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Foreign Trust Accounts Fall under Reach of FATCA

FATCA requires offshore trust accounts to disclose information to the IRS or face penalties or U.S. sanctions on funds transfers.  The Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has created a slew of new requirements for United States citizens with funds and income in offshore accounts.  In addition to requiring citizens and foreign financial institutions to disclose information regarding personal and business accounts with U.S. owners, beneficiaries, or signatories, the law also requires the disclosure of foreign trust accounts.  Recently, trustees of private family trusts with U.S. ties are being advised to comply with the new FATCA obligations.  This includes individuals who may be beneficiaries or signatories on such accounts. What does this mean for trusts? Information regarding the deadline for disclosure reporting from trust accounts has been ambiguous. The Financial Times (FT) recently published an article about this process, and urged citizens who this may involve to research the new requirements under FATCA and take the necessary steps to remain compliant. According to U.S. tax authorities, investment-based trusts can be considered a “financial institution” if they are managed by a discretionary fund manager.  Because of this definition, those parties would be responsible for disclosing information in the same way a [...]

By | 2017-01-01T11:26:31+00:00 December 18th, 2014|Freeman Tax Law|Comments Off on Foreign Trust Accounts Fall under Reach of FATCA

Professional Tax Planning Can Lead to Significant Savings

As tax season approaches, it is important to find a reliable and experienced tax lawyer to help you identify possible tax savings and ensure compliance with changing processes and procedures.  Tax season might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of ways to save money, but by partnering with an experienced professional tax lawyer, this just might be the case.  Lawyers who are familiar with tax law are able to help clients identify and plan for savings while managing their wealth.  Each time you submit a tax return, it should be viewed as an opportunity to discover savings opportunities rather than just an expensive headache. Professional Guidance Results in Savings Tax laws change constantly, and it can be helpful to have an experienced tax lawyer on your side to identify updates that affect your financial circumstances and help ensure you are always in compliance with new requirements.  For example, in past years, the IRS has updated processes regarding business tax credits, deductions, and capital gains.  Furthermore, you may be eligible for certain credits based on recent life experiences including starting a home business, having a child, going back to school, or purchasing or selling a [...]

By | 2017-01-01T11:26:31+00:00 December 17th, 2014|Freeman Tax Law|Comments Off on Professional Tax Planning Can Lead to Significant Savings

Failure to Disclose Expensive Assets May Put Taxpayers in Hot Water with IRS

Taxpayers are required to disclose all income and assets to the U.S. government and with laws like FATCA, failure to do so could mean steep penalties. Understanding tax laws can often be a confusing, and tedious process for taxpayers.  As procedures change, navigating the updates can be a challenging task.  Furthermore, reporting requirements may seem daunting for those who receive income from a variety of sources such as self-employment, tips, or inconsistent cash payments or who hold accounts or income overseas.  However, when it comes to compliance, it is never a good idea to purposefully mislead the IRS or fail to disclose income and assets.  This is especially true for U.S. residents living abroad since the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was passed and went into effect July of this year. Financial Transparency Overseas FATCA was passed in 2010, and now requires banks, investment groups, and other financial institutions to gather and disclose information on all accounts held by U.S. citizens.  Failure to comply would lead to penalties for U.S. taxpayers and a 30% tax withholding penalty on all U.S. funds for banks and other financial institutions. For years, U.S. citizens have been able to take advantage of offshore [...]

By | 2017-01-01T11:26:32+00:00 December 17th, 2014|Freeman Tax Law|Comments Off on Failure to Disclose Expensive Assets May Put Taxpayers in Hot Water with IRS

FATCA Compliance Efforts Give Taxpayers and Foreign Financial Institutions an Advantage with IRS

