India – 391 FFI’s Now Registered For FATCA

Posted by Sanket Shah | General | Friday 19 May 2017 2:19 pm

You can find a full list of the Indian foreign financial institutions (FFI’s) that have registered for FATCA compliance and are in approved status as of August 25 2014 over here:

http://apps.irs.gov/app/fatcaFfiList/flu.jsf

The FFI List is updated the first day of each month. It includes all foreign financial institutions and branches that are in approved status at the time the list is compiled.

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Surrendering Green Card – New Form I­-407

Posted by Sanket Shah | General | Friday 19 May 2017 12:57 pm

In February 2015, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a new Form I­-407 for the abandonment of an individual’s United States green card (technically, “lawful permanent resident” status).

The new Form I­-407 now provides a separate section to obtain the consent of parents of minors who relinquish the green card. As in the old form, the new form asks for reasons for abandonment of the green card, but this question now appears to be more formally presented and appears to require a more detailed statement.

Giving It Up: No Fee — Yet!

Green card holders are taxed in the same manner as US citizens: they are both subject to US income tax on their worldwide income regardless of the source of that income and regardless of where the green card holder or citizen is living at the time it is earned. However, they are not treated exactly the same when it comes to relinquishing their US status. The US citizen who renounces his US citizenship, must now pay a fee of $2,350 for the privilege of doing so. On the other hand, there is still no fee for relinquishing one’s green card.

Internal Revenue Service is Notified When You Give Up the Green Card

Interestingly, the instructions to the new Form I-­407 specifically advise applicants that: “The Department of Homeland Security is required to provide the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with the names of individuals who choose to abandon their LPR status. If you file this form with us, we will provide only your name and the filing date to the IRS. (Internal Revenue Code section 6039G(d)(3))”.

Dire consequences can result if an individual does not properly relinquish his green card and file all required paperwork with the IRS.

Please note, that simply because the green card has expired for immigration law purposes, it does not likewise “expired” for US income tax purposes thereby relieving them of the duty to pay US taxes.

Your Name May Appear On the “Name and Shame” List

Code Section 6039G implements the so­-called “Name and Shame” list. This is a quarterly publication in the Federal Register by the IRS listing the names of individuals about whom the IRS has received information of a loss of citizenship during the preceding quarter. This list is required to include the names not only of former U.S. citizens but of certain former green card holders. Under 26 U.S.C. § 6039G(d) (3), “the Federal agency primarily responsible for administering the immigration laws shall provide to the Secretary the name of each lawful permanent resident of the United States (within the meaning of section 7701 (b)(6)) whose status as such has been revoked or has been administratively or judicially determined to have been abandoned.”

The Federal Register provides that “for purposes of this listing, long­term residents, as defined in section 877(e)(2), are treated as if they were citizens of the United States who lost citizenship”. So, if you’ve held your green card for at least 8 of the preceding 15 tax years, your name will appear on the “Name and Shame” list when you return the card.

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How to Get a Transcript or Copy of a Prior Year Tax Return

Posted by Sanket Shah | General | Thursday 25 July 2013 2:09 pm

There are many reasons why you should keep a copy of your federal tax return. For example, you may need it to answer an IRS inquiry. You may also need it to apply for a student loan or a home mortgage. If you can’t find your tax return, the IRS can provide a copy or give you a transcript of the tax information you need.

Here’s how to get your federal tax return information from the IRS:

1. Transcripts are free and you can get them for the current year and the past three years. In most cases, a transcript includes all the information you need.

2. A tax return transcript shows most line items from the tax return you originally filed. It also includes items from any accompanying forms and schedules you filed. It does not reflect any changes made after you filed your original return.

3. A tax account transcript shows any changes either you or the IRS made to your tax return after you filed it. This transcript includes your marital status, the type of return you filed, your adjusted gross income and taxable income.

4. You can get transcripts on the web, by phone or by mail. To request transcripts online, go to IRS.gov and use the Order a Transcript tool.

