William Byrnes Wealth & Risk Management Blog

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Twenty Scholars Join Texas A&M Law

Posted by William Byrnes on August 21, 2016


Texas A&M University recently jumped to rank #4 among the U.S. public universities (Money 2016).TAMU-Law-lockup-white

1. Lisa Alexander

Lisa Alexander is an expert in community development law, specializing in urban real estate, low-income housing law and policy, economic development, and urban reform. She has experience at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. and was awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship. She is also a former Associate Editor of the ABAJournal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law. She was named an “Emerging Leader” by the National Congress for Community and Economic Development. Coming to us from the University of Wisconsin Law School, Professor Alexander was recently appointed to the Wisconsin State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

2. William Byrnes

William Byrnes is a leading tax and financial crimes published author and co-author of eight Lexis treatises, a 10-volume Kluwer set, three Tax Facts books, and an 8-volume National Underwriter Wealth Planning treatise.   His weekly financial law and planning article is syndicated by American Legal Media (ALM).  Professor Byrnes pioneered online legal education in the early nineties and created the first online LL.M. offered by an ABA accredited law school.  He served a senior position of international tax for Coopers and Lybrand, specializing in transfer pricing.  He is a J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB) and U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) appointed specialist for tax law and legal pedagogy.

3. Irene Calboli

Irene Calboli specializes in intellectual property, European Union law, and international trade law. She has published numerous articles in journals such as the Illinois Law Review and Florida Law Review. She is the Co-Chair of the Professor Membership Team of the Academic Committee of the International Trademark Association and a member of the Executive Committee of the Art Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools. Professor Calboli formerly taught at Marquette University Law School.

4. Vanessa Casado Pérez

Vanessa Casado Pérez is a leading scholar on property and natural resources law. In several publications, she explores the role of property rights in water scarcity mitigation. She is affiliated with the Bill Lane Center for the American West, collaborating with the Water in the West program, a joint venture between the Center and the Woods Institute for the Environment. She has served as a research assistant at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain, and the University of Chicago and New York University law schools. Professor Casado Perez joins us from Stanford University Law School where she was a Teaching Fellow of the LL.M. Program in Environmental Law & Policy and Lecturer in Law and coordinator of the Stanford Law Fellows’ research workshop.

5. Susan Fortney

Susan Fortney is one of the country’s foremost legal ethics and attorney malpractice scholars. She has authored many books and law review articles on these and other topics. She also serves on the editorial board for two American Bar Association journals. During her impressive career, Professor Fortney has also received many awards for outstanding teaching. She comes to Texas A&M from Hofstra University Law School. She also formerly served as Interim Dean of Texas Tech University School of Law.

6. Nuno Garoupa

Nuno Garoupa is a top scholar in comparative law and law & economics. He has published dozens of articles in journals such as the Illinois Law Review and the American Law and Economics Review. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of York and also holds an LL.M. from the University of London. He has a long-established research interest in the economics of law and legal institutions. Professor Garoupa currently serves as President of the Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos in Portugal. He formerly taught at the University of Illinois College of Law.

7. Bill Henning

Bill Henning is a preeminent scholar in commercial law. Professor Henning has served as Executive Director of the Uniform Law Commission. He is a member of the Permanent Editorial Board for the Uniform Commercial Code, the American Law Institute, and the State Department’s Advisory Council on Private International Law. He currently serves as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, Working Group VI.  Professor Henning formerly taught at the University of Alabama School of Law.

8. Luz Herrera

Luz Herrera will join us from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. She will serve as Associate Dean for Experiential Education. A leader in clinical programs, she also specializes in civil justice and wills and trusts. A former Senior Clinical Fellow at Harvard Law School, she has been recognized by the Daily Journal as among the 100 Top Attorneys in California and by the Mexican American Bar Association with the Cruz Reynoso Community Service Award.

9. Charlotte Ku

Dr. Charlotte Ku is an expert in international law and has published numerous books and articles in the field. She has also served as acting director at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge, as executive director and executive vice president of the American Society of International Law, and as a chair of the Board of Directors of the Academic Council on the United Nations System. Dr. Ku is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a member of the Board of Advisors, Strategic Studies Quarterly. Dr. Ku joins us from the University of Illinois College of Law, where she was a professor of law and assistant dean of graduate and international legal studies.

10. Glynn Lunney

Glynn Lunney is an expert in intellectual property law and also has a Ph.D. in economics. He specializes in patent, copyright and trademark law, unfair competition, and contracts. He has published in prestigious journals such as the Virginia Law Review and the Michigan Law Review. Professor Lunney has a special connection to Texas A&M as he attended the University as an undergraduate and received a degree in engineering. Professor Lunney formerly taught at Tulane University Law School.

