Tag Archives: form 1120f

Best International Tax Attorney or International Tax Accountant

The best international tax attorney international tax accountant must know both the 1,000,000 pages domestic tax laws, the “common laws” from court cases and international tax law.   

The best international tax attorneys and accountants use the tax pyramid.

The best international tax attorney and tax accountant have an advance degree in taxation.

The best international tax attorney and tax accountant have an advance degree in taxation.

The best tax attorneys and best tax accountants are experts in both the common law and the tax code before they learn international tax law.

The best tax accountants and best tax attorneys have an advance degree in taxation.  Law schools and accounting schools do not teach tax law.  Up tp two additional years of schooling is required to be a tax expert.

The international tax adviser studies the “character of your income.  Each type of income has its own tax laws.

 The tax law for consulting income is different than the tax law for importing income.  The best international tax CPA looks at your business’s operations and dissects each step.

Here is an example:  A U.S.  website designer has employees in India.  After dissecting his activities, he decided to incorporate in a tax-free country.  The tax haven corporation files an IRS Form 1120F (F is for Foreign).  Only half of his net income is U.S. taxable. The other half is not taxable.  His business operates the same.

At International Tax Counselors, our international taxation experts have more than 30 years of experience.  Each expert has an advance degree in taxation.

If you need planning, consulting, or compliance, your team at International Tax Counselors has the needed international accounting and legal expertise and skills.

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International Tax CPA Prepares Form 1120F and Avoid the Branch Profits Tax

The International Tax CPA know that the branch profits tax is a sneaky beast.   It has three prongs.  One is your interest expense. Next, the amount of equity in your U.S. business,  Lastly, the reason you have equity in your U.S. business.  This tax is reported on Form 1120F.

If you kept equity in your U.S. business to avoid the branch profits tax, then you owe the branch profits tax.   Form 1120F’s balance sheet is where you study this topic.

The branch profits tax is designed after the domestic corporate tax law known as the “accumulated earnings and profits tax”.  This law is found in tax code section 531.  This key factor is the accumulation of profits to avoid paying a dividend (and thus the income tax on the dividend).

International Tax CPA and the Form 1120F

My course to the California Society of CPA’s on international tax planning included the branch profits tax.  Below is part of the course.   If you need help with your international tax planning, then contact me at [email protected]

This course was for the international tax CPA. So, you may find the video too complicated. I suggested that you forward this blog to your CPA  (if he is not an international tax CPA).

Here (this link) is more information on the branch profits tax.  The tax is tricky.

If you have paid the tax, then let us see if we can get the IRS to refund branch profits tax to you.  I can tell you one way to know if your CPA has messed up.

If your business does not have a double entry set of accounting books (called a general ledger), then the branch profits tax calculation may be wrong.

International Tax Accounting for Small Businesses

International tax accounting for the small business is unique.  Unlike a domestic business, the small business owning a foreign corporation or operating as a foreign corporation must maintain an double entry general ledger.

Double entry bookkeeping is much more accurate than using an excel sheet or a Quicken type software.  Along with the double entry general ledger, the international tax accounting includes “workpapers”.

Work papers support the balances shown on key accounts, such as cash in bank or inventory.

International tax accounting is needed for parts of the IRS form 1120F (the foreign corporation’s corporate income tax return) and form 5471 (the information return of the U.S. shareholder).

The form 1120F and the form 5471 have a balance sheet.  They also have a schedule where equity must be reconciled.  These items require a double general ledger.

With the GOP Tax Bill, keeping track of post 2018 equity is a must if you want to avoid taxes.  The GOP Tax Bill taxes pre-2018 equity.   You can learn more on this link.

International tax accounting to avoid the U.S. Branch Profits Tax

This is the most important reason for good and accurate international tax accounting.  The Branch Profits Tax is a 30% tax on the reduction or removal of equity.  If your bookkeeping is not double entry, you can easily pay the branch profits tax when it is not owed.

The Branch Profits Tax is on the Form 1120F.  It  has its own page.  It also applies to certain global interest expense.  The calculation of the tax is a complex equation.  It assumes that you  have double entry bookkeeping.

Without good international tax accounting, you are allowing the IRS to make a reason to tax your foreign corporation.  You must prove that you do not owe the tax.  Thus, you are going to need the double entry general ledger along with workpapers.

If you need help with your international tax accounting, the please contact me, Brian Dooley, CPA, MBT at [email protected]

Basics of International Taxation for the Foreign Corporation

The basics of international taxation for the foreign corporation doing business in the United States is divided into two components.   The one that all of you know is the  income tax.  This tax applies when the foreign corporation has an office or a facility such as a warehouse.

The next component is the branch profits tax. This law looks at the change in the net worth of the foreign corporation each year.

