We are planners, first and foremost, and we implement the planning we recommend. But we also assist our clients with tax compliance, working closely with their accountants, and with tax controversies, often in collaboration with specialist tax controversy counsel.
Modern tax systems are complex and dynamic. The interaction of the tax and legal systems of different countries can multiply the complexity. Complexity and change create uncertainty. Uncertainty creates risk, because there can rarely be complete certainty about the interpretation of tax law or its implementation by tax administrators.
As planners, we try to be creative and flexible, but we are at heart conservative. Our aim is for our clients to have a high degree of confidence in our planning, with a proper understanding of the risk, because risk can be managed and mitigated but can rarely be eliminated.
Our international tax practice covers a wide range of topics and we have advised individuals and businesses active in many industries, including manufacturing, technology, services, real estate, investment, and entertainment. We regularly cooperate with an extensive network of advisors in many disciplines and in many countries and our ability to be effective is enhanced by our extensive foreign language capabilities:
Planning for individuals who move to the United States from another country or move to another country from the United States
- We work extensively on pre-residence planning, including the timing and effects of acquiring residence, domicile and citizenship in the United States, and the steps that are desirable when an individual or a family becomes subject to U.S. Federal and state taxation on worldwide income.
- We advise individuals (and the employers of individuals) who are working temporarily in the United States.
- We advise regularly on the consequences of giving up U.S. citizenship or residence (“expatriation”).
Tax and estate planning for multinational families, where individual family members visit or reside in the United States and others reside abroad
- We advise on the establishment of trusts both outside and inside the United States.
- We advise on structuring intra-family gifts and other transactions.
- We advise on the purchase of residential property for use by family members.
- We advise on the structuring of business and real estate holdings owned by family members in more than one country.
Planning for foreign investment in the United States
- We advise on acquisition and financing structures for investment in U.S. real estate and other businesses.
- We help foreign businesses establish U.S. operations.
- We advise on structuring portfolio investments in publicly traded and closely held companies.
- We establish and structure corporations, partnerships and joint ventures.
- We advise extensively about the impact of tax withholding rules and the application of treaties.
Planning for outbound investment from the United States
- We advise on and implement the structuring of international business operations by U.S. businesses.
- We help establish companies in foreign countries, working with an extensive network of foreign advisors.
- We advise on the holding of portfolio investments.
- As part of our practice involving charitable giving, we advise both individuals and charities on issues relating to making gifts for use in other countries.
- We advise about tax requirements to make gifts deductible for income and estate and gift tax purposes as well as compliance with the PATRIOT Act and other laws relating to money laundering and terrorist financing.
Compliance and Controversies
- We help U.S. citizens and residents (current and prospective) to understand their U.S. tax compliance obligations.
- We find ourselves more and more giving advice about U.S. reporting requirements for citizens and residents, including reporting of foreign assets and financial accounts, interests in foreign corporations, partnerships and funds, and foreign trusts and gifts. We advise about FATCA, CRS and other reporting requirements.
- We advise and assist our clients on compliance problems, such as failures to file or filing errors, often the result of poor advice by prior advisors, lack of understanding of complex international rules, or moving to the United States without proper planning. We have regularly advised on voluntary disclosures of foreign income and the alternatives to such disclosures.
- However, we do not advise on cases where we believe there is a meaningful risk of criminal investigation or prosecution, and we are not tax litigators. In such cases, we usually refer our clients to specialist tax controversy counsel, although we may remain involved to assist with complex questions involving international tax issues.