11. William Magnuson

William Magnuson is a practicing attorney who focuses on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and private equity. He joins us from the law firm of Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody in Austin, Texas, and he previously worked in the mergers and acquisitions group at Sullivan and Cromwell. He has represented public and private companies in various industries involving both U.S. and cross-border transactions. He served as a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, and as a clerk to the Honorable Priscilla R. Owen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. While he was a student at Harvard Law School, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard International Law Journal and continues to present at the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.

12. Jack Manhire

Dr. John T. (“Jack”) Manhire, Jr., former Chief of Legal Analysis for the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility and National Program Chair, Executive Education for the U.S. Treasury Executive Institute, is the Director of Program Development at Texas A&M University School of Law.  His prior positions include Director of Technical Analysis & Guidance (Policy and Procedure) for the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service, Attorney-Advisor (Tax) to the IRS National Taxpayer Advocate and Division Chief, Tax Law for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary National Office.  Jack’s scholarly interests primarily involve issues relating to tax compliance. His articles and essays appear in journals such as the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Virginia Tax Review, the Iowa Law Review, and the Florida Tax Review, Journal on Policy and Complex Systems. Jack was a University Fellow (Ph.D. candidate) at Yale University where he was Editor of the Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities.

13. Fatma Marouf

Fatma Marouf, a top scholar in immigration law, refugee law and international human rights law, will create and direct our new Immigration Clinic. Her scholarship has examined issues such as the rights of mentally incompetent noncitizens, the use of restraints in removal proceedings, and the exclusion of DREAMers from the Affordable Care Act. She was also named a Bellow Scholar for her empirical research on the adjudication of immigration appeals in the federal courts. She has extensive experience representing immigrants at all levels of adjudication and has served as a consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Professor Marouf joins us from University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law, where she was co-director of the Immigration Clinic.

14. Thomas W. Mitchell

Thomas W. Mitchell is widely recognized as an expert in property law, land use, remedies and rural community development. He founded and directed the Program in Real Estate, Land Use, and Community Development, a multi-disciplinary program at the University of Wisconsin Law School where he was the Frederick W. and Vi Miller Chair in Law. He served as the primary drafter of the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, which was promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (commonly known as the Uniform Law Commission), endorsed by the ABA and enacted into law thus far in eight states. The Act was also selected by the Council on State Governments for its 2013 Selected State Legislation publication which characterized it as comprehensive, innovative and a model statute.

15. Angela Morrison

Angela Morrison is an expert in employment and immigration law. She was previously the Legal Director of the Nevada Immigrant Resource Project, where she conducted outreach on immigration-related issues to community partners, governmental organizations, and immigrant communities. She also worked for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as a trial attorney. Professor Morrison formerly taught at UNLV School of Law.

16. Srividhya Ragavan

Srividhya Ragavan is an intellectual property expert, who has published numerous books and articles in the field. Her scholarship focuses on the relationship between international trade law and intellectual property. Professor Ragavan’s work is internationally recognized, particularly in India. Professor Ragavan has been associated with the various departments of the Indian government such as the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Professor Ragavan formerly taught at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

17. Elizabeth Trujillo

Elizabeth Trujillo is a leading scholar in international economic law, specializing in the North American Free Trade Agreement, contracts, international trade, investment, and development. Her publications, which have appeared in law reviews, books, and peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of International Economic Law, examine the relationship between international trade and investment with domestic regulatory structures. She is currently writing a book on international trade and sustainable development with Cambridge University Press. At the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, she founded a J.D., LLB, L.E.D. tri-lateral degree program with universities in Mexico and Canada. Trujillo was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School and at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Germany and is an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellow. She comes to us from Suffolk University Law School in Boston where she previously served as the director of the international law concentration and was named “Latina Trailblazer in the Law” by the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys.

18. Saurabh Vishnubhakat

Saurabh Vishnubhakat is an expert in intellectual property and patent law. He has published articles in journals such as the Florida Law Review and the Yale Journal of Law and Technology. He previously served in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, advising the agency’s chief economist and other leadership on patent policy. Profesor Vishnubhakat was also a faculty fellow at Duke Law School, where he taught patent law and researched bioinformatics innovation as well as economic and tort-theory aspects of patent litigation.

19. Michael K. Young

Michael K. Young, President of Texas A&M University, previously served as President and tenured Professor of Law at the University of Washington and President and Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Utah. He served as Dean and Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at the George Washington University Law School, and he was a professor at Columbia University for more than 20 years. He also has been a visiting professor and scholar at three universities in Japan. A graduate of Harvard Law School, President Young served as a law clerk to the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has held a number of government positions, including Deputy Under Secretary for Economic and Agricultural Affairs and Ambassador for Trade and Environmental Affairs in the Department of State during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

20. Peter Yu

Peter Yu is a prolific scholar and an award-winning teacher. He is the author or editor of six books and more than 100 law review articles and book chapters. He has lectured and presented in more than 25 countries on six continents. He serves as the general editor ofThe WIPO Journal published by the World Intellectual Property Organization and chairs the Committee on International Intellectual Property of the American Branch of the International Law Association. Professor Yu formerly taught at Drake University Law School.

