“The exodus continues. It’s like the party’s over and the last one to leave gets stuck with the check!”
- Agent Zed, “Men in Black” (a film about aliens)
Immigration laws and tax laws frequently go hand in hand – unsurprising given how complex both can be.
For resident and nonresident aliens who wish to leave the United States, the concept of the “sailing permit” can be one of the most important items of business that must be resolved before departing. But what exactly is a “sailing permit?” (Spoiler: It has nothing to do with maritime law, marina fees, or the United States Coast Guard.)
Internal Revenue Code Section 6851(d)(1) specifies that “[n]o alien shall depart from the United States unless he first procures from the Secretary a certificate that he has complied with all the obligations imposed on him by the income tax laws,” subject to certain exceptions by regulatory authorities. This certificate, simply put, is result of the IRS’s review and concurrence that an alien is up to date with all income tax obligations and is therefore cleared to leave.
The IRS refers to this certificate in informational materials as a “tax clearance document,” but it’s also known as a “departure permit” or, more commonly, as a “sailing permit.”
As mentioned earlier, all departing resident and nonresident aliens must obtain this document, with the following exceptions: foreign diplomats, employees of international organizations, exchange students and industrial trainees, aliens who earn no U.S. income, and commuting employees who reside in Canada or Mexico whose wages have U.S. taxes withheld.
Applying for a Sailing Permit from the IRS
If you don’t meet an exception, the application for a sailing permit is done using one of two forms: Form 2063 or Form 1040-C.
Form 2063 is the simpler and easier of the two forms to prepare, but has certain conditions that must be met. Resident aliens who have taxable income but are not, in the IRS’s evaluation, leaving to avoid paying income taxes, may file this form. Additionally, resident and nonresident aliens who have no taxable income for the current and preceding year may file this form. Form 2063 is short, but more importantly doesn’t require you to calculate and pay tax. If you don’t qualify for Form 2063, your only avenue is to file Form 1040-C, which is more onerous and requires a calculation of tax before you can receive a sailing permit.
Regardless of the form you need to file, the window of time you have is limited and you’ll need quite a bit of information to make the process go as smoothly as possible. If you are a resident or nonresident alien and you think you may need to apply for the sailing permit, we stand ready to assist you in the process.
Tax Planning and Advice for Resident and Nonresident Aliens
We at Freed Maxick pride ourselves on our experience and expertise with sailing permits and other international tax matters. If you are a resident or nonresident alien, and would like to discuss your tax and compliance responsibilities, please connect with us here , or call us at 716.847.2651 to schedule a brief conversation.View full article
A U.S. taxpayer can be both a nonresident alien and a resident alien during the same tax year. This usually happens when a person, who is not a U.S. citizen, first arrives in the U.S. or in the year that this person departs from the US.
A Dual-Status year requires filing U.S. Income Tax Returns, as both a Part-Year Resident and as a Part-Year Non-Resident.
How do you determine your filing status for your first year of Residency?
If you are a U.S. resident during a calendar year, but were not a U.S. resident at any time during the preceding calendar year, you are treated as a U.S. resident only for the part of the year that begins on your residency starting date.
You are a U.S. nonresident alien for the part of the year before that date.
How is your residency starting date determined?
This is not a simple determination.
If you meet the Substantial Presence Test, your residency starting date is generally the first day that you are actually present in the US.
The Substantial Presence Test is basically a 183 day of presence in the U.S. test. However, it is a cumulative test. If one is physically present in the U.S. for at least 31 days in the current year, and the sum of the days in the current year, plus 1/3 of the days physically present in the U.S. during the first preceding year, plus 1/6 of the days present in the second preceding year exceeds 183 days, then you are considered a resident.
If you meet the Green Card Test at any time during the calendar year, but do not meet the Substantial Presence Test for that year, your residency starting date is the first day in that year on which you are present in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.
You meet the Green Card Test If you have been granted the privilege, according to immigration laws of residing permanently in the U.S. as an immigrant, you will be issued an alien registration card, also known as a Green Card. As long as you hold a Green Card, you are required to file U.S. tax returns as a resident.
Choosing Resident Alien Status
When you are a dual-status alien, there are certain circumstances where you can choose to be treated as a U.S. resident for the entire year. You must meet all of the following:
- Be a non-resident at the beginning of the year
- Be a resident alien or citizen at the end of the year
- Be married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien
- Your spouse joins you in making the choice
You cannot make this choice if you are single.
You must attach a statement, signed by both spouses to your joint return for the year you are making this choice.
If you make this choice, both you and your spouse must file a joint return and are both taxed on worldwide income.
Last Year of Residency
If you were a U.S. resident in the current year of taxation, but are not a U.S. resident during any part of the current filing year, you cease to be a resident on your residency termination date.
