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December 26, 2018

US Expatriate and Nonresident Estate Planning

If you are a expatriate and have assets in the USA or are a US nonresident with assets in the USA it can save you substantial legal expenses, time and taxes to do the proper estate planning.  If you have assets abroad outside of the USA it also is wise to plan for the disposition of those assets under the laws of the country where they are located.  Though some countries may recognize the US estate planning documents and techniques, many do not and best to plan for your foreign assets disposition upon your demise under the local law and using documents recognized under that foreign law,
What are the steps Involved in US estate planning?Identify your goals for creating an estate plan: Do you want to provide for your family, protect assets, prepare for incapacity, take control of your legacy, or do all of the above?
  1. List the asset you want to include in your plan: When making a plan, you need to consider all of the money and property you own either independently or jointly.
  2. Identify the risks to your assets and make plans to protect them: If you lose your wealth because of high nursing-home costs, because of creditor claims, or because you don't make a business succession plan, then you'll undermine your efforts to leave a legacy. You need to know what risks you face and mitigate them.
  3. Identify the loved ones you want to provide for and protect: There may be many people in your life whom you need to consider in your plan, including not a spouse, children, friends, and even pets. And your loved ones may all have different needs. For example, your minor children will need a guardian if you can't raise them to adulthood.
  4. Decide whether you want to make charitable contributions: You may want to make bequests in your will to a charity, or take other steps to give such as creating a foundation or a charitable remainder trust.
  5. Determine whether your potential heirs or beneficiaries have any special needs: In some cases, you'll need to take extra steps to ensure that an inheritance is transferred appropriately and used wisely.
  6. Determine whether you'll owe estate tax: The federal government and some states charge taxes on larger estates.
  7. Decide whether avoiding probate is one of your goals: In most cases, assets transfer through the probate process, which can be complicated and expensive. You may want to avoid this, and that will require different estate planning techniques.
  8. Think about what will happen if you become incapacitated: If an illness or injury leaves you temporarily or permanently incapacitated, you'll need to consider questions such as who will make decisions for you and what kinds of care you'll receive or reject. You'll also need to think about who will provide you with care and how you'll pay for it.
  9. Make sure you have the right insurance policies: If you don't have enough money to provide for dependent loved ones, you may need to obtain additional coverage, such as life insurance. 
  10. Determine what legal tools you'll need to use: You may need to use tools such as trusts, a power of attorney, advance directives, and a last will and testament to accomplish your goals, provide for loved ones, and prepare for incapacity. 
  11. Implement your plan: This could involve taking steps such as changing how property is owned, creating legal documents, or transferring assets into a trust. You should likely have a lawyer help with this step.

We can help. US estate taxes hit nonresidents  when their US assets exceed $60,000 whereas US estate taxes do not apply to US residents until their worldwide assets exceed $11,400,000 US.  Expensive and time consuming probate for assets located in most US states can happen when the assets are only worth approx $10,000 or more (this figure varies depending on the state where the asset is located). Contact us on skype at dondnelson or by email at, As attorneys and CPAs we are uniquely qualified to cover all bases.

December 22, 2018


The winners under the new tax law are large corporations, the wealthy and in many situations small business owners.    As an expatriate there is now a new GILTI tax on your share of controlled foreign corporations, whether large or small.

The losers are those in high tax states (NY, California, Etc) and all taxpayers due to the skyrocketing deficit which increases by the minute due to high federal spending and not enough tax revenues to pay for it all.  READ MORE HERE FROM CBS NEWS

Need help?  email us at We know the tax law and how to help you.

December 20, 2018

Foreign Property Taxes and Interest on Foreign Real Estate ...Some Bad News

Foreign property (real estate) taxes aren't deductible on tax year 2018 through 2025 returns due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This rule applies to a personal residence or second property. In 2017 and prior years, foreign property taxes could be deducted.  Property tax deduction on foreign rental properties are subject to the same rules as your US rental property.

You can still deduct the mortgage interest on schedule A on foreign real  property that is your personal first or second home, assuming you meet the  limitations on interest deductions for personal residences and second homes

The maximum amount of taxes that can be deducted on Schedule A (for personal residences) plus state income taxes, vehicle license plates, sales tax, etc is limited to $10,000 per year for 2018 and beyond.

Keep in mind that to get any benefit from the deduction of medical expenses, state taxes, residence interest, and charitable deductions the total of all of those items must exceed the $24,000 standard deduction married couples get or $12,000 for those who file as single.  And remember you no longer get a personal exemption deduction for yourself, your spouse or your children.  That deduction is gone.

Need help with your tax return or planning for the future?  Email us at 

December 19, 2018


Need to know the income taxes, corporate taxes in the country you are living in or the country you plan to move to after you leave the USA to retire or work?   The links below will provide you with almost all the information you might need.