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Lexis Advance® Tax Platform Includes Treatise Library Analyzing Management of Operational and Transactional Tax Risk

Posted by William Byrnes on August 9, 2016


The LexisNexis online tax research platform, Lexis Advance Tax (“L.A. Tax”), available to law school faculty and students, includes a rich, comprehensive package of over 1400 sources, including tax news, primary law, journals, and nearly 300 treatises, practice guides and forms products for federal tax, international tax, estates practice and SALT.

The L.A. Tax platform contains three subpages devoted to federal tax, SALT and U.S. 01701_11_1_coverInternational tax. Advisors will discover a rich selection of Lexis titles examining hot, cutting-edge issues: Practical Guide to U.S. Transfer Pricing; Lexis Guide to FATCA Compliance; Money Laundering Compliance; Taxation of Intellectual Property and Technology; Taxation of Oil & Gas Transactions; and Foreign Tax & Trade Briefs, which provides summaries of the tax laws and systems of over 120 countries.

Eight treatises are authored or co-authored by Professor William H. Byrnes (Texas A&M University Law School’s Risk Management concentration) who leads teams of contributing subject experts in analyzing the management of operational and transactional risk confronting tax officers and their advisors, and providing compliance and planning insights. For 2016, Texas A&M University is ranked 4th best public university by Money magazine. See https://law.tamu.edu/

The L.A. Tax package also includes all products from Tax Analysts, Inc., the VA-based tax news organization that publishes such dailies as Tax Notes Today, State Tax Today and Worldwide Tax Daily – all three considered “must reads” by serious tax advisors. Tax Analysts also publishes three companion weekly journals tied to the dailies.
Looking for Lexis Advance Tax?: Sign in at www.lexisadvance.com and look for the scroll-down menu called “Lexis Advance Research” in the upper left-hand corner. Click on the down arrow and select Lexis Advance Tax.

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Vote for Financial Law Prof Blog for ABA Blogger’s Top 100!

Posted by William Byrnes on August 2, 2016


The ABA is collecting votes this week for its annual list of the 100 best legal blogs, and you can vote!

Vote for the Financial Law Prof blog for top ABA 100 list here: http://www.abajournal.com/blawgs/blawg100_submit/

Use the link above or below to submit to the ABA about Financial Law Prof blog.  If there is more than one blog you want to support, feel freeAbajournal_weblogo_2015 to send the ABA several submissions. The ABA may include some of the best comments in the Blawg 100 coverage for 2016. Friend-of-the-blawg submissions are due no later than 11:59 p.m. CT on Aug. 7, 2016.

Vote for the Financial Law Prof blog for top ABA 100 list here: http://www.abajournal.com/blawgs/blawg100_submit/
 
link to Financial Law Prof blog: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/intfinlaw/

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Texas A&M Law Faculty Recruitment for 2017-2018

Posted by William Byrnes on August 1, 2016


TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW seeks to expand its academic program and its strong commitment to scholarship by hiring multiple exceptional faculty candidates for TAMU-Law-lockup-stack-SQUARE (1)contract, tenure-track, or tenured positions, with rank dependent on qualifications and experience.

Preference will be given to those with demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievement and strong classroom teaching skills.  Successful candidates will be expected to teach and engage in research and service.  While the law school welcomes applications in all subject areas, it particularly invites applications from:

  • Candidates who are interested in expanding and building on our innovative Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic (with concentrations in both trademarks and patents), or in one of our other acclaimed clinical areas, including Family Law and Benefits Clinic, Employment Mediation Clinic, Wills & Estates Clinic, Innocence Clinic, and Immigration Law Clinic; and
  • Candidates with an oil and gas law and/or energy law background, either domestic U.S. or international, who are interested in interdisciplinary research, teaching, and programmatic activities.

While the law school is primarily interested in entry-level candidates for the above positions, more experienced candidates may be considered to the extent that their qualifications respond to the law school’s needs and interests.

In addition, the law school welcomes lateral and highly experienced professionals for the following positions:

  • Candidates with experience in IP licensing and technology transfers, with relevant academic and/or professional science background, and who are interested in working and building synergies with the Texas A&M University’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Candidates in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution with a national or international reputation and stellar credentials in scholarship, teaching, and service, and with an interest in building our nationally ranked dispute resolution program;
  • Candidates in any field with a national or international reputation and stellar credentials in scholarship, teaching, and service;

Texas A&M University is a tier one research institution and American Association of Universities member.  The university consists of 16 colleges and schools that collectively rank among the top 20 higher education institutions nationwide in terms of research and development expenditures.