This tax applies to the withdrawal of assets from the foriegn corporation.   The tax can also apply when the foreign corporation keeps assets that it no longer needs in order to avoid the branch profits tax.

Basics of International Taxation for the Foreign Corporation doing Business in the U.S.

When a taxpayer tries to avoid this tax,  the law become complex.  Avoiding this tax makes sense in those cases where the law wants to tax foreign profits.  In many cases, the way you design your business decides the taxation.

In most cases, the tax law makes sense.  For example, a United Kingdom corporation opens an office in California.  The office includes a warehouse for its inventory.  The inventory is imported from the U.K. office.

The California office sales throughout the United States.   All of the income is taxable by the U.S. and California.

The U.K. office charges a “stewardship fee” for the worldwide marketing, the accounting and the time of its UK directors in managing the California office.  As long as the fee is not inflated, the stewardship fee is tax deductible.

When sales are made outside of the U.S., the tax law looks at where title passed on the sale, whether the California office or the U.K. office negotiated the sale and approved the sale.  This last factor may depend on the business’s website “terms and condition” page.  You want his page to reviewed by your international tax accountant and attorney.

Basics of International Taxation for Branch Profits Tax

This tax has two components.  As stated above, the withdraw of networth from the California office will cause this tax apply.  Since a U.K. corporation is involved, the tax rate is 15% and not 30%,   The key to manage this tax, is good and update to date accounting.  Your accounting needs to be a  double entry general ledger.   This method has been used for 500 years.

The other part of the branch profits tax is the “excess interest”.  This law is a complex equation that looks at worldwide borrowing and worldwide interest expense.   The law has an amount that the law considers excess.

Once again, managing this tax requires timely accounting and accurate accounting. Here is an blog post on avoiding the branch profits tax.

If you want to learn more about the foreign corporation’s tax return (Form 1120F), please click on this link.b

If you need help with your Form 1120F, contact me, Brian Dooley, CPA, MBT, at [email protected]

Form 1120-F U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Corporation

Table of Contents for Form 1120-F U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Corporation Tax Planning

1. This blog tells you how to protect yourself from the U.S. courts and the IRS.
2. his blog is primarily about U.S.  international income taxation and the branch profits tax.
3. Two important international tax laws to watch.
4. Tax Planning for your Balance Sheet and the Branch Profits Tax.
5. Liability Of Corporate Agent in the USA.

6. You Must Timely File  Form 1120F to Claim Deductions or Credits.
7, Protective Filing of Form 1120F:  Smart International Tax Accounting.
8. What if only part of your U.S. income is U.S. business income?

This just might be the most important blog on international tax that you will ever read. Here is the problem for U.K., EU, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian corporations with U.S. income.

The internet is full of stories of how the tax treaty permanent establishment article prevents the USA from taxing you.  What the stories don’t tell is that the U.S. Tax Court does not care about your tax treaty.

The U.S. Tax Court is part of the Government.  The Government wants your money.  It is that simple.  Okay, it’s not fair.  But they really  do not care.  This link discusses a few of these anti-tax treaty court cases.

This blog tells you how to protect yourself from the U.S. courts and the IRS.

Form 1120-F U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Corporation covers three different taxes. 

Foreign corporations have income from U.S. sources are always required to file U.S. tax returns.
Three different taxes are on the form as follows:

  1. Foreign corporations must pay a 30 percent tax on income from U.S. sources not connected with a U.S. trade or business.
  2. Foreign corporations engaged in trade or business within the United States is subject to income tax, alternative minimum tax, and other taxes applicable to corporations on their taxable income.
  3. Foreign corps engaged in business within the U.S. must pay the branch profits tax.

This blog is primarily about U.S.  international income taxation and the branch profits tax.

A foreign corporation with a business in the United States at any time during the tax year or that has income from United States sources must file a return on Form 1120-F.  A foreign corporation with U.S. business income must file (I will explain why later in this blog) even though:

(1) It has no business income (that is income effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business) in the United States,

(2) It has no income from U.S. sources  or

(3) Its revenues are exempt from income tax under a tax convention or any provision of the tax law.

Two important international tax laws to watch.

  1. If the foreign corporation has no gross income for the year, it is not required to complete the return. However, it must file a Form 1120F and attach a statement (I will explain why later in this blog) to the return indicating the nature of any tax treaty exclusions claimed and the amount of such exclusions to the extent these amounts are readily determinable.[1]  For example, if you believe that you have avoided having a permanent establishment, you need to explain why.  Here is more on court cases on permanent establishment).
  1. To claim tax deductions and credits,  the corporation must file an accurate tax return on time. If the return is not timely file, all of the expenses and costs of goods sold can never be deducted.  If the U.S. income of a foreign corporation includes income that is subject to a lower rate of tax under a treaty, it must attach a statement to its return explaining this and showing:

(a) The income and amounts of tax withheld,

(b) The names and post office addresses of withholding agents, and

(3) any other information required by the return form or its instructions.[2]

Tax Planning for your Balance Sheet and the Branch Profits Tax.

