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January 16, 2020

IRS STREAMLINED PROGRAM- CATCH UP FILING YOUR RETURNS AND AVOID MOST PENALTIES

Purpose of the streamlined procedures

The streamlined filing compliance procedures describe below are available to taxpayers certifying that their failure to report foreign financial assets and pay all tax due in respect of those assets did not result from willful conduct on their part. The streamlined procedures are designed to provide to taxpayers in such situations with
  • a streamlined procedure for fling amended or delinquent returns, and
  • terms for resolving their tax and penalty procedure for filing amended or delinquent returns, and
  • terms for resolving their tax and penalty obligations.
As reflected below, the streamlined filing procedures that were first offered on September 1, 2012 have been expanded and modified to accommodate a broader group of U.S. taxpayers. Major changes to the streamlined procedures include: 
  • extension of eligibility to U.S. taxpayers residing in the United States
  • Elimination of the $1,500 tax threshold, and 
  • elimination of the risk assessment process associated with the streamlined filing compliance procedure announced in 2012.

Eligibility criteria for the streamlined procedures

The modified streamlined filing compliance procedures are designed only for individual taxpayers, including estates of individual taxpayers. The streamlined procedures are available to both U.S. individual taxpayers residing outside the United States and U.S. individual taxpayers residing in the United States. Descriptions of the specific eligibility requirements for the streamlined procedures for both non-U.S. residents (the "Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures") and U.S. residents ("Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures") are set forth below.
Taxpayers must certify that conduct was not willful. Taxpayers using either the Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures or the Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures, will be required to certify, in accordance with the specific instructions set forth below, that the failure to report all income, pay all tax and submit all required information returns, including FBARs (FinCEN Form 114, previously Form TD F 90-22,1) was due to non-willful conduct. Non-willful conduct is conduct that is due to negligence, inadvertence, or mistake or conduct that is the result of a good faith misunderstanding of the requirements of the law.  READ MORE DETAILS OF THE STREAMLINED PROGRAM HERE
Our firm of CPAs and Attorney have represented and assisted hundreds of individuals enter the Streamlined Program. If you wish to learn more and want help entering the program EMAIL US to set up a consultation.

January 14, 2020

IF YOU EXPECT A TAX REFUND, DO NOT WAIT TO LONG TO FILE YOUR RETURN OR AMENDED RETURN

Do not wait to long to file an amended tax return or file your original  tax return if you  expect to get a refund.  The IRS has 10 years to  collect taxes you owe but when it comes to refunding your overpayments you have a limited time.
You have  3 years  from the date of the original deadline for your tax return to claim any refund you might be entitled to. Your 2019 tax return is due on April 15, 2020, so you have until April 15, 2023 to file your 2019 tax return and still get any tax refund that's due to you. Just add three years to the filing deadline...unless you paid any taxes that were due on the tax return.

In this case, the statute of limitations would be only two years from the date you paid if this date is later than the three-year due date deadline.  Amended returns claiming additional refunds must be filed with the IRS before the three-year statute of the limitations expires, which would be Oct. 15 if you filed an extension of the prior years return. 

If you need help filing an amended return to get a refund or your original return before the short  IRS refund statute of limitations expires contact us.  We most often can prepare your return in short order before it is too late.  EMAIL US FOR HELP



January 13, 2020

Cheapest States To Retire In USA for Expats returning

Many expats after living and working abroad for many years plan  to retire back in the USA. Marketwatch has done a study which shows the cheapest and most expensive states in which to retire.  Hawaii is the most expensive state with California coming in number 2.  The cheapest state is Mississippi.  READ DETAILS OF STUDY HERE   It will show you the cost of living, etc. for all of the states in the US.

You also need to consider things from your personal income tax point of view. The states that have no income taxes include:

  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming
Contact us if you have questions or need to know more.   taxmeless@gmail.com  Kauffman Nelson LLP CPAs and Don D. Nelson, Attorney at Law.