Over the past two years, Texas A&M University  has embarked on a program of investment for its School of Law that increased its entering class credentials and financial aid budgets, while shrinking the class size; attracted 19 new faculty members, including 12 prominent lateral hires; and substantially increased its career services, admissions, and student services staff.   The School of Law has also hired a senior U.S. Treasury expert.  The Texas A&M Law faculty is highly published,  already ranking #41 for article downloads among the top published 350 US and foreign  law faculties (SSRN 2016).

Texas A&M School of Law is located in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the country.  The Fort Worth/Dallas area, with a total population in excess of six million people, offers a low cost of living, a strong economy, and access to world-class museums, restaurants, entertainment, and outdoor activities.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Texas A&M welcomes applications from a broad spectrum of qualified individuals who will enhance the rich diversity of the university’s academic community. Applicants should email a résumé and cover letter indicating research and teaching interests to Professor Gabriel Eckstein, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at appointments@law.tamu.edu.  Alternatively, résumés can be mailed to Professor Eckstein at Texas A&M University School of Law, 1515 Commerce Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102-6509.

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Texas A&M Soars to #4 for Public University Rankings

Posted by William Byrnes on July 25, 2016


The 2016 rankings have been released and Texas A&M University has soared to rank #4 money-logoamong all public universities in Money magazine’s new “Best Colleges For Your Money” report.

The top five ranked public universties in the USA are:

#1 University of Michigan

#2 University of California, Berkeley

# 3 University of Virginia

#4 Texas A&M University

#5 University of California, San Diego

Moreover, Money reported that Texas A&M University ranked #3 for number of Fortune 500 CEOs.  #1 Harvard, #2 Cornell and #3 Texas A&M University.

For this year’s “Best Colleges For Your Money” list, Money ranked 705 schools on 24 factors. Rating factors included graduation rates, alumni success, how much recent graduates earn, cost of education, and it began to incorporate data from the federal government’s College Scorecard.

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Framework for Transfer Pricing Analysis Under Treasury Regulation Section 1.482 and the OECD Guidelines

Posted by William Byrnes on July 12, 2016


This chapter from Practical Guide to U.S. Transfer Pricing, available from SSRN here,  compares the U.S. Section 482 transfer pricing regulations to the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations as revised in 2010.

Section 482’s purpose is to ensure that taxpayers subject to U.S. taxation “clearly reflect income” related to transactions with other organizations that are under common ownership or control with the taxpayer, and “to prevent the avoidance of taxes with respect to such transactions.” The desired result is “tax parity” between the “controlled taxpayer” and an “uncontrolled taxpayer,” and, thereby, to determine the “true taxable income” of the controlled taxpayer. Similarly, the 2010 Guidelines state that the arm’s length standard which flows from recognizing the separate entity status of related entities in different jurisdictions has the dual objective of securing an appropriate tax base in each jurisdiction and avoiding double taxation.

Since many U.S. trading partners follow the OECD Guidelines (and to a certain extent the Book CoverUnited States also does) similarities and differences between the OECD Guidelines and the U.S. regulations are important.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 93

Framework for Transfer Pricing Analysis Under Treasury Regulation Section 1.482 and the OECD Guidelines (July 5, 2016). William Byrnes & Robert Cole (deceased), Practical Guide to U.S. Transfer Pricing § 2.01 – § 2.19 (Matthew Bender, Third Edition). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2805279

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Texas A&M Law Partners With BarBri, Reduces Tuition by 15% and Increases Scholarships by 65%

Posted by William Byrnes on July 11, 2016


Texas A&M University School of Law is pleased to announce a partnership with the BARBRI Group that provides all1ee6c-6a00d8341bfae553ef01b7c80b4769970b-320wi incoming first-year Aggie law students the post-graduation BARBRI Bar Review course, as well as BARBRI law school materials, bar prep apps and programs while in law school.  This partnership announcement comes on the heels of Texas A&M University announcing a 15.39% reduction in the public law school’s tuition, that a student’s tuition rate will remain locked-in for the three-year education,  and that the university has increased the scholarship awards budget by 65% to attract the brightest candidates.

At Texas A&M Law, our commitment to student success starts with building a strong foundation of knowledge from the beginning of the law school experience. While law school is of course about much more than just passing the bar exam, to become the exceptional Aggie lawyers we prepare our students to be, they must first pass the bar exam.