If you need assistance with planning your US tax when abroad, preparing the necessary returns, and other IRS or state tax matters contact us at  we specialize in US expatriate, nonresident and international taxes.

December 11, 2018


There is still time left before the end of 2018 to take steps to save taxes under the new tax laws enacted last year. READ AND DOWNLOAD OUT 2018 TAX PLANNING LETTER HERE.

Kauffman Nelson LLP, CPAs is a firm of CPAs and Attorneys with 30 years experience in US expatriate, international and US nonresident taxation.  We prepare your 2018 tax  return and assist you with planning, problems, audits, and all other US tax matters. Email us at 

DOWNLOAD OUR 2018 EXPAT TAX RETURN QUESTIONNAIRE AND SEND IT IN FOR A FEE QUOTE HERE. GET STARTED EARLY AND SAVE TIME AND MONEY.  It is in MS Word Format to make it easy to complete on your computer or tablet.

December 9, 2018

2018 RATES, Standard Deductions and More - See What will Happen to You

 IRS Announces 2019 Tax Rates, Standard Deduction Amounts And More. READ MORE
HERE FROM FORBES MAGAZINE.  Need year end planning, email us at Attorney and CPAs will be there to help you find the best strategy.

December 4, 2018

2018 Expat Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and Housing Exclusion

 For 2018 the foreign earned income exclusion is $104,100. This applies to earned income from your work abroad and increases each year. Many IT, Tech, and Coding employees and self employed indivduals chose to live and work abroad to take advantage of his amazing tax break.

  If you live in a no tax or low tax country, you may not have to pay any tax on this much of your earned income if you are a bonafide resident of your home country or meet the physical presence test of  not going back to the US more than 35 days during any 12 month calendar or fiscal year period.  Read more about this exclusion and how to qualify and the additional deduction you can receive for your rental expenses and living expenses abroad (housing exclusion) in publication 54 READ IT HERE

Kauffman Nelson LLP CPAs have done tax return exclusively for US Expatriates and US Nonresidents for over 20 years.  We know the laws, and the recent changes implemented by the new tax laws enacted at the end of 2017.  Email us at and visit our website at for lots of useful tax information and tax savings.

December 3, 2018

New Tax Law - Get Your Divorce Now (before end of 2018) or later

If you finalize your divorce prior to the end of 2018, if you are the payer you can continue to deduction your alimony payment and your spouse must include those payments in is or her income for tax purposes.

HOWEVER, beginning in 2019 Alimony is no longer deductible to paying spouse and no longer taxable to receiving spouse. THEREFORE, depending on which side of the divorce you are on, you may want to hurry up and get it done now, or may want to delay until 2019.

BIG tax consequences.... see your divorce lawyer now!

Need help with your tax planning or returns?  Attorney and CPAs specializing in Expatriate, US International and US Nonresident taxation for 30 plus years.  Email us at

December 2, 2018

New IRS Disclosure Procedures for Those With Undisclosed Foreign Assets and Unreported Foreign Income

The IRS ended the Voluntary Offshore Disclosure Program in September of 2018. This program was designed to allow those who  had  past unreported foreign income and unreported foreign assets to catch up with the IRS and reduce some penalties, and avoid the risk of criminal prosecution.

On November 20, 2018, the IRS announced new procedures which replaces the OSVDI and if chosen, could reduce many penalties and in many instances avoid criminal prosecution.  The link to the memo addressing this new procedure is below.

This program can be used by those who have much bigger hidden income and disclosure problems than could be address through the IRS streamlined program. If you decide to surface with the IRS using these new procedures best you use a tax attorney so your situation is kept confidential


Contact Don Nelson, US International Tax Attorney with over 30 years experience at if you wish to discuss your situation or learn more.  We have helped over a hundred clients with past unreported foreign assets and income catch up and resolve matters with the IRS.

December 1, 2018


We all get asked to make contributions to recognized charities.  Often we have never heard of the
charity and sometimes if may not be one recognized by the IRS. Only charities which are recognized by the IRS will give you a charitable deduction on your tax return.  The IRS has a on line database which allows you to check out the name of all registered charities.   The link below will allow you to make certain your contribution is tax deductible and going for a good cause.


Remember contributions to political parties, political organization and PACS are not deductible. Also with respect to foreign tax exempt charities the rules on whether or not the contribution can be deducted are complex and must be followed if you wish to get a deduction.  Those rules must be reviewed carefully to assure you contribution will produce a tax benefit.  See IRS publication 526

For 2018 and beyond you get a standard deduction on Schedule A of $24,000 if you file jointly or $12,000 if you file single. Therefore your taxes, medical expenses, charitable contributions, etc must exceed those amounts to give you any tax benefit.

Our firm offers mini consultations to help you resolve your tax problems, for planning and answer your tax questions. We are all US attorneys and CPAs. If you wish to have such a consultation email us at  Visit our website at