FATCA causes foreign banking and financial institutions to place priority on information sharing practices and procedures. Foreign banks, financial institutions, and U.S. taxpayers living abroad are being advised to show a strong “good faith” effort in complying with the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act.  Passed in 2010, the law requires banks, investment groups, and other financial institutions to gather and disclose information on all accounts held by U.S. citizens.  Failure to comply would lead to penalties for U.S. taxpayers and a 30% tax withholding penalty on all U.S. funds for banks and other financial institutions. Putting Effective Practices into Place FATCA officially went into effect in July, 2014 and as a result many banks and overseas institutions are dealing with the real effects of meeting compliance.  For some, it can be a costly process.  By showing that they have made legitimate efforts to set up training and procedural processes regarding FATCA compliance, financial institutions may have a better chance of avoiding restrictions or penalties imposed by the United States.   Furthermore, institutions should realize inter-governmental cooperation regarding tax information sharing is becoming more and more standard, and setting effective documentation and communication practices could be of significant benefit in the future. [...]

By | 2017-01-01T11:26:32+00:00 December 17th, 2014|Freeman Tax Law|Comments Off on FATCA Compliance Efforts Give Taxpayers and Foreign Financial Institutions an Advantage with IRS

Global Acceptance of Standardized Tax Information Exchange Gaining Ground

U.S. legislators fueled the movement towards creating a globally standardized process surrounding the communication and sharing of tax and financial information with the introduction of FATCA. The Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) set the foreign financial sector in motion when it was initially passed in 2010.  Since that time, financial institutions across the world have been working to understand the requirements and implications of complying with FATCA.  The law requires foreign financial institutions to share information regarding U.S. account holders with the IRS.  Those who fail to comply face penalties such as a 30% reduction in international monetary transfers from U.S. sources.  The effects of the law have had a wide reach, as other countries and world leaders are also seeking to establish a more standardized information exchange process among tax authorities across the world. International Movement towards Information Standards One international group in particular which has spearheaded these efforts is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  This group is advocating for one global standard regarding the exchange of information among countries and financial institutions for tax purposes.  The council adopted a declaration on the automatic exchange of information in tax matters and is moving towards finding [...]

By | 2017-01-01T11:26:33+00:00 December 15th, 2014|Freeman Tax Law|Comments Off on Global Acceptance of Standardized Tax Information Exchange Gaining Ground

FATCA Compliance Comes with Higher Costs than Anticipated

A recent study reveals that FATCA is causing unexpected increases in budget costs for many foreign institutions. Foreign banking institutions are realizing significant increased costs due to the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act as the year draws to a close and the final costs are being calculated.  According to a recent Thompson Reuters study, foreign institutions have reported higher than anticipated costs in connection with reporting and compliance expenses for FATCA. Costly Consequences Three hundred institutions were surveyed by Thompson Reuters.  Of those, 55% have stated that they expect to exceed their budget for FATCA compliance by the end of the year.  This means over half of the institutions underestimated the mounting costs of documentation and reporting procedures tied to FATCA compliance.  Unfortunately, these extra costs end up causing a significant strain on each institutions budget.  Consequently, these institutions are seeking professional help to navigate FATCA regulations in a more effective way to reduce costs while still ensuring compliance. Where to Turn? When it comes to understanding the nuances of FATCA reporting and documentation procedures, there is professional assistance available.  Law firms like Freeman Tax Law specialize in representing financial institutions and US financial institutions so they can stay compliant [...]

By | 2017-01-01T11:26:34+00:00 December 10th, 2014|Freeman Tax Law|Comments Off on FATCA Compliance Comes with Higher Costs than Anticipated

You left them off your taxes, but what about your will?

Cleaning up offshore accounts isn't over after you file with the IRS. Prevent future legal hassles by planning your estate with a wealth management team. Jeffrey S. Freeman, J.D., LL.M Chances are if you didn't disclose your offshore account on your taxes there are other legal ramifications beyond your tax responsibilities. Filing the correct returns, FBARs, and paying penalties to the IRS all need to be done, but the work of actually cleaning up your assets does not stop there. Succession Planning After you clean up your tax situation you want to start planning for the future and if appropriate bring offshore funds back to the USA, especially if they were only kept abroad for tax evasion purposes. It's not a fun topic, but what happens to your foreign assets when you die? Foreign funds are especially difficult for family members to get a hold of and there are additional tax dilemmas they will face. This is the beginning of business planning, estate planning, and wealth planning. Just as you want a professional to ensure that you file your tax forms correctly you want an equally qualified team ensuring that your wealth is not going to be taken by unforeseen [...]