The foreign corporation may elect to limit the balance sheets and reconciliation of income to the U.S. business use assets, liability and equity and its other income from U.S. sources.[3]   The branch profits tax traces the U.S. business equity and debts.  Thus, the balance sheet is the IRS’s primary audit tool.   Reporting your worldwide assets is providing the IRS information that has little or no value.

TAX TIP: A foreign corporation that is not engaged in a trade or business in the United States it is not required to file a return when the U.S. withholding of tax at the source of its payments covers the taxes owed.   A matter of fact, the goal of U.S. withholding tax is eliminated U.S. tax compliance for the foreign person.

Liability Of Corporate Agent in the USA

A representative or agent of a foreign corporation must file a return for and pay the tax on the income coming within his control as representative.   The agent can include a related corporation or an individual.

You Must Timely File  Form 1120F to Claim Deductions or Credits

I can not say this too often. A foreign corporation must its return on time to take deductions and credits against its U.S. business income.[4]

However, the following deductions and credits are allowed even if such a return is not filed:

(1) the charitable deduction;

(2) the foreign tax credit passed through from mutual funds;

(3) the fuels tax credit; and

(4) The credit for income tax withheld.[5]  

Timely filed means the Form 1120-F is filed no later than 18 months after the due date of the current year’s return.  

But it is more complicated, and you must read this:  I know this next section is tricky.  So, please be patient.  However, if you need help, then contact me, Brian Dooley, CPA, MBT  at [email protected] 

When the return for  the prior year was not filed, the return for the current year must have been filed no later than the earlier:

  1. of the date which is 18 months after the deadline for filing the current year’s return, or
  2. the date, the IRS mails a letter to the foreign corporation advising it that the current year return has not been filed and no deductions may be claimed it.[6]

The IRS may waive these deadlines when the foreign corporation proves that:

  1. It acted “reasonably and in good faith”  in failing to file a U.S. income tax return (including a protective return), and
  2. cooperates in determining its income tax liability for the year for that the return was not filed.[7]  

 Protective Filing of Form 1120F:  Smart International Tax Accounting 

This is the smartest thing you can do as a foreign corporation.   The chances of an audit are low and the tax protection is high.  I have the rules below. 

A foreign corporation with limited activities in the United States that it believes does  not give rise to U.S. gross business income should file a protective return.  

A timely filed protective return preserves the right to receive the tax savings  of the deductions and credits if it is later determined that the foreign corporation did have a U.S. business.  

Here is the very good news:  On that timely filed protective return, the foreign corporation is not required to report any gross income taxable income and thus pays no net income tax or branch profits tax.  

However, do not forget to attached a statement indicating that the return is being filed as a protective return and to check the box on the Form 1120F.  Also, you must include your tax treaty disclosure IRS form. Be sure to attach the IRS tax treaty disclosure Form 8823, on this link.  

What if only part of your U.S. income is U.S. business income? 

If the foreign corporation determines that part of the activities is U.S. business gross income that U.S. business income and part are not, then the foreign corporation must timely file a return reporting the U.S. business gross income and deducting the related costs and expenses.  

Important: Also, the foreign corporation must attach a statement that the return is a protective return about the other activities.   The protective election ensures that it can deduct the related expenses if the IRS should disagree.  

The same procedure is available if the foreign corporation when if they initially believe that it has no U.S. tax liability due to a tax treaty.[8]  Be sure to attach the IRS tax treaty disclosure Form 8823, on this link

As discussed above, many foreign corporations believe that their home country tax treaty “permanent establishment” provisions protect them since they do not have an office in the U.S.  However, the U.S. courts treat almost any office (even an office owned by an agent or a related person) as a permanent establishment.  

Lastly, U.S. Department of the Treasury will guide you and provide you with a tax guarantee.  This is known as a private letter ruling.  Here is more information.

FOOTNOTES

  1. Section 1.6012-2(g)(1)(i).

If the foreign corporation with a place of business in the United States, the return must be filed by the 15th day of the third month after the end of the tax year.

[2] Reg. Section 1.6012-2(g)(1)(ii).

[3] Reg. Section 1.6012-2(g)(1)(iii).

[4] Code Section 882(c)(2).

[5] Reg. Section 1.882-4(a).

[6] Reg. Section 1.882-4(a)(2).

[7] Reg. Section 1.882- 4(a)(3).

[8] . Reg. Section 1.882-4(a)(3)(iv).