Please watch the announcement below with Professor James McGrath, director of Academic Support and Bar Services, and Mike Sims ’87, president and CEO of BARBRI, to learn more:

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headlines from Financial Law Prof Blog – July 8

Posted by William Byrnes on July 8, 2016


Will UK Be Branded a Tax Haven by OECD and EU To Punish It for Brexit

INtelligence wheel all agencies

Financial Law Prof Blog

Turkey to grant tax-free amnesty for Turkish residents’ assets abroad

Canada Updates Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act, 2016

Taxpayer Advocate Mid-Year Report to Congress: IRS Implementation and Enforcement of FATCA Withholding Is Burdensome, Error-Ridden, and Fails to Protect the Taxpayers’ Rights

OECD releases revised guidance on profit splits

OECD Release of BEPS discussion draft on attribution of profits to permanent establishments

Protecting Older Americans from Financial Exploitation

Film fraudsters jailed for 27 years in £100 million tax avoidance scam

The Economic Impact of U.S. Innovation

Outcomes of the Plenary meeting of the FATF 22–24 June 2016

Chinese National Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Smuggling High Tech U.S. Military Hardware to China

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Distance Learning and Its Implications for Legal Education

Posted by William Byrnes on June 29, 2016


Fulbright Specialist Prof. William Byrnes (Texas A&M Law) was invited to address India’s National Board of Accreditation and receive an award for his pioneering efforts with online pedagogical methods in the early nineties.

His remarks address developing learning outcomes and effective pedagogical practices with an emphasis on distance learning. The remarks cover the following topics: Review of the Effectiveness of Distance Learning, Developing Learning Outcomes, Occupational Outcomes Framing Learning Outcomes, Information Acquisition, Information Delivery, Learning Communities, Learning Media, Learner Motivation, Knowledge Acquisition and Learning Tools.  See the distance education white paper at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2487679

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Analysis of the 2016 Final W-8BEN-E and its Accompanying Instructions

Posted by William Byrnes on June 16, 2016


IRS Releases Revised 2016 W-8BEN-E and Accompanying Instructions

William Byrnes and Haydon Perryman

This month we turn our attention to the recently revised 2016 W-8BEN-E form which has book cover30 parts over eight pages that can be catalogued into four sections. The IRS released its previous substantial update of the W-8BEN-E in February 2014 and in April 2016 its most recent revisionary updated form with accompanying updated instructions.  The 2016 revision more represents a technical correction release for the evolution of FATCA and its IGAs since 2014 than substantive changes.   The 2014 W-8 series update, on the other hand, was a major departure from the previous series, exemplified by the former W-8BEN in use since 2006 had just four parts.   The 2014 Forms may continue to be used by institutions until October 2016 when it becomes mandatory to switch to the new 2016 W-8BEN-E.  For a detailed FATCA evolution from pre-2010 through 2016, download my 118 page article.

Most Important Updates

This new 2016 W-8BEN-E includes three primary amendments.

Inclusion of Limitation of Benefits Categories

Firstly, the new W-8BEN-E contains 10 new potential items for selection to comply with a “Limitation of Benefits” (LOB) article of a double tax agreement to receive the advantages of the agreements reduced withholding provision. These new LOB boxes reside within Part III – Claim of Tax Treaty Benefits, Line 14.  The items include the nine main tests that can be met to satisfy an LOB provision, and then includes a tenth “Other” catch-all category that requires the filer cite to the treaty article and paragraph number test not covered within the nine categories.

Moreover, line 15 requires further explanation be provided of how additional conditions are met to qualify for any further exceptional reduction of withholding.  Line 15 must be used only if claiming treaty benefits that require that meeting conditions not already covered by the representations of line 14 (or other certifications on the form).

This line is generally not applicable to claiming treaty benefits under an interest or dividends (other than dividends subject to a preferential rate based on ownership) article of a treaty or other income article, unless such article requires additional representations. For example, certain treaties allow for a zero rate on dividends for certain qualified residents provided that additional requirements are met, such as ownership percentage, ownership period, and that the resident meet a combination of tests under an applicable LOB article.

New FATCA Category for Non-Financial Accounts

Secondly, a new checkbox has been added to the chapter 4 statuses in line 5 for payments made to payees for accounts they hold that are not financial accounts under the FATCA regulations [section 1.1471-5(b)(2)]. See Chapter 7A of the Guide to FATCA Compliance for a detailed analysis of this topic.

Coordination with IGAs

Finally, the new W-8BEN-E instructions are amended to coordinate qualification for the status of a nonreporting FFI under the IGA with a deemed-compliant FFI status under the chapter 4 regulations. An FFI that meets the requirements of both a nonreporting IGA FFI under the IGA and under the regulations should certify as a nonreporting IGA FFI, unless such entity meets the requirements for owner-documented FFI status for payments associated with this form, in which case it should certify to that status under the regulations only by completing Part X of the form.

The W-8BEN-E Structure

The filer’s primary focus will be on Part I.

Identifying Information and Choice of Classification part: All filers of the W-8BEN-E must complete Parts I (Identifying Information and FATCA Classification). Part I of the W-8BEN-E requires general information, the QI status, and the FATCA classification of the filer. Question 4 of Part I requests the QI status. If the filer is a disregarded entity, partnership, simple trust, or grantor trust, and also is claiming benefits under a U.S. tax treaty, then the filer must complete Part III. Part I, Question 5 requests the FATCA classification of the filer, of which the form list 31 choices. The classification indicated determines which one of the parts IV through XXVIII must be completed.

