US IRS rules, regulations and laws, for US Citizens, Americans, green card holders, and nonresidents living abroad or moving to the US or out of the US.... valuable information on IRS rules concerning U.S. expatriates and their tax returns, and tax planning.... by an experienced International Tax Attorney
Nonresident Aliens May Be Subject to US Estate Tax (and Must file an Estate Tax Return) on their Assets in the US
Deceased nonresidents who were not American citizens are subject to U.S. estate taxation with respect to their U.S.-situated assets.
U.S.-situated assets include American real estate, tangible personal property, and securities of U.S. companies. A nonresident’s stock holdings in American companies are subject to estate taxation even though the nonresident held the certificates abroad or registered the certificates in the name of a nominee.
Exceptions: Assets that are exempt from U.S. estate tax include securities that generate portfolio interest, bank accounts not used in connection with a trade or business in the U.S., and insurance proceeds.
Estate tax treaties between the U.S. and other countries often provide more favorable tax treatment to nonresidents by limiting the type of asset considered situated in the U.S. and subject to U.S. estate taxation. Executors for nonresident estates should consult such treaties where applicable.
American citizens are subject to U.S. estate taxation with respect to their worldwide assets. An estate tax return, Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping) Tax Return, Estate of a citizen or resident of the United States, is required for a deceased American citizen, if the fair market value at death of the decedent's worldwide assets exceeds the "unified credit exemption" amount in effect on the date of death. However, if the U.S. citizen made substantial lifetime gifts, and used the applicable “unified credit exemption” amount to eliminate or reduce any gift tax on the lifetime gifts, a U.S. estate tax return may still be required even if the value of the decedent’s worldwide assets is less than the “unified credit exemption” amount at the date of death (due to the decrease in the “unified credit exemption” for the lifetime gifts). To determine the “unified credit exemption” amount for American citizens for any particular year, refer to the Instructions to Form 706 or to Publication 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators.
The Internal Revenue Service may collect any unpaid estate tax from any person receiving a distribution of the decedent’s property under transferee liability provisions of the tax code.