The termination date is December 31 of the year of taxation, unless you qualify for one of the exceptions for an earlier termination date.
The rules for determining filing status for your first year of residency and your last year of residency are quite complicated.
Need assistance with a dual status tax return? At Freed Maxick, our tax services team can help you to assimilate these rules and determine what would be the best filing status for you, contact us here.View full article
Important Opportunity for U.S. Employers with Employees in Canada
Some employers may benefit by acting before March 1.
(Extended from previous deadline of February 1.)
Under current Canadian law, U.S. employers are required to withhold and remit Canadian income tax for employees who work in Canada, no matter how short the assignment. Withholding is required even though there may be an exemption under the Canada-U.S. Tax Treaty.
There’s good news, though. The Canadian Government has proposed legislation in place (expected to become law in 2016) for a new exception to its withholding rules. Here are the qualifications for the exception:
- The employee working in Canada has to meet the criteria of a tax treaty with Canada to be exempt from income tax in Canada.
- The employee works in Canada for less than 45 days in the calendar year of the payment or for less than 90 days in any 12-month period that includes the time of the payment.
- The employee is employed by a non-resident Canadian employer, e.g. a U.S. employer.
- The employee is not seconded to Canada to work for a Canadian employer.
- The employee is not an economic employee of a Canadian employer.
- The U.S. employer must not carry on business in Canada through a permanent establishment.
- The U.S. employer must be certified by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) at the time that the payment is made.
Even though the new rule is not officially law yet, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) released a form, RC 473, that nonresident (U.S.) employers can use to obtain certification. Nonresident (U.S.) employers should file the form with the CRA at least 30 days before the employee begins working in Canada. To be certified effective January 1, 2016, a nonresident employer should file form RC 473 by March 1, 2016. (This is an extension of the February 1 deadline that CRA had previously announced for certification effective January 1, 2016.) If approved, the CRA will inform the nonresident employer by letter. The approval may be granted for up to two years.
The CRA has indicated that if approved, a qualifying nonresident (U.S.) employer must:
- Track and record the number of days a qualifying employee is either working or present in Canada.
- Determine whether the employee is resident in a country with which Canada has a tax treaty (For U.S. employers, a U.S. resident employee is a resident of a country with which Canada has a tax treaty).
- File a Form T4 Summary and Information Return for employees working in Canada (not required for those earning less than C$10,000).
- Obtain a Canadian business number and a program account number if required to remit amounts to the Canadian Government.
- File all applicable Canadian income tax returns for the calendar years in which the employer is certified by CRA.
It’s important to understand the basics before you or your business crosses borders
In today’s economy, many businesses wind up crossing international borders much sooner than they expected—often without even realizing it. It’s not uncommon for growth-oriented entrepreneurs to charge ahead believing that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, but that philosophy can lead to fines, penalties and taxes that could have been avoided when it comes to international taxes. If you understand these basic concepts about income tax treaties, you’ll be better equipped to understand when to ask permission and how to do it.
- Tax Treaties Have 2 Main Goals: In short, tax treaties provide guidance regarding potential tax benefits and reporting requirements when residing or doing business in a foreign country.
- Avoiding Double Taxation: This may be hard to believe, but not every government thinks it’s entitled to tax all of your income. Nations negotiate tax treaties in order to determine where income should be taxed and to make sure that the same income is not taxed both at home and abroad.
- Avoiding Tax Evasion: This goal sounds more like what you expect from governments. While treaties may ease a tax burden by preventing double taxation, they will almost always assign some sort of information reporting obligation to an individual or business when in a foreign country. A treaty also typically includes protocols that govern the sharing of tax information between governments.
- Residency: Step 1 when it comes to figuring out where you have to report information or file taxes is figuring out where you are a resident. Spoiler alert— For individuals, it’s not always where you live.
- Individuals: Most treaties determine if an individual is a resident for tax purposes by counting the number of days spent in the country. At the same time, a treaty can also describe specific exceptions that allow someone to live abroad and maintain tax residency in the country that they think of as home. For example, Canadians who spend significant time in Florida may become U.S. residents for tax purposes, but the treaty between the countries will allow for a “closer connection” exception if one follows certain rules and files certain forms.
- Businesses: Corporations and other types of businesses typically follow a more incremental process toward tax residency. Many enterprises first cross a border when they ship a product or deliver a service electronically into another country. Others might send a salesperson to a trade show in another country where that person closes deals on site. This can be followed by warehousing product in the second country, employing citizens of the country to manage operations there, and eventually opening an office or outlet that might establish tax residency for the business in the foreign country. A treaty can detail the obligations of the business at each of these stages.
