens placed Christmas-eve-1846481_960_720 upon them that appear to be increasing their costs of living overseas (which is generally more expensive than living in the USA anyway).  Their arguments fall into the following three: (1) generally, they file foreign tax returns and pay local tax preparation services but must also pay an additional $2,000- $3,000 for a US tax preparation service specialized in foreign residence; (2) generally the foreign income exclusion and foreign tax credit wash out the U.S. tax burden but for anomalies in definitions between retirement plans that cause undue burden on foreign residents US persons; and (3) US persons must pay more for financial services because they have become the pariah of the financial world. 

On November 3, 2017, the IRS responded.  But the response is not exactly what the foreign resident U.S. persons had in mind.  The IRS will subject these foreign resident U.S. persons to three new compliance campaigns to root out the noncompliant, employing audits and other investigatory strategies.  The IRS has delivered an early Christmas announcement for US tax advisers of the coming great year!  Advising on the new tax code section enacted pursuant to "tax reform simplification" combined with advising the foreign resident US taxpayers that will potentially be caught up in the three campaigns' scrutiny will deliver strong 2018 fee earning results.  

  • Foreign Earned Income Exclusion Campaign

Practice Area: Withholding & International Individual Compliance

Lead ExecutiveJohn Cardone

Individuals who meet certain requirements may qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion and/or the foreign housing exclusion or deduction. This campaign addresses taxpayers who have claimed these benefits but do not meet the requirements. The Internal Revenue Service will address noncompliance through a variety of treatment streams, including examination.

  • Individual Foreign Tax Credit (Form 1116)

Practice Area: Western Compliance Practice Area

Lead Executive: Paul Curtis

Individuals file Form 1116 to claim a credit that reduces their U.S. income tax liability for the amount of foreign taxes paid on foreign source income. This campaign addresses taxpayer compliance with the computation of the foreign tax credit limitation on Form 1116. Due to the complexity of computing the Foreign Tax Credit and challenges associated with third-party reporting information, some taxpayers face the risk of claiming an incorrect Foreign Tax Credit amount. The IRS will address noncompliance through a variety of treatment streams including examinations.

These campaigns represent the second wave of LB&I's issue-based compliance work. More campaigns will continue to be identified, approved and launched in the coming months.

  • Swiss Bank Program Campaign

Practice Area: Withholding & International Individual Compliance

Lead Executive: John Cardone

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the Swiss Bank Program as a path for Swiss financial institutions to resolve potential criminal liabilities. Banks that are participating in this program provide information on the U.S. persons with beneficial ownership of foreign financial accounts. This campaign will address noncompliance, involving taxpayers who are or may be beneficial owners of these accounts, through a variety of treatment streams including, but not limited to, examinations.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/intfinlaw/2017/11/early-christmas-gift-announcement-us-overseas-taxpayers-subject-to-three-new-irs-scrutiny-campaigns-.html

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