By | 2017-01-01T11:26:35+00:00 December 10th, 2014|Freeman Tax Law|Comments Off on You left them off your taxes, but what about your will?

Save on Taxes this Holiday Season with Generous Gifting Strategies

Taxpayers can help reduce their tax obligations this holiday season by making strategic gifting decisions.  With the holiday season upon us, many people are turning their attention to giving.  The end of the year is commonly a time when people search for the perfect present for their loved ones.  What many do not realize is that strategic gifting can provide substantial tax advantages.  So this year rather than purchasing that new car with the shiny red bow on top, consider offering the kind of gift that keeps on giving. Set Up an Education Fund Are you planning to send a loved one to college in the future?  One of the best ways to make this possible is to create a front-loading 529 college savings plan.  These accounts are extra-special because you can deposit up to five years’ worth of annual exclusion gifts at one time without incurring any taxable gift.  This means the money can be passed onto your loved one tax free as long as they are eventually applied to qualified expenses for higher education purposes.    In this scenario, it is important to note that if the donor of the front-loaded five-year gift dies within the five-year period, the [...]

By | 2017-01-01T11:26:36+00:00 December 4th, 2014|Freeman Tax Law|Comments Off on Save on Taxes this Holiday Season with Generous Gifting Strategies

Freeman Tax Law Successfully Represents before the U.S. Government

A track record of success shows that Freeman Tax Law is a firm that represents and defends people, businesses and financial institutions before the U.S. Government Jeffrey S. Freeman, J.D., LL.M If the IRS is coming after you or your business you need expert legal representation. The IRS has been cracking down especially hard on those that have hidden their assets offshore. Seeking legal representation with a specific background and proven experience before the IRS revenue, collection, criminal divisions, or U.S. Federal Court is key. Specially Trained Starting out in the financial industry, Jeffrey S. Freeman worked for KPMG, an international accounting firm, as an international tax attorney. Trained by and working with a former special agent and a revenue agent of the fraud division of the IRS, Mr. Freeman gained hands on experience understanding exactly how IRS agents work and operate. Trained in financial and legal matters he holds an accounting degree, law degree and LLM or masters of laws in taxation. In 2003 he left the financial sector to open the boutique tax practice, Freeman Tax Law. He is heavily involved with the American Bar Association’s Criminal Tax Section’s Foreign Asset Working Group, which focuses on current trends [...]

By | 2017-01-01T11:26:37+00:00 December 3rd, 2014|Freeman Tax Law|Comments Off on Freeman Tax Law Successfully Represents before the U.S. Government

Experience matters, especially when filing with the IRS

Choose an experienced legal team to handle your voluntary disclosures to the IRS Jeffrey S. Freeman, J.D., LL.M When it comes to filing with the Internal Revenue Service you know that accuracy can cost you. For both international and domestic tax issues the corresponding tax returns are very complex and accuracy on FBAR forms are extremely crucial. Working with team of professionals that coordinate all efforts ensures that your disclosure is not only handled efficiently, but 100% accurately. Working Together Rather than using outside accounting firms Freeman Tax Law has developed a team in house of accountants and attorneys so that each case is handled by a multi-disciplinary team. Working together on one team allows for an efficient flow of information and project communication with the client. In house accountants are highly trained and have experience consistently working on client tax returns and preparing FBAR forms. Attorneys work side by side with the accountants and work with clients to prepare the voluntary disclosure letter and accompanying documents to be sent to the IRS. In addition they provide representation before the Internal Revenue Service and the criminal investigation agent that is handing the case for the government. Team Project From the [...]

By | 2017-01-01T11:26:37+00:00 December 3rd, 2014|Freeman Tax Law|Comments Off on Experience matters, especially when filing with the IRS