January 11, 2020

When you Own Rental Property Abroad- How to Treat on Your US tax Return

When you own rental property outside of the USA  (which is required to be reported on your US income tax return) you will need to know the following to properly report it on your US taxes:

1. The lifetime its value  is depreciated most often is different from the rate in the USA.
2.  It is reported on Form 1040 schedule E, if it is not owned through a foreign partnership, corporation or foreign trust.
3. If the property is owned through a foreign corporation, trust or partnership special forms must be filed with your US personal tax return such as form 5471, 8865, 3520, etc.  Failure to file one of these forms if  required can result in a penalty of $10,000 or more.
4. The income and expenses of the rental must be reported for taxes in the same manner as a US rental property.
5. You will get a tax credit to offset your US tax on the rental income for income taxes paid the country in which the rental is located.
6. The US income tax rules for the rental apply to the property even though it as a VRBO, ARBNB, or other vacation rental.
7.  You cannot do a 1031 exchange from your rental into a US rental property or exchange a US rental property into a foreign rental property.
8. If you maintain a bank account abroad to collect rent and pay expenses you may be obligated to file Form 114 each year to report that (those) account(s). Failure to report can result in substantial penalties.

If you have questions or need further information EMAIL US FOR ANSWERS  We are US CPAs and Attorney with over 20 years experience in international taxation.



January 6, 2020

2019 New Tax Law Changes for US Expatriates and Other US Taxpayers

The US expatriate foreign earned income exclusion rises to  $105,900 for 2019  That means if you and  US taxpaying your  both work  you can exclude $211,800 from taxation on your form 1040.  The foreign housing deduction which can be taken on top of the foreign earned income exclusion has also increased and varies by your country of residency.     The amount deductible from foreign earnings  must exceed $16,944 and cannot be more than $31,770  in total.     This amount  can be greater based on the city and country of residency SEE TABLE IN PUBLICATION 54.

READ MORE ABOUT  MANY  OTHER TAX LAW CHANGES AND MODIFICATIONS FOR 2019 

December 28, 2019

30 YEARS US INTERNATIONAL, EXPAT AND NONRESIDENT EXPERIENCE - US TAX ATTORNEY AND CPAS ARE HERE TO HELP YOU.

Over 30 years of Internatinal Tax and Legal Expertise by CPAs and Attorneys provide you with the answers and guidance you need:

Tax Services
  • US Expatriate Tax Planning & Return Preparation 
  • International Tax Planning for Corporations, LLCs, Partnerships and Trusts 
  • Past Year  Unfiled Returns for  Internal Revenue Service and all States 
  • International Estate Planning
  • Formation of US Corporations, Limted Liability Companies and Other Entities for use by offshore owners
  • US Nonresident Taxation
  • Corporate Expatriate Tax Equilization Assistance and Review
  • Phone and Email Consulations on all U.S. Tax Matters as affecting those living abroad and offshore.
  • Foreign bank and financial account reporting.
Tax Services for those working and residing in Mexico
  • Preparation of individual, Expatriations US Returns in coordinateions with Mexican tax law.
  • Mexican - US Business, personal and real estate tax planning.
  • Preparation of Past Year Unfiled US Tax Returns
  • Preparation of special US Tax Forms Required for those owning real estate or operating businesses in Mexico for Mexican Corporations, Fideicomisos, Mexican Bank Accounts, etc.

LEGAL SERVICES AND ENTITY FORMATION
  • Formation of Corporations in all US States including California, Nevada, Florida and Washington
  • Formation US Limited Liability Companies, Limited Partnerships and Partnerships for California and Nevada
  • Planning and advising on best use of US Business Entities to Achieve your Offhshore Business Goals.
  • US Estate Planning for Residents and Nonresidents
  • U.S. Real Estate Law - Purchases, Sales and Leases
  • Nonresident ownership of US Real Estate
  • Contract review and Contract Drafting

December 22, 2019

US Citizens Voting in Federal Elections While Living Abroad

Even though you live abroad full time and do not have a state of residence, you can still vote in Federal elections.

Most U.S. citizens 18 years or older who reside outside the United States are eligible to vote absentee for federal office candidates in U.S. primary and general elections. In addition, some states allow overseas citizens to vote for state and local office candidates and referendums. For information about your state, see the Voting Assistance Guide.

In some states, U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older and were born abroad but who have never resided in the United States are eligible to vote absentee. Direct your questions about eligibility to local election officials.

To learn more go to https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/while-abroad/voting.html  Since you are paying for it as a US taxpayer (though living abroad) you might as well take part in directing the way your US taxes are used.  If you need help with your US taxes or estate planning, EMAIL US.