General Certification part: All filers must complete Part XXX (General Certification). Part XXX requires certification, under penalty of perjury, by the payee or a person authorized to sign on the payee’s behalf. This part of the final form also requires the signatory agree that she will submit a new form within 30 days if any certification made on this form becomes incorrect.

The signatory is certifying, subject to perjury:

The entity identified on line 1 of this form is the beneficial owner of all the income to which this form relates, is using this form to certify its status for chapter 4 purposes, … 

  • The entity identified on line 1 of this form is not a U.S. person, 
  • The income to which this form relates is: (a) not effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States, (b) effectively connected but is not subject to tax under an income tax treaty, or (c) the partner’s share of a partnership’s effectively connected income, and 
  • For broker transactions or barter exchanges, the beneficial owner is an exempt foreign person as defined in the instructions.

Moreover, Line XXIX for identification of substantial U.S. owners is subject to the same perjury statement and other certifications made in Part XXX.

Specific Certification of FATCA Classification part: Completion of the other parts of the form W-8BEN-E will depend upon the Part I, Question 5 FATCA classification of the filer.

Substantial U.S. Owner part: The information required to answer this line may be attached to the form in a separate statement, which remains subject to the same perjury statement and other certifications made in part XXX.  A filer that is a passive NFFE and thus completes part XXVI must also complete as well as part XXIX if it has substantial U.S. owners.

For a Passive NFFE, a specified U.S. person is a substantial U.S. owner if the person has more than a 10 percent beneficial interest in the entity.  But if an applicable IGA instead employs the standard of “controlling U.S. persons”, then the filer must look to the definition of a controlling person within the IGA of the jurisdiction of the financial institution to which the W-8BEN-E is provided.

Who Must Provide the W-8BEN-E?

A foreign entity must submit a Form W-8BEN-E to the withholding agent if it will receive a FATCA withholdable payment, receive a payment subject to chapter 3 withholding, or if it maintains an account with an FFI.

Disregarded Entity

A disregarded entity with a U.S. owner or a disregarded entity with a foreign owner that is not otherwise able to fill out Part II (i.e., because it is in the same country as its single owner and does not have a GIIN) may provide this form to an FFI solely for purposes of documenting itself for chapter 4 purposes. In such a case, the disregarded entity should complete Part I as if it were a beneficial owner and should not complete line 3.

Beneficial Owners

Form W-8 BEN-E must be provided by each of the entities that are beneficial owners of a payment, or of another entity that is a beneficial owner. If the income or account is jointly owned by more than one person, then the income or account will be treated by the withholding agent as owned by a foreign beneficial owner only if Forms W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E are provided by each owner of the account.

Treatment as a U.S. Account

If the withholding agent or financial institution receives a Form W-9 from any of the joint owners, then the payment must be treated as made to a U.S. person and the account treated as a U.S. account. An account will be treated as a U.S. account for FATCA by an FFI if any of the account holders is a specified U.S. person or a U.S.-owned foreign entity, unless the account is otherwise excepted from U.S. account status for FATCA purposes.

Expiration of Form W-8 BEN-E

Generally, a Form W-8BEN-E will remain valid for purposes of both chapters 3 and 4 for a period starting on the date the form is signed and ending on the last day of the third succeeding calendar year, unless a change in circumstances makes any information on the form incorrect. For example, a Form W-8BEN signed on September 30, 2014 remains valid through December 31, 2017. However, under certain conditions, a Form W-8BEN-E will remain in effect indefinitely until a change of circumstances occurs.

Change in Circumstances

If a change in circumstances makes any information on the Form W-8 BEN-E incorrect for purposes of either chapter 3 or chapter 4, then the submitting person must notify the withholding agent or financial institution maintaining the account within 30 days of the change in circumstances and must file a new Form W-8 BEN-E (or other appropriate form as applicable).

The new 2016 instructions point out that if the submitter has relied upon an IGA to respond to the form, and the country is thereafter removed from the U.S. Treasury list of current IGAs, then from the date of removal a ‘change of circumstances’ has occurred.  The W-8BEN-E will no longer be ‘fit for purpose’ after the expiration of the change of circumstance time frame. 

Which of the 30 Parts of the W-8BEN-E to Complete?

The 2014 and 2016 W-8BEN-E form has thirty parts presented over eight pages, whereas the former 2006 dual-purpose W8BEN had just four parts.  The 2016 Form W-8BEN-E, and did the 2014 version, includes both the QI (U.S. IRC Title III) and the FATCA (U.S. IRC Title IV) entity classification reporting requirements.

All filers of the W-8BEN-E must complete Parts I and XXX. The FATCA classification indicated determines which one of the Parts IV through XXVIII must be completed, and whether substantial U.S. owners must be identified under part XXIX. 

Part I – Identification of Beneficial Owner

Part I of the W-8BEN-E requires general information, the QI status, and the FATCA classification of the filer. 

