…the concept of ‘foreign’ plays a crucial role in determining whether income, income taxes, physical presence or accounts qualify for respective exclusions, credits, residency or disclosure.
NEW YORK, NY, January 25, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — Founder at Protax Consulting Services, Marc J Strohl CPA, has just revealed essential information that U.S. expatriates need to consider when seeking a U.S. international assignment specialist. For more information please visit Protax Consulting Services, Inc. (“Protax”).
Foreign- the Form 2555- Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE), Form 1116- Foreign Tax Credit (FTC), Substantial Presence Test (SPT) and Form 114- Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR):
Under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Sec 911- Citizens or Residents of the United States Living Abroad- the FEIE, IRC Sec. 901- Foreign Tax Credit and IRC Sec. 7701(b) Definition of Resident Alien and Non Resident Alien and under Department of Treasury Regulations Title 31 CFR 1010.350- Money and Finance Treasury Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) – the concept of ‘foreign’ plays a crucial role in determining whether income, income taxes, physical presence or accounts qualify for respective exclusions, credits, residency or disclosure.
In all cases the concept of ‘foreign’ takes on a different meaning.
IRC Sec 911/ §1.911-2(g)-(h)- Citizens or Residents of the United States Living Abroad- the FEIE:
Under IRC Sec. 911, there is a provision to avoid “double taxation”. The provision is reportable on IRS Form 2555- Foreign Earned Income, Exclusion (FEIE). The tests to use the FEIE are the: the Bonfide Resident Test (BFR), or Physical Presence Test (PPT) and Tax Home Test (THT) where you must live, work or be physically present in a ‘foreign country’.
A ‘foreign country’ is defined as any territory under the sovereignty of a government other than the United States. ‘Foreign country’ does not include ships or aircraft traveling in or above international waters. Nor does it include offshore installations which are located outside the territorial waters of any individual nation.
Additionally, the term ‘foreign country’ includes the country’s airspace and territorial waters, in addition to the seabed and subsoil of those submarine areas adjacent to the county’s territorial waters over which it has exclusive rights under international law to explore and exploit the natural resources.
The term ‘foreign country’ does not include the Antarctica or U.S. possessions, such as Puerto Rico, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Johnston Island.
Sub-notes- there is a possession exclusion available to individuals who are BFR of American Samoa for the entire tax year. See Form 4563- Exclusion of Income for Bona Fide Residents of American Samoa. Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands- may not claim the FEIE however residents of Puerto Rico generally are not subject to U.S. tax on Puerto Rican source income.
IRC Sec. 901- Foreign Tax Credit/ §1.901-2(g)(2):
Under U.S. domestic law IRC Sec. 901 and also included in most federally negotiated international income tax treaties, there is a provision to avoid “double taxation”. The provision is reportable on IRS Form- 1116- as the “Foreign Tax Credit” (FTC).
The FTC is a dollar for dollar reduction of U.S. tax-for the General Limitation category- in respect of non excluded foreign tax on non excluded foreign income.
In this instance ‘foreign’ tax and income are defined as a foreign country or a U.S. possession. A foreign country includes any foreign state and its political subdivisions. A foreign city or province qualify. A U.S. possession includes Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Soma.
IRC Sec. 7701(b)(1)(A)(2) Definition of Resident Alien and Non-Resident Alien:
Under IRC Sec 7701(b) All individuals meeting the Substantial Presence Test (SPT)- comprising the addition of the actual days of U.S. presence in the current year with a fractional two year look back rule- are U.S. resident aliens.
You meet the SPT if you have at least 31 days of U.S. presence in the current year and where the following sums to 183 days or greater: 100 % of the physical days of U.S. presence in the current year + 1/3 of the days of U.S. presence in the preceding year + 1/6 of the days of U.S. presence in the second preceding year.
Under IRC Sec §301.7701(b)-1(c)(2)(ii) The term U.S. includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC), the territorial waters of the U.S. and the seabed and subsoil of those submarine areas that are adjacent to U.S. territorial waters and over which the U.S. has exclusive rights under international law to explore and exploit natural resources. The term U.S. does not include U.S. possessions and territories or U.S. airspace.
Additionally, to add a twist, in limited circumstances an individual’s physical days of U.S. presence may be excluded (be considered ‘foreign’) for purposes of determining the SPT, in cases where they were:
a) exempt individuals IRC Sec 7701(b)(5): (i)/ §301.7701(b)-3. a student in the U.S. on a F, J, M or Q visa, a trainee or a teacher in the U.S. on a J or Q visa, (ii) a professional athlete, or (iii) IRC Sec. 7701(b)(3)(D)an individual with a medical condition, or
b) others IRC Sec 7701(b)(7)/ §301.7701(b)-3.: (i) regular commuters to work in the U.S. from Canada or Mexico, (ii) when in transit in the U.S. between other points for less than 24 hours, (iii) days in the U.S. as a crew member of a foreign vessel and (iv) all employees of international organizations or foreign governments.
c) IRC Sec 7701(b)(3)(B)/ §301.7701(b)-2- In cases where a U.S. resident alien having less than 183 days in the current year but is in excess of the requirements using the fractional two year look back rule, these individuals will be able to file IRS Form 8840- Closer Connection Exception Statement for Aliens- claiming a “tax home” and “closer connection” to a foreign country and remain U.S. non resident aliens.
d) Relief under a U.S. income tax treaty article covering residency, generally referred to as the “treaty tiebreaker” Article, usually Article IV.
Department of Treasury Regulations Title 31 CFR 1010.350- Money and Finance Treasury- Form 114- Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts:
For FBAR reporting and disclosure purposes, the United States includes the 50 States, District of Columbia, all United States territories and possessions (e.g., American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands), and the Indian lands as defined in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Marc J Strohl, CPA of Protax Consulting Services has written articles published by Thomson Reuters in their Practical International Tax Strategies, Journal of International Taxation and Practical Tax Strategies publications and that are referenced and used by other U.S. tax C.P.A. and Attorney consultancy firms both in and outside the U.S. – such as the Big Four – to educate their clients and other tax experts in terms of international tax situations.
In addition Strohl conducts webinars and live presentations for CCH Wolters Kluwer, Strafford Publications, the Clear Law Institute and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA), Furthered Education and Lawline. He has been quoted in the NYSSCPA’s Trusted Professional, New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
Name: Marc J Strohl CPA
Email: [email protected]
Organization: Protax Consulting Services
Address: Seven Penn Plaza Suite 416, New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 714-1805
For more information, please visit ProtaxConsulting.com
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