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March 31, 2020

COVID VIRUS BENEFIT PAYMENTS ARE COMING TO MOST TAXPAYERS ASSUMING THEY DO NOT MAKE TOO MUCH- HOW TO GET THAT PAYMENT AND ELIGIBILITY

The IRS will send out covid benefit stimulous payments to all taxpayers who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.  If you income decreased in 2019 you may want to file that tax return with the IRS as soon as possible since that decrease may me you eligible when previously your adjusted gross income was
too high or if you want IRS to direct deposit in your US bank account (and that information was no on your 2018 form 1040).

Determine your benefit payments and the rules, cut off for high income, etc. in the  FORBES MAGAZINE ARTICLE HERE

If you did not file a tax return you need to file it very soon. If your income was low and you were not required to file a tax return you can file a simple one now (to speed up process) or wait for the IRS to put up a website where you can register to receive it by direct deposit.

So far there is no limitation on making payments to those expats living and working abroad, though at some time in the future further rules or limitations may be anounced.  Want to file a tax reutrn now. CONTACT US TO GET YOUR TAX QUESTIONNAIRE A FEE QUOTE

March 27, 2020

Covid Tax Return Deadlines and Other IRS and State Covid Tax Changes

First case of COVID-19 confirmed in Kandiyohi County | West ...


Current government and IRS pronouncements are not clear whether the automatic extension of time to file your tax returns and pay taxes without penalties apply to US expatriates living and working abroad (normal tax return due date for expatriates is 6/15/20). This may be clarified in the future, but in the interim if you are an expatriate you may want to pay all taxes by 4/15/20 to avoid interest.

The automatic extension until July 15,2020 under the COVID tax bill does not currently appear to include an automatic extension of time to file certain special reporting forms such as 5471, 3520, etc. Therefore, it is best until this is clarified that you file an IRS extension request for any returns that include these forms or the forms by the previous regular due date.

1040-NR returns which were previously due on April 15 (i.e. if there were wages paid) those returns have been extended to July 15, 2020.

The recent COVID tax bill includes outright payments of amounts to each taxpayer if their 2019 earnings (or 2018 if 2019 has not yet been filed) do not exceed certain amounts. SEE THE EXACT RULES FOR THE PAYMENT

If you have not filed your US return for 2018 and 2019 yet, you may want to file them immediately so the stimulus payment referred to in the previous paragraph will be made to you. If you have not filed for 2018, no payment will be made. If you wait too long, the stimulus might not be available. Note that if your 2019 income is lower than 2018 you may want to file in order to show eligibility.

Whether tax income limits for these cash payments apply to your expatriate income after deducting the foreign earned income exclusion or before is not certain at this time

For those who file state returns, many states including California have extended the due date your 2019 state tax return to match the July 15, 2020 federal deadline. Many also do not require payment of the taxes due until that date.