- Immigration: Corporations rarely face immigration issues applicable to the business, but they almost always face immigration issues when employees work in other countries. A tax treaty can spell out what special visas and work permits may be needed in order for an employee to work in the host country. As for acquiring those visas and permits, an attorney who focuses on immigration issues may be the best resource for a business sending workers into another country.
The United States currently has tax treaties with about 60 countries. If you are a businessperson in the U.S. or one of those countries, it’s critical to understand the requirements of the relevant treaty before doing business that crosses the border. If you have operations in a country without a U.S. treaty, it’s important to understand how the Internal Revenue Code will treat the income you generate--both in the U.S. and abroad. As noted above, this is an area where engaging professionals before you start can save you money and hassles, while seeking forgiveness after the fact can lead to significant fines and penalties in addition to taxes. A consultation with an international tax professional is a must for any business with plans to operate across borders.
With the new release of income tax credits, three New York State business tax credits have been extended or created to help reduce New York State income tax liability. These credits include potential claims for refundable credits even if you do not owe any income tax and may benefit employers.
For a full explaination of these credits please see our client alert here.
With the ever-changing and complex regulatory environment, compliance with accounting for income taxes (ASC 740), formerly known as FAS 109, has become more difficult for companies to manage efficiently. Companies must work hard to ensure that they minimize compliance related errors with the current tax laws and financial accounting and reporting standards.
In this two-hour LIVE webcast on May 17th, a panel of distinguished professionals assembled by The Knowledge Group will discuss the significant topics related to tax accounting rules and implementation of ASC 740. The faculty will discuss:
Brief Overview of ASC 740 and Refresher in Current and Deferred Tax Computation
Pertinent Accounting Principles and Tax Accounting Provisions
Application of ASC 740 to State and International Income Taxes
Hot Topics in Internal Controls
Issues Relating to Compensation and Benefits Developments
Best Practices and Practical Guidance for Tax Preparation, Compliance and Effectiveness
Up-to-the-Minute Regulatory Updates
This is a must attend event for Finance Executives, CPAs, Attorneys, Enrolled Agents, Tax Practitioners, and other Interested Professionals. Attending this course will give you the tools you need to understand the latest developments in ASC-740.
Course Level: Intermediate
Method Of Presentation: Group-Based-Internet
Developer: The Knowledge Group, LLC
Recommended CLE/CPE Hours: 1.75 - 2.0
Advance Preparation: Print and review course materials
Course Code: 134416
NASBA Fields of Study: Accounting – 1.00 credit and Taxes – 1.00 credit
Other Certifications: IRS EA Credits: Federal Tax – 2:00 credits
$199 - $249 (Early Bird Discounted Rate - on or before 05/07/2013)
$299 - $349 (Regular Rate - registration after 05/07/2013)
$149 (Government / Nonprofit Rate)
Featured Speakers for ASC 740: Income Tax Accounting for 2013 LIVE Webcast :
Douglas I. Schwartz, CPA/CFF, Cr.FA, Managing Member,
Samuel C. DiSalvo, CPA J.D., Director,
Angela L. Evans, Partner, Business Tax Services,
Douglas I Schwartz, LLC
Douglas I. Schwartz, CPA/CFF, Cr.FA
speaker bio »»
Freed Maxick CPAs, PC
Mark A. Stebbins, CPA
Director - Tax Practice Leader
speaker bio »»
Freed Maxick CPAs, PC
Samuel C. DiSalvo, CPA J.D.
speaker bio »»
Ernst & Young LLP
Angela L. Evans
Partner, Business Tax Services
Who Should Attend?
- Finance Executives
- Tax Attorneys
- Enrolled Agents
- Tax Practitioners
- Tax Directors
- Tax Managers/Executive
- Internal Audits
- Financial Planners and Executives
- Tax Consultants
- And Other Interested Professionals
This is a must attend event for anyone interested in understanding the related issues and changes to Income Tax Accounting (ASC 740). In this live virtual course, you will hear:
- Detailed guidance explained by the most qualified key leaders & experts
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- Interact directly with panel during Q&A
Advanced registration is recommended as space is limited. Please click the “Register” button below to enroll in this course today. Significant discounts apply for early registrants.
Please note, the event date is firm although it may be subject to change. Please click here for details.
The Knowledge Group, LLC is producing this event for information purposes only. We do not intend to provide or offer business advice. The contents of this event are based upon the opinions of our speakers. The Knowledge Congress does not warrant their accuracy and completeness. The statements made by them are based on their independent opinions and does not necessarily reflect that of The Knowledge Congress' views. In no event shall The Knowledge Congress be liable to any person or business entity for any special, direct, indirect, punitive, incidental or consequential damages as a result of any information gathered from this webcast.