December 20, 2019

Expatriates That Owe IRS May Lose Their Passports

Over 8 million Americans are estimated to be living overseas.  Many of those live abroad due to debt and amounts owed the IRS for past taxes.  The IRS has a new program which puts those Americans in jeopardy should they return to the USA for a visit. READ MORE HERE

If you need help catching up with your taxes or entering into an offer in compromise or payment plan with the IRS for past due US income taxes, WE CAN HELP.  Email us with your questions or to set up a mini-consultation to solve your past due tax burden.  EMAIL US

DOWNLOAD YOUR EXPATRIATE TAX PLANNING NEWSLETTER


December 19, 2019

2019 Year End Tax Planning for US Expatriate Taxpayers and Others

Our year end  2019 Expatriate Tax Planning Letter can be read and downloaded here (pdf file).  Read it to learn of tax law changes for 2019 and possible planning steps you can take before year end to save you money.

If you want to get started early on your 2019 expatriate tax return you can download our 2019 Expatriate Tax Questionnaire HERE. (MS word file )  After you fill it out send it to us for a fee quote and fast preparation.

If you have  US expatriate, international or US nonresident tax questions email us by clicking HERE

Our firm CPAs and Attorney have combined experience in International Taxation of over 60 years. 

December 16, 2019

Excess Foreign Tax Credits - What to do about it?

If you live in a high tax country as an expatriate and you end up with excess foreign tax credits that cannot be used to offset the tax on the same income on your US Income Tax Return, all is not lost.
Excess foreign tax credits carry over and can be used for 10 years into the future on your returns assuming you do not have enough foreign tax credits to offset the tax on your foreign income.  See the instructions to the IRS foreign tax credit form 1116.

The best solution to recover your foreign taxes when you have excess foreign tax credits, is to move to a low tax country and you can then use them.  A list of countries in the world including the highest personal income tax rate for each country is HERE   You can use this to plan for the future use of excess foreign tax credits that are carried over.

December 15, 2019

US Expatriates May Be Eligible for Foreign Earned Income Exclusion Which increases for 2019

The foreign earned income exclusion has gone up for the 2019 tax year.   For the 2018 tax year, the maximum was $103,900. However, the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion 2019 maximum amount has risen to $105,900.  To be eligible to exclude this amount from your US tax return you must be a bonafide resident of a foreign country based on your physical presence for 330 days out of a 12 month fiscal year or be living and working in a foreign country for an entire calendar year.  The specific rules are set for in IRS publication 54.  

In additional to the foreign earned income exclusion an expat can exclude their housing costs so long as they exceeed a minimum amount  (see publication 54) and up to a maximum amount which may vary by country (see publication 54).

You also get a standard deduction of $24,400 if you file a joint return or $12,200 if you file as single. An additional $1,300 is added if you are aged.

We can help you reduce or save taxes you pay the US IRS.  Email us with your questions and help.  Visit our website at www.TaxMeLess.com   We have been assisting US expatriates and US nonresidents living abroad with the US taxes for over 25 years.  Kauffman Nelson LLP, CPAs and attorney.

December 6, 2019

WORRIED ABOUT IRS CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION? THERE ARE NOT THAT MANY EACH YEAR.

The link below is to the IRS Criminal Investigation Division 2019 Report.  Might be worth reading if you are worried about your situation.  Our of the 330 million plus Americans, the IRS last year only
instituted approx 1500 criminal investigations and less than 1000 resulted in criminal prosecutions.  If it does get that far, it is worth worrying about since they have a 91% conviction rate.

Download the pdf report here.... full of a lot of information that may be useful to you.

If you have personal concerns and was to discuss it with a tax attorney.  We offer mini consultations by phone, skype, whatsapp, etc.  Email us at ddnelson@gmail.com

October 10, 2019

ACCIDENTAL AMERICANS MAY HAVE PROBLEMS WITH IRS AND LOCAL BANKS UNLESS THEY REMEDY THEIR SITUATION

If you were born in the USA or your parents where US citizens you could be an Accidental American and may have problems soon with the IRS. Most individuals in this situation do not know that even if they never received a social security number or Taxpayer ID number, the IRS can come after them and make it difficult to open a foreign bank account even in the country which they reside.

