We serve foreign nationals coming into the United States to live, work and conduct business. Almost always, the client has family living in the “old country.” This necessarily implies that many people likely will have an international tax issue at some point in time.
We advise our clients of the offshore bank account and asset ownership rules wherever there is a family connection outside the United States.
Here in New York, international taxation and offshore asset ownership are relevant to many locally domiciled clients. Our clients frequently have a link to the offshore world.
Also, our citizens and residents can end up owning real estate outside of the U.S. Proper ownership of these assets is well advised.
The sale of offshore real estate is usually reportable. We warn our clients to be sure of where the proceeds are deposited and when an FBAR report is necessary. Our style is to encourage client questions and then educate in respect to their situation.
We also serve in regard to “Outbound transactions,” a term for U.S. citizens who conduct business offshore, which require additional reports (form 8938, among others). We encourage our clients to inform us of their plans for offshore activities; we have been able to avoid reporting requirements where possible and prepare them for necessary reporting as well. We believe that all practitioners should be familiar with the rudiments of offshore tax.
OECD nations (including the United States) are gaining in their attempt to implement a global financial asset reporting regime. I urge the public to become aware of these developments well before the need arises.