March 25, 2020

NEW TAX FILING DEADLINES AND RULES - COVID-19 US TAX LAW CHANGES

Dear Expat, Clients and Friends
Right now, your highest priority is the health of those you love and yourself. But if you have time to read about some non-medical but important matters related to the health crisis, here is a summary of IRS action already taken and federal tax legislation already enacted to ease tax compliance burdens and economic pain caused by COVID-19 (commonly referred to as Coronavirus).
I’ll be sending you summaries of additional developments as they take place. 
Filing and payment deadlines deferred. After briefly offering more limited relief, the IRS almost immediately pivoted to a policy that provides the following to all taxpayers—meaning all individuals, trusts, estates, partnerships, associations, companies or corporations regardless of whether or how much they are affected by COVID-19:
  1. For a taxpayer with a Federal income tax return or a Federal income tax payment due on April 15, 2020, the due date for filing and paying is automatically postponed to July 15, 2020, regardless of the size of the payment owed.
  2. The taxpayer doesn’t have to file Form 4686 (automatic extensions for individuals) or Form 7004 (certain other automatic extensions) to get the extension.
  3. The relief is for (A) Federal income tax payments (including tax payments on self-employment income) and Federal income tax returns due on April 15, 2020 for the person’s 2019 tax year, and (B) Federal estimated income tax payments (including tax payments on self-employment income) due on April 15, 2020 for the person’s 2020 tax year.
  4. No extension is provided for the payment or deposit of any other type of Federal tax (e.g. estate or gift taxes) or the filing of any Federal information return.
  5. As a result of the return filing and tax payment postponement from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, that period is disregarded in the calculation of any interest, penalty, or addition to tax for failure to file the postponed income tax returns or pay the postponed income taxes. Interest, penalties and additions to tax will begin to accrue again on July 16, 2020.
Favorable treatment for COVID-19 payments from Health Savings Accounts. Health savings accounts (HSAs) have both advantages and disadvantages relative to Flexible Spending Accounts when paying for health expenses with untaxed dollars. One disadvantage is that a qualifying HSA may not reimburse an account beneficiary for medical expenses until those expenses exceed the required deductible levels. But IRS has announced that payments from an HSA that are made to test for or treat COVID-19 don’t affect the status of the account as an HSA (and don’t cause a tax for the account holder) even if the HSA deductible hasn’t been met. Vaccinations continue to be treated as preventative measures that can be paid for without regard to the deductible amount.
Tax credits and a tax exemption to lessen burden of COVID-19 business mandates. On March 18, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act, PL 116-127), which eased the compliance burden on businesses. The Act includes the four tax credits and one tax exemption discussed below.
...Payroll tax credit for required paid sick leave (the payroll sick leave credit). The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) division of the Act generally requires private employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide 80 hours of paid sick time to employees who are unable to work for virus-related reasons (with an administrative exemption for less-than-50-employee businesses that the leave mandate puts in jeopardy). The pay is up to $511 per day with a $5,110 overall limit for an employee directly affected by the virus and up to $200 per day with a $2,000 overall limit for an employee that is a caregiver.
The tax credit corresponding with the EPSLA mandate is a credit against the employer’s 6.2% portion of the Social Security (OASDI) payroll tax (or against the Railroad Retirement tax). The credit amount generally tracks the $511/$5,110 and $200/$2,000 per-employee limits described above. The credit can be increased by (1) the amount of certain expenses in connection with a qualified health plan if the expenses are excludible from employee income and (2) the employer’s share of the payroll Medicare hospital tax imposed on any payments required under the EPSLA. Credit amounts earned in excess of the employer’s 6.2% Social Security (OASDI) tax (or in excess of the Railroad Retirement tax) are refundable. The credit is electable and includes provisions that prevent double tax benefits (for example, using the same wages to get the benefit of the credit and of the current law employer credit for paid family and medical leave). The credit applies to wages paid in a period (1) beginning on a date determined by IRS that is no later than April 2, 2020 and (2) ending on December 31, 2020.
...Income tax sick leave credit for the self-employed (self-employed sick leave credit). The Act provides a refundable income tax credit (including against the taxes on self-employment income and net investment income) for sick leave to a self-employed person by treating the self-employed person both as an employer and an employee for credit purposes. Thus, with some limits, the self-employed person is eligible for a sick leave credit to the extent that an employer would earn the payroll sick leave credit if the self-employed person were an employee.
Accordingly, the self-employed person can receive an income tax credit with a maximum value of $5,110 or $2,000 per the payroll sick leave credit. However, those amounts are decreased to the extent that the self-employed person has insufficient self-employment income determined under a formula or to the extent that the self-employed person has received paid sick leave from an employer under the Act. The credit applies to a period (1) beginning on a date determined by the IRS that is no later than April 2, 2020 and (2) ending on December 31, 2020. 
...Payroll tax credit for required paid family leave (the payroll family leave credit).  The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) division of the Act requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide both paid and unpaid leave (with an administrative exemption for less-than-50-employee businesses that the leave mandate puts in jeopardy). The leave generally is available when an employee must take off to care for the employee’s child under age 18 because of a COVID-19 emergency declared by a federal, state, or local authority that either (1) closes a school or childcare place or (2) makes a childcare provider unavailable. Generally, the first 10 days of leave can be unpaid and then paid leave is required, pegged to the employee’s pay rate and pay hours. However, the paid leave can’t exceed $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate per employee.
The tax credit corresponding with the EFMLEA mandate is a credit against the employer’s 6.2% portion of the Social Security (OASDI) payroll tax (or against the Railroad Retirement tax). The credit generally tracks the $200/$10,000 per employee limits described above. The other important rules for the credit, including its effective period, are the same as those described above for the payroll sick leave credit.
...Income tax family leave credit for the self-employed (self-employed family leave credit). The Act provides to the self-employed a refundable income tax credit (including against the taxes on self-employment income and net investment income) for family leave similar to the self-employed sick leave credit discussed above. Thus, a self-employed person is treated as both an employer and an employee for purposes of the credit and is eligible for the credit to the extent that an employer would earn the payroll family leave credit if the self-employed person were an employee.
Accordingly, the self-employed person can receive an income tax credit with a maximum value of $10,000 as per the payroll family leave credit. However, under rules similar to those for the self-employed sick leave credit, that amount is decreased to the extent that the self-employed person has insufficient self-employment income determined under a formula or to the extent that the self-employed person has received paid family leave from an employer under the Act. The credit applies to a period (1) beginning on a date determined by IRS that is no later than April 2, 2020 and (2) ending on December 31, 2020. 
...Exemption for employer’s portion of any Social Security (OASDI) payroll tax or railroad retirement tax arising from required payments. Wages paid as required sick leave payments because of EPSLA or as required family leave payments under EFMLEA aren’t considered wages for purposes of the employer’s 6.2% portion of the Social Security (OASDI) payroll tax or for purposes of the Railroad Retirement tax.
IRS information site. Ongoing information on the IRS and tax legislation response to COVID- 19 can be found here.
I will be pleased to hear from you at any time with questions about the above information or any other matters, related to COVID-19 or not. I wish all of you the very best in a difficult time.  Email us at TAX ASSISTANCE BY CPAS AND ATTORNEYS   Also visit our website at www.taxmeless.com for a wealth of information.  