Line 1. A disregarded entity or branch enters the legal name of the entity that owns the disregarded entity (looking through multiple disregarded entities if applicable) or maintains the branch. 

Line 2. A corporation must enter its country of incorporation.  Any other type of entity must instead enter the country under whose laws it is created, organized, or governed. 

Line 3. A disregarded entity receiving a payment should only enter its name on line 3 if it is receiving a withholdable payment or hold an account with an FFI and

  1. has registered with the IRS and been assigned a GIIN associated with the legal name of the disregarded entity;
  2. is a reporting Model 1 FFI or reporting Model 2 FFI; and
  3. is not a hybrid entity using this form to claim treaty benefits.

If not required to provide the legal name, then a disregarded entity receiving a payment or maintaining an account may instead enter its name on line 3.

Line 4 firstly requests the Chapter 3 status of the recipient for purposes of U.S. withholding on U.S. source income.  Question 4 formerly presented 11 entity types from which the filer may select one. The 2016 W-8BEN-E includes a new entity type, the “International Organization” and thus 12 choices.

Secondly, if the filer is a disregarded entity, partnership, simple trust, or grantor trust, then the filer must tick in the affirmative and complete Part III if the entity is claiming benefits under a U.S. tax treaty.

Line 5 requests the FATCA classification of the entity.  The W-8BEN-E currently lists 32 FATCA classifications of which the entity should check only one box, whereas the previous list contained 31 classification choices.  The previous 2014 instructions also stated that only one box should be chosen but with a caveat “unless otherwise indicated”.  The 2016 W-8BEN-E instructions have been updated to state: “Check the one box that applies to your chapter 4 status.”

Several of the 32 classifications have had internal language updates to better align with the regulations or deadlines that have passed since 2014.  By example, the classification choice of “Sponsored FFI” no longer has the reference “that has not obtained GIIN”.  These modifications will be analyzed in depth in the Guide to FATCA Compliance.

Account That is Not a Financial Account

However, noteworthy is the newly added thirty-second classification because it is causing some confusion among compliance officers.  It reads “Account That is Not a Financial Account”.  The line 5 instruction states that if the filer is merely providing this form to document an account held with a financial institution that is not a financial account under Regulations section 1.1471-5(b)(2), then check the “Account that is not a financial account” box on line 5.

Why is this category necessary?  Because the regulations limit the scope of what types of financial institution accounts are included for the FATCA definition of financial account.  By example, the regulations exclude certain escrow accounts established for commercial transactions from treatment as financial accounts. The regulations also exclude negotiable debt instruments that are traded on a regulated market or over-the-counter market and distributed through financial institutions.  The regulations limit the scope of a depository account to an account for the placing of money (as opposed to the holding of property) in the custody of an entity engaged in a banking or similar business.

The regulations also exclude certain accounts of insurance companies.  By example, the regulations provide that a depository account includes an amount that an insurance company holds under a guaranteed investment contract or under a similar agreement to pay or credit interest thereon. The regulations also provide that a depository account does not include an advance premium or premium deposit received by an insurance company, provided the prepayment or deposit relates to an insurance contract for which the premium is payable annually and the amount of the prepayment or deposit does not exceed the annual premium for the contract. Such amounts are also excluded from cash value for purposes of determining whether a contract is a cash value insurance contract.

Comments On Completion of Part I, Line 5

Where one of the following FATCA classifications is selected, then the entity’s GIIN must be obtained (in Part 1 Line 9a) and verified against the IRS GIIN list. An incomplete or truncated TIN or GIIN may not be relied upon. It is acceptable for a limited time period that instead of providing a GIIN in Part 1 Line 9a to state “Applied for.”  However, the W8-BEN-E becomes invalid if the GIIN is not provided and verified against the IRS GIIN list within 90 days.

(a) Participating FFI;

(b) Reporting Model 1 FFI;

(c) Reporting Model 2 FFI;

(d) Registered deemed-compliant FFI (other than a reporting Model 1 FFI or sponsored FFI that has not obtained a GIIN);

(e) Nonreporting IGA FFI (including an FFI treated as a registered deemed-compliant FFI under an applicable Model 2 IGA);

(f) Direct reporting NFFE; or

(g) Sponsored direct reporting NFFE;

If the country entered in Part 1 Line 2 is an IGA country then the option of “Nonparticipating FFI (including a limited FFI or an FFI related to a Reporting IGA FFI other than a registered deemed-compliant FFI or participating FFI)” is not acceptable.

If the organization is a Financial Institution in the United States maintaining its customer’s account in the U.S., then it should collect its customer’s Foreign TIN in Part 1, Line 9b. In that scenario, the lack of a Foreign TIN makes the W8-BEN-E invalid.
It is the W8-BEN-E that will identify most of the Passive NFFEs. The identification of Passive NFFE is a key concept which runs consistently not only through the U.S. Treasury version of FATCA, but also the IGAs, the latest FINCEN proposal (RIN 1506-AB25 issued July 30, 2014) and the CRS.

