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Including: Gift tax; Estate tax; Generation-skipping transfer tax; Income tax; Income tax residency and transfer tax domicile; Anti-avoidance rules; US citizens and green card holders living abroad; Expatriation; Taxation of trusts; Increased reporting obligations.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act 2012, which was signed into law by the president on January 2, provides some certainty for international families as they address their succession planning and begin to move wealth to the next generation. In addition, clarification of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act has been provided by new final regulations, but the full impact on foreign trusts and their offshore trustees is still to be determined.
Advisers to international families know that the US tax laws will change in the new year and that the implementation of expanded reporting obligations will continue. In this uncertain environment, advisers do their best to help with investment and succession-planning decisions involving complex questions of law, tax and business planning.
The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorisation and Job Creation Act of 2010 created advantageous tax and wealth-planning opportunities that are scheduled to expire on December 31 2012. Advisers to international families should be aware of these opportunities as it may be advantageous for US family members to take advantage of them while they still exist.
Significant planning opportunities now exist for both US and non-US trusts using state decanting laws. State initiatives are responding to the need to provide flexibility in trust administration, while the tax authorities are studying the tax implications of trustee distributions of all or a portion of the principal of an irrevocable trust to another irrevocable trust.
The Internal Revenue Service has released Form 8938 – Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets. Certain individual US taxpayers must use the form to report information about specified foreign financial assets for the 2011 tax year. Advisers to international families should bring this filing requirement to the attention of US beneficiaries of foreign trusts, as certain interests in foreign trusts are considered specified foreign financial assets.
The Dodd-Frank Act removed an exemption from registration previously available for investment advisers with fewer than 15 clients to enable the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate private fund advisers. A family office falling within the definition of 'investment adviser' has until March 30 2012 either to register or to qualify for the new single family office exemption.