5. To request a 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ tax return transcript by mail or fax, complete Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript. Businesses and individuals who need a tax account transcript should use Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

6. If you order online or by phone, you should receive your tax return transcript within five to 10 calendar days. You should allow 30 calendar days for delivery of a tax account transcript if you order by mail.

7. If you need an actual copy of a filed and processed tax return, it will cost $57 for each tax year. Complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, and mail it to the IRS address listed on the form for your area. Copies are generally available for the current year and past six years. Please allow 60 days for delivery.

8. If you live in a Presidentially declared disaster area, the IRS may waive the fee to obtain copies of your tax returns. Visit IRS.gov and select the ‘Disaster Relief’ link in the lower left corner of the page for more about IRS disaster assistance.

9. Forms 4506, 4506-T and 4506T-EZ are available at IRS.gov

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Job Search Expenses May Lower Your Taxes

Posted by Sanket Shah | General | Monday 8 July 2013 7:07 pm

Summer is often a time when people make major life decisions. Common events include buying a home, getting married or changing jobs. If you’re looking for a new job in your same line of work, you may be able to claim a tax deduction for some of your job hunting expenses.

Here are seven things the IRS wants you to know about deducting these costs:

1. Your expenses must be for a job search in your current occupation. You may not deduct expenses related to a search for a job in a new occupation. If your employer or another party reimburses you for an expense, you may not deduct it.

2. You can deduct employment and job placement agency fees you pay while looking for a job.

3. You can deduct the cost of preparing and mailing copies of your résumé to prospective employers.

4. If you travel to look for a new job, you may be able to deduct your travel expenses. However, you can only deduct them if the trip is primarily to look for a new job.

5. You can’t deduct job search expenses if there was a substantial break between the end of your last job and the time you began looking for a new one.

6. You can’t deduct job search expenses if you’re looking for a job for the first time.

7. You usually will claim job search expenses as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. You can deduct only the amount of your total miscellaneous deductions that exceed two percent of your adjusted gross income.

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IRS, Australia and United Kingdom Engaged in Cooperative Effort to Combat Offshore Tax Evasion

Posted by Sanket Shah | General | Friday 10 May 2013 1:00 pm

The tax administrations from the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom announced on May 9th, 2013  a plan to share tax information involving a multitude of trusts and companies holding assets on behalf of residents in jurisdictions throughout the world.

The three nations have each acquired a substantial amount of data revealing extensive use of such entities organized in a number of jurisdictions including Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and the Cook Islands. The data contains both the identities of the individual owners of these entities, as well as the advisors who assisted in establishing the entity structure.

The IRS, Australian Tax Office and HM Revenue & Customs have been working together to analyze this data and have uncovered information that may be relevant to tax administrations of other jurisdictions. Thus, they have developed a plan for sharing the data, as well as their preliminary analysis, if requested by those other tax administrations.

“This is part of a wider effort by the IRS and other tax administrations to pursue international tax evasion,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller. “Our cooperative work with the United Kingdom and Australia reflects a bigger goal of leaving no safe haven for people trying to illegally evade taxes.”

There is nothing illegal about holding assets through offshore entities; however, such offshore arrangements are often used to avoid or evade tax liabilities on income represented by the principal or on the income generated by the underlying assets. In addition, advisors may be subject to civil penalties or criminal prosecution for promoting such arrangements as a means to avoid or evade tax liability or circumvent information reporting requirements.

It is expected that this multilateral cooperation and coordinated effort will allow many countries to efficiently process this information and effectively enforce any laws that may have been broken. Increasingly, tax administrations are working together in this way to assist one another in identifying non-compliance with the tax laws.

U.S. taxpayers holding assets through offshore entities are encouraged to review their tax obligations with respect to these holdings, seek professional advice if necessary, and to participate in the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program where appropriate. Failure to do so may result in significant penalties and possibly criminal prosecution.