READ MORE HERE   If you need help because you are an Accidental American we can help.  Email us at TAXMELESS.COM

October 8, 2019

How Your Wealth Compares with Wealth around the World - from CNBC and Bloomberg



Yesterday statistics for 2018 came out that indicated the one percent wealthy
in the USA are paying taxes at a percentage lower rate than the middle class. None
of recent tax cuts are trickling down to the middle class or  poor.

Yesterday the IRS admitted the mostly audit the lower middle class and poor
because it is easier to collect money than auditing the wealthy. They claimed
that they do not have a staff sophisticated enough to audit the wealthy and stand
up to the high priced tax lawyers and CPAs hired by the wealthy.

Write US if you want assistance with your taxes and to find every break that 
is available fo regular taxpayers.  We are attorney  and CPAs specializing in 
US expatriate, US nonresident and US international tax law. CLICK HERE

September 24, 2019

CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR TAX FRAUD FOR EXPATRIATES AND NONRESIDENTS


A taxpayer that willfully attempts to evade paying income taxes is subject to criminal and civil penalties. The type of fraud will determine the applicable penalty. The following are some examples of possible punishments for specific types of tax fraud:
  • Attempt to evade or defeat paying taxes: Upon conviction, the taxpayer is guilty of a felony and is subject to other penalties allowed by law, in addition to (1) imprisonment for no more than 5 years, (2) a fine of not more than $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for corporations, or (3) both penalties, plus the cost of prosecution.
  • Fraud and false statements: Upon conviction, the taxpayer is guilty of a felony and is subject to (1) imprisonment for no more than 3 years, (2) a fine of not more than $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for corporations, or (3) both penalties, plus the cost of prosecution .
  • Willful failure to file a return, supply information, or pay tax at the time or times required by law. This includes the failure to pay estimated tax or a final tax, and the failure to make a return, keep records, or supply information. Upon conviction, the taxpayer is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to other penalties allowed by law, in addition to (1) imprisonment for no more than 1 year, (2) a fine of not more than $100,000 for individuals or $200,000 for corporations, or (3) both penalties, plus the cost of prosecution .
Get Legal Help with Your Income Tax Problems avoid these criminal consequences.  We are CPAs and attorneys with over 30 years experience with US international, expatriate and nonresident taxation. We can solve your tax  problems before it becomes necessary to hire a criminal attorney.  Email us at ddnelson@gmail.com .com and visit our website at www.taxmeless.com

August 14, 2019

IRS VIRTUAL CURRENCY REPORTING ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

The IRS has begun sending letters to taxpayers with virtual currency transactions that potentially failed to report income and pay the resulting tax from virtual currency transactions or did not report their transactions properly.

"Taxpayers should take these letters very seriously by reviewing their tax filings and when appropriate, amend past returns and pay back taxes, interest and penalties," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "The IRS is expanding our efforts involving virtual currency, including increased use of data analytics. We are focused on enforcing the law and helping taxpayers fully understand and meet their obligations."

The IRS started sending the educational letters to taxpayers last week. By the end of August, more than 10,000 taxpayers will receive these letters. The names of these taxpayers were obtained through various ongoing IRS compliance efforts.

For taxpayers receiving an educational letter, there are three variations: Letter 6173, Letter 6174 or Letter 6174-A, all three versions strive to help taxpayers understand their tax and filing obligations and how to correct past errors.

Taxpayers are pointed to appropriate information on www.irs.gov, including which forms and schedules to use and where to send them.

Last year the IRS announced a Virtual Currency Compliance campaign to address tax noncompliance related to the use of virtual currency through outreach and examinations of taxpayers. The IRS will remain actively engaged in addressing non-compliance related to virtual currency transactions through a variety of efforts, ranging from taxpayer education to audits to criminal investigations.

Virtual currency is an ongoing focus area for IRS Criminal Investigation.

IRS Notice 2014-21 states that virtual currency is property for federal tax purposes and provides guidance on how general federal tax principles apply to virtual currency transactions. Compliance efforts follow these general tax principles. The IRS will continue to consider and solicit taxpayer and practitioner feedback in education efforts and future guidance.

The IRS anticipates issuing additional legal guidance in this area in the near future. Taxpayers who do not properly report the income tax consequences of virtual currency transactions are, when appropriate, liable for tax, penalties and interest. In some cases, taxpayers could be subject to criminal prosecution.