February 26, 2020

IRS and International Tax Agencies Fight Global Tax Evasion

Many countries are now banding together to locate and prosecute global tax evaders through J5 and the OCED to work together to mutual catch the evaders and report to countries who may be owed taxes by the evaders.  Therefore if you are paying taxes in the country you live in but not paying taxes in another country (such as the USA) where you should, you now run the risk of being turned in to the IRS.

READ MORE HERE

February 21, 2020

For 2019 You Will Not Have to report Vitural Currency held in an Offshore Account on Form 114 - This Rule May Change in the Future

For this year the FinCEN has stated: “Currently the FBAR (Form 114) regulations do not define virtual currency held in an offshore account as a type of reportable account. For this reason, at this time, virtual currency held in an offshore account is not reportable on the FBAR.” 
However for the future you need to follow this issue since the FINCEN position on virtual currency accounts is very likely to change at some point.
You can find FinCEN’s letter of January 22, 2020 in Appendix III of the Government Accountability Office report Virtual Currencies: Additional Information Reporting and Clarified Guidance Could Improve Tax Compliance .
We can help you with your Form 114 fiing, questions and other international and expat tax questions.  Email us at ddnelson@gmail.com and go to our website at www.taxmeless.com 

February 4, 2020

Your Heirs Will be Liable to FBAR Penalties if You Do Not Resolve filing FBARS and the penalties While you Are Alive

If you do not file your Form 114 (FBAR) reporting your foreign bank and financial accounts, you can be penalized severely and so can your heirs after your death.

Read case law below about the penalty for failure to file FBARS passing on to the taxpayer heirs:

In United States v. Schoenfeld (M.D. Fla. 3:16-cv-1248-J-34PDB), by order dated 9/25/18, here, the Court held (p. 37) that the "the Court finds that the Government's claim did not abate upon Steven Schoenfeld's death."  The reasoning for the holding is found at pp. 24-36.  The first 24 pages include a short one-page introduction and then 23 pages disposing of procedural issues arising from the death of the person putatively liable that the Government sued after he had died but without knowledge of his death.  

In this case the Court holds that  that the FBAR civil willful penalty survives death.  The Court does a good job of developing and resolving the issue

There are procedures available that may let you file Form 114 (FBAR form) while you are still alive and avoid or reduce penalties.  Don't leave this burden to your heirs. Email us for help at ddnelson@gmail.com  and read more on our website at www.taxmeless.com.  We are an expert on this issue.


Criminal Penalites Imposed for Faiing to FIle Tax Returns as an Expatriate or Taxpayer. - How to avoid this problem


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. Remember a delinquent taxpayer expat or nonresident, can never be certain if the IRS will not view their actions as beyond negligent but intentional fraud. Therefore, file your past due returns before the IRS finds you first.  Filing yourself before being caught is viewed as indicative of no criminal intent.
  • 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 .
     Information you give your CPA and tax preparers  is not privileged and cannot be protected from the IRS or other law enforcement agencies. When you use a Attorney you get the benefit of "attorney/client" privilege and information you give your attorney is protect from the IRS and law enforcement.  If you feel you might have criminal tax problems, best to talk first with an attorney.

Get Legal Help with Your Income Tax Problems avoid these criminal consequences.  We are CPAs and attorneys with over 35 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  and visit our website at www.taxmeless.com

January 31, 2020

Estate Planning for US Expatriates and US Nonresidents with US Assets

If you are an expatriate with foreign assets, US assets  or a nonresident of the US with US assets you
need to look into estate planning to reduce probate costs, make certain your assets go to the heirs you desire, and  reduce possible US estate taxes.  If you have assets located outside the US, you need to have attorneys prepare a will in that country to make certain those foreign assets go to the desired beneficiaries upon your death.

We can help with your US estate planning if you are an expatriate, resident or nonresident.

READ MORE  DETAILS HERE



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