 

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Eight Facts on Late Filing and Late Payment Penalties – by IRS

Posted by Sanket Shah | General | Friday 19 April 2013 12:16 pm

April 15 is the annual deadline for most people to file their federal income tax return and pay any taxes they owe. By law, the IRS may assess penalties to taxpayers for both failing to file a tax return and for failing to pay taxes they owe by the deadline.

Here are eight important points about penalties for filing or paying late.

1. A failure-to-file penalty may apply if you did not file by the tax filing deadline. A failure-to-pay penalty may apply if you did not pay all of the taxes you owe by the tax filing deadline.

2. The failure-to-file penalty is generally more than the failure-to-pay penalty. You should file your tax return on time each year, even if you’re not able to pay all the taxes you owe by the due date. You can reduce additional interest and penalties by paying as much as you can with your tax return. You should explore other payment options such as getting a loan or making an installment agreement to make payments. The IRS will work with you.

3. The penalty for filing late is normally 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. That penalty starts accruing the day after the tax filing due date and will not exceed 25 percent of your unpaid taxes.

4. If you do not pay your taxes by the tax deadline, you normally will face a failure-to-pay penalty of ½ of 1 percent of your unpaid taxes. That penalty applies for each month or part of a month after the due date and starts accruing the day after the tax-filing due date.

5. If you timely requested an extension of time to file your individual income tax return and paid at least 90 percent of the taxes you owe with your request, you may not face a failure-to-pay penalty. However, you must pay any remaining balance by the extended due date.

6. If both the 5 percent failure-to-file penalty and the ½ percent failure-to-pay penalties apply in any month, the maximum penalty that you’ll pay for both is 5 percent.

7. If you file your return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax.

8. You will not have to pay a late-filing or late-payment penalty if you can show reasonable cause for not filing or paying on time.

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IRS Announces Three-Month Filing, Payment Extension Following Boston Marathon Explosions

Posted by Sanket Shah | General | Thursday 18 April 2013 11:56 am

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has announced of a three-month tax filing and payment extension to Boston area taxpayers and others affected by Monday’s explosions.

This relief applies to all individual taxpayers who live in Suffolk County, Mass., including the city of Boston. It also includes victims, their families, first responders, others impacted by this tragedy who live outside Suffolk County and taxpayers whose tax preparers were adversely affected.

“Our hearts go out to the people affected by this tragic event,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller. “We want victims and others affected by this terrible tragedy to have the time they need to finish their individual tax returns.”

Under the relief announced, the IRS will issue a notice giving eligible taxpayers until July 15, 2013, to file their 2012 returns and pay any taxes normally due April 15. No filing and payment penalties will be due as long as returns are filed and payments are made by July 15, 2013. By law, interest, currently at the annual rate of 3 percent compounded daily, will still apply to any payments made after the April deadline.

The IRS will automatically provide this extension to anyone living in Suffolk County. If you live in Suffolk County, no further action is necessary by taxpayers to obtain this relief. However, eligible taxpayers living outside Suffolk County can claim this relief by calling 1-866-562-5227 starting Tuesday, April 23, and identifying themselves to the IRS before filing a return or making a payment. Eligible taxpayers who receive penalty notices from the IRS can also call this number to have these penalties abated.

Eligible taxpayers who need more time to file their returns may receive an additional extension to Oct. 15, 2013, by filing Form 4868 by July 15, 2013.

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Tax Rules for Children Who Have Investment Income

Posted by Sanket Shah | General | Friday 22 March 2013 1:02 pm

Some children receive investment income and are required to file a federal tax return. If a child cannot file his or her own tax return for any reason, such as age, the child’s parent or guardian is responsible for filing a return on the child’s behalf.

There are special tax rules that affect how parents report a child’s investment income. Some parents can include their child’s investment income on their tax return. Other children may have to file their own tax return.

Here are four facts from the IRS about the taxability of your child’s investment income.

1.  Investment income normally includes interest, dividends, capital gains and other unearned income, such as from a trust.

2.  Special rules apply if your child’s total investment income is more than $1,900. The parent’s tax rate may apply to part of that income instead of the child’s tax rate.