Article from the TaxBook

Need legal or tax assistance with your vitural currency matters. Email us here.  Visit our website at www.taxmeless.com  We are attorneys and CPAs who specialize in International, Expatriate and Nonresident US taxation.

August 12, 2019

OUR US TAX INTERNATIONAL, EXPATRIATE AND NONRESIDENT CONSULTING SERVICES

Many clients and potential clients have asked us what other services do we provide other than tax US tax return preparation.  A list of some of those services are included below: 


  • Phone and internet  mini -consultations with individual taxpayers  in connection with expatriate, nonresident and international tax planning and questions.
  • Phone and internet consultations with CPAs and Enrolled Agents that require advice or consultation on International, Nonresident and Expatriate US tax forms, rules and regulations.
  • Assist taxpayers preparing their own tax returns with questions and the preparation of international, nonresident and expatriate tax forms
  • Review of your self prepared returns that contain international, expatriate and nonresident tax issues and forms.
  • Formation on US corporations, LLCs and Partnerships for expatriates and nonresidents....in most states.
  • IRS and State Tax Agency defense against audits and assessments.
Almost no firms offer the combined expertise of CPAs and Attorneys at reasonable fees. Contact with your questions, and for information.  CONTACT US HERE BY EMAIL.  We have been doing nonresident, expatriate and international taxes for over 25 years.  Call us in the US at 949-480-1235.

August 9, 2019

Are Virtual Currencies such as Bitcoin reportable on FBAR forms (form 114)? - the answer is sometimes yes.

The IRS does not consider virtual currencies such as BItcoin to be the same as cash or money. They consider it to be an asset to be treated for tax purposes much like stock, when purchased, sold or held as an investment.

There are certain situations however when virtual currency is reportable the same as a foreign bank account on the FBAR form 114 which is used to report foreign bank and financial accounts.  Failure to file this form each year can result in penalties of $10,000 or more. There are many reported court cases where the penalties for failing to file this form have resulted in penalties to one taxpayer of many hundreds of dollars or more.

Read more about the rules for reporting your virtual currency  - when to do it and when not -to the IRS HERE.

If you have not been filing this form and think you may be required to do so, and want to avoid the high penalties, need assistance or have questions CONTACT US.  We are CPAs and attorneys that have combined experience of over 60 years with US International Taxation.

July 3, 2019

What to Look for - US IRS Tax Scams and Con Men

Tax scams with calls, letters, emails, etc. allegedly from the IRS are out of control.  We even get the phone calls and emails here in our offices at Kauffman Nelson LLC.  Many sound authentic but all have the sole intent of cheating you out of your money.  Often the message includes immediate threats of prosecution, etc.  These scam attempts occur not only in the US but wherever Americans live abroad.

Do not give anyone on the phone who claims to be the IRS any financial information, your social security number or any other information that could be used to steal your identity or financial assets.


The IRS will only contact you by mail. If you have any suspicions of about contacts involving your taxes do not respond but contact the IRS directly at the phone numbers listed on the internet or go to their offices.

READ MORE ABOUT THE MANY TAX SCAMS GOING ON HERE

If you need help contact us at taxmeless@gmail.com. We are attorneys and CPAs and know the real IRS when we see it.

May 27, 2019

Reducing or Eliminating 951a GILTI Tax on Conrolled Foreign Corporations

Many clients want to reduce or eliminate the new tax for 2018 and beyond on the undistributed earnings of their controlled foreign corporations (over 50% ownership in the hands of US taxpayers). This replaces the old regime where profits left in foreign corporations (except in certain specific types of situations) are not taxed until distributed as dividends or wages.

The new  IRS Section 951a is complex and often hits  US owners of small foreign corporations. The tax on the earnings which are deemed distributed actually is assessed on the 1040 (or other US tax form) of the owner of the corporation though a deemed distribution (Subpart F) which is included with the shareholders other income.  READ MORE ABOUT HOW TO AVOID  OR REDUCE THE GILTI 951A TAX HERE

If you own a controlled  foreign corporation we can provide you with guidance and help you eliminate or reduce this new tax on deemed distributions of its profits.  Email us at taxmeless@gmail.com with your questions or for help.   Don Nelson, Tax Attorney