Tag Archives: international tax accountant

International Tax Strategy with the Preparation of Form 5471 for your Controlled Foreign Corporation

The most important part of Form 5471 is not on the Form.  The Form is merely the tip of an iceberg.

You maximize your tax savings by knowing the loopholes found in the IRS regulations.  Let me say that again.  The income tax regulations contain the complex rules of Subpart F income (which is the income that you do not want if you own a small business) that will save you money.

You will find a summary of these tax breaks on the overlooked IRS worksheet (I have it below).  This worksheet ties into the IRS regulations.

The worksheet has a section for each type of subpart F income.  As you study the international income tax regulations, you will see that most active foreign income is not subpart F.   However if your foreign corporation has related party transactions, then it may have subpart F income.   The IRS has many exceptions to this general rule in their regulations.  Related party transaction includes related party purchases of inventory or services and related party sales of inventory or services.

As you will see on the image of the worksheet, you need to complete page one and two.

On the worksheet, you enter the total of each category of your subpart F income.   The worksheet then guides your arithmetic in computing the total subpart F income.

But here is the problem.  You must compute the total gross subpart F income yourself.  Next, you allocate your overall expenses related to each category.

For example,  your foreign corporation manufactures and sells products worldwide.   Some of the sales are to a related corporation.  Related party sales are often subpart F income (see an exception for contract manufacturing on this link).    You compute your gross income (this is the sale price minus the cost of the good sold).

You enter this amount on the form on line 3 (regarding foreign base company sales income).  Next, you get some special tax breaks on line 15.  On page 2 of the worksheet, you complete line 19 by including the amount from line 15.

 And there are more tax savings to come on page 2 of the Form 5471 worksheet.

Form 5471 tax planning

Form 5471’s worksheet is full of tax savings.

Lines 26, 27, 28 and 29 involve heavy duty tax planning.  They include the concept of  “earnings and profits“.     U.S. corporate taxation (for both a domestic corporation and a foreign corporation) focuses on earnings and profits.

To save taxes, you need to be an expert in this concept.   You want your CPA to know this concept like the back of his hand.  You can test your CPA by asking him about this.  If the answer is vague, this means you need someone else to prepare the Form 5471.

Lastly, you take the amount from page two line 38(b) to line 1 of Form 5471 Schedule I.

Smart tax planners use this worksheet to monitor their taxable subpart F income.  This means you should be preparing a proforma worksheet after the six months of your year.    As you read the worksheet, your will see other IRS tax saving ideas such as related party interest expense.

Saving Taxes When a Foreign Holding Company (a CFC) owns Foreign Investment Funds (PFIC) using Form 8621

Seems almost impossible when two anti-taxpayers international tax laws can save you taxes. This is what happens with the Congress does not understand basic accounting.    For every debit (which in accounting is a plus “+”) there is a credit (which is minus “-“),

This axiom is the foundation of all income tax loopholes because this tax is a tax on accounting income.

When a holding company owns investment funds,  U.S. tax law collapses.  A few years ago, Congress could leave well enough alone.  Instead, they enacted a vague law requiring the income under the passive foreign investment company (“PFIC”) tax law to be reported by the U.S. shareholder of a foreign holding company.

The most popular foreign investment funds have been the Vanguard Investment funds managed from Dublin, Ireland.   These funds fit the definition of a PFIC.

From “reporting” the tax law vaguely implies that the shareholder pays tax on the PFIC’s income (if any and this if any has it’s on tax planning on this link).

The U.S. shareholder has to IRS Forms to file.  They are Form 5471 and Form 8621.  These two forms don’t integrate with each other.

I talked to the IRS International attorney in charge of form 8621 and PFIC taxation regarding this.  He knew of the problem but had no plans to fix this.   And why?  My guess is that it can’t be fixed because the two tax laws do not integrate.

Thus, your international tax accountant has many options in your tax planning when he prepares your Form 5471 and Form 8621.  Too many for me to fit them all into a blog.  One option allows you to convert ordinary income (called Subpart F income) into long term capital gain income.

However, a video will help your the tax preparer of your Form 8621.  I used this video for my international tax class for the California Society of CPAs.  This means that unless you are an international tax  CPA, you will find it boring and while debit and credits are boring. they are the focal point of tax loopholes.

If you need help in preparing your Form 5471 or Form 8621, then call me Brian Dooley, CPA, MBT at 949-939-3414.

Foreign Tax Accountants Are Watching for the New Form 1120F and Form 5471

A great debate over the United States corporate tax reform is underway.   Foreign tax accountants are waiting to see how this will change the Form 1120F (reporting for an international company with U.S. income)  and the Form 5471 (reporting for a controlled foreign corporation).

The Form 1120F includes the Branch Profits Tax.  A tax on U.S. equity and foreign interest expense.

Form 1120F’s Branch Profits Tax is a surprise attack tax.   Small international businesses rarely spend the time needed to avoid this tax.  Quarterly proforma tax returns are required to manage this tax.   Corporate minutes are needed to justify the retention of liquid assets on the U.S. branch.

The word “branch” is misleading.  A foreign corporation does not need a branch (such as an office or a factory) for this tax to apply.  The tax is on U.S. equity that is not necessary for an active U.S. business.

The second part of the branch profits tax is in the method of the corporation’s debt financing.

Foreign tax accountants are expecting the new Form 1120F to include an easy to use worksheet for computation of the interest expense portion of the branch profits tax.

International and Global Tax Strategies as the U.S. reduces the business tax rate.

The best international and global tax structure includes an IRS approved Nevada Self-directed trust.

Optimizing your tax savings requires thinking outside the box. Using a foreign trust for tax planning and asset protection will keep you and your family safe.

Optimizing your tax savings requires thinking outside the box. Using a foreign trust for tax planning and asset protection will keep you and your family safe.

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Form 1120-F (U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Corporation) covers three different taxes. Saving International Taxes Requires an International Tax Accountant.

Table of Contents

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.

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 just give me, Brian Dooley, CPA, MBT a call at 949-939-3414. 

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).

International Tax CPA Accountant for Preparation of Form 1120F

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Get an international tax expert and pay the least in taxes with your Form 1120F.

Brian Dooley, CPA, MBT is an expert in international tax.  Your foreign corporate income tax return has three parts.  Each part is independent and has its own international tax laws.

Brian is the leading specialist in the branch profits tax and effectively connected income tax accounting.  His book, International Taxation in America is a textbook on issues such as permanent establishments in the United States by a foreign corporation.

Give Brian a call at 949-939-3414 and discuss your tax concerns. Brian is located in Orange County, California.

He truly is an expert, He testifies at the Department of U.S.Treasury, the Congress and the U.S. Senate.   He is an instructor for the California Society of CPAS and the Graduate tax  Program for the California State University System.