3.  If your child’s total interest and dividend income is less than $9,500, you may be able to include the income on parent’s tax return. See Form 8814, Parents’ Election to Report Child’s Interest and Dividends. If parent’s make this choice, the child does not file a return.

4.  Your child must file their own tax return if they received investment income of $9,500 or more. File Form 8615, Tax for Certain Children Who Have Investment Income of More Than $1,900, with the child’s federal tax return.

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Itemizing vs. Standard Deduction

Posted by Sanket Shah | General | Wednesday 20 March 2013 7:51 pm

When you file a tax return, you usually have a choice to make: whether to itemize deductions or take the standard deduction. You should compare both methods and use the one that gives you the greater tax benefit.

The IRS offers these six facts to help you choose.

1. Figure your itemized deductions.  Add up the cost of items you paid for during the year that you might be able to deduct. Expenses could include home mortgage interest, state income taxes or sales taxes (but not both), real estate and personal property taxes, and gifts to charities. They may also include large casualty or theft losses or large medical and dental expenses that insurance did not cover. Unreimbursed employee business expenses may also be deductible.

2. Know your standard deduction.  If you do not itemize, your basic standard deduction amount depends on your filing status. For 2012, the basic amounts are:

      Single = $5,950
      Married Filing Jointly = $11,900
      Head of Household = $8,700
      Married Filing Separately = $5,950
      Qualifying Widow(er) = $11,900

3. Apply other rules in some cases. Your standard deduction is higher if you are 65 or older or blind. Other rules apply if someone else can claim you as a dependent on his or her tax return. To figure your standard deduction in these cases, use the worksheet in the instructions for Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

4. Check for the exceptions.  Some people do not qualify for the standard deduction and should itemize. This includes married people who file a separate return and their spouse itemizes deductions. See the Form 1040 instructions for the rules about who may not claim a standard deduction.

5. Choose the best method.  Compare your itemized and standard deduction amounts. You should file using the method with the larger amount.

6. File the right forms.  To itemize your deductions, use Form 1040, and Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. You can take the standard deduction on  Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.

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Important Facts about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

Posted by Sanket Shah | General | Wednesday 13 March 2013 2:15 pm

If your lender cancelled or forgave your mortgage debt, you generally have to pay tax on that amount. But there are exceptions to this rule for some homeowners who had mortgage debt forgiven in 2012.

Here are 10 key facts from the IRS about mortgage debt forgiveness:

1.  Cancelled debt normally results in taxable income. However, you may be able to exclude the cancelled debt from your income if the debt was a mortgage on your main home.

2.  To qualify, you must have used the debt to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence. The residence must also secure the mortgage.

3.  The maximum qualified debt that you can exclude under this exception is $2 million. The limit is $1 million for a married person who files a separate tax return.

4.  You may be able to exclude from income the amount of mortgage debt reduced through mortgage restructuring. You may also be able to exclude mortgage debt cancelled in a foreclosure.

5.  You may also qualify for the exclusion on a refinanced mortgage. This applies only if you used proceeds from the refinancing to buy, build or substantially improve your main home. The exclusion is limited to the amount of the old mortgage principal just before the refinancing.

6.  Proceeds of refinanced mortgage debt used for other purposes do not qualify for the exclusion. For example, debt used to pay off credit card debt does not qualify.

7.  If you qualify, report the excluded debt on Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness. Submit the completed form with your federal income tax return.

8.  Other types of cancelled debt do not qualify for this special exclusion. This includes debt cancelled on second homes, rental and business property, credit cards or car loans. In some cases, other tax relief provisions may apply, such as debts discharged in certain bankruptcy proceedings. Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

9.  If your lender reduced or cancelled at least $600 of your mortgage debt, they normally send you a statement in January of the next year. Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, shows the amount of cancelled debt and the fair market value of any foreclosed property.

10. Check your Form 1099-C for the cancelled debt amount shown inBox2, and the value of your home shown inBox7. Notify the lender immediately of any incorrect information so they can correct the form.

See IRS Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonment’s for further details.

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