Passive NFFEs identify themselves as such in Part 1 Line 5 of the W-8 BEN-E. Where an entity declares itself a Passive NFFE in Part 1 Line 5 of the W-8 BEN-E, it has to complete part XXVI. Passive NFFEs are unique in that they have to declare either their U.S. beneficial owners or controlling persons on the W-8 BEN-E for the declaration to be valid. For the avoidance of doubt, the 2016 W-8BEN-E specifically includes mention of the possibility of a applicable IGA: “If providing the form to an FFI treated as a reporting Model 1 FFI or reporting Model 2 FFI, an NFFE may also use this Part for reporting its controlling U.S. persons under an applicable IGA”.

In most IGA Model 1 countries the concept of beneficial ownership is replaced by the pre-existing KYC/AML in that particular jurisdiction. In general, the concept of beneficial ownership is replaced in IGA Model 1 countries by the concept of “controlling persons” who own or control 25 percent of the entity. More accurately, in an IGA Model 1 country the U.S. beneficial ownership concept is replaced by whatever the rules are under that jurisdiction’s KYC/AML. Generally, but not always, this will be the controlling persons of at least 25 percent.

Moreover, the CRS looks to the controlling person. The latest FinCEN proposal that establishes regulations for U.S. financial institutions to apply FATCA in the U.S. includes both the “controlling person” and the “beneficial owner” concepts (see my Kluwer International Tax article of May 9, 2016: The Brave New World of AML and Tax Compliance Overlap for Tax Status Certification for FATCA, CRS and the EU. Why are so many compliance officers getting it wrong?).

32 categories to choose one from

  1. Nonparticipating FFI (including a limited FFI or an FFI related to a Reporting IGA FFI other than a deemed-compliant FFI, participating FFI, or exempt beneficial owner).
  2. Participating FFI.
  3. Reporting Model 1 FFI.
  4. Reporting Model 2 FFI.
  5. Registered deemed-compliant FFI (other than a reporting Model 1 FFI, sponsored FFI, or nonreporting IGA FFI covered in Part XII). See instructions.
  6. Sponsored FFI. Complete Part IV.
  7. Certified deemed-compliant nonregistering local bank. Complete Part V.
  8. Certified deemed-compliant FFI with only low-value accounts. Complete Part VI.
  9. Certified deemed-compliant sponsored, closely held investment vehicle. Complete Part VII.
  10. Certified deemed-compliant limited life debt investment entity. Complete Part VIII.
  11. Certified deemed-compliant investment advisors and investment managers. Complete Part IX.
  12. Owner-documented FFI. Complete Part X.
  13. Restricted distributor. Complete Part XI.
  14. Nonreporting IGA FFI. Complete Part XII.
  15. Foreign government, government of a U.S. possession, or foreign central bank of issue. Complete Part XIII.
  16. International organization. Complete Part XIV.
  17. Exempt retirement plans. Complete Part XV.
  18. Entity wholly owned by exempt beneficial owners. Complete Part XVI.
  19. Territory financial institution. Complete Part XVII.
  20. Nonfinancial group entity. Complete Part XVIII.
  21. Excepted nonfinancial start-up company. Complete Part XIX.
  22. Excepted nonfinancial entity in liquidation or bankruptcy. Complete Part XX.
  23. 501(c) organization. Complete Part XXI.
  24. Nonprofit organization. Complete Part XXII.
  25. Publicly traded NFFE or NFFE affiliate of a publicly traded corporation. Complete Part XXIII.
  26. Excepted territory NFFE. Complete Part XXIV.
  27. Active NFFE. Complete Part XXV.
  28. Passive NFFE. Complete Part XXVI.
  29. Excepted inter-affiliate FFI. Complete Part XXVII.
  30. Direct reporting NFFE.
  31. Sponsored direct reporting NFFE. Complete Part XXVIII.
  32. Account that is not a financial account.

FFIs Covered by an IGA and Related Entities

A reporting IGA FFI resident in, or established under the laws of, a jurisdiction covered by a Model 1 IGA should check “Reporting Model 1 FFI.” A reporting FFI resident in, or established under the laws of, a jurisdiction covered by a Model 2 IGA should check “Reporting Model 2 FFI.”

If the FFI is treated as a registered deemed-compliant FFI under an applicable IGA, it should check “Nonreporting IGA FFI” rather than “registered deemed-compliant FFI” and provide its GIIN in Part XII, line 26.

An FFI that is related to a reporting IGA FFI and that is treated as a nonparticipating FFI in its country of residence should check the box for nonparticipating FFI in line 5. An FFI that is related to a reporting IGA FFI and that is a participating FFI, deemed-compliant FFI, or exempt beneficial owner under the U.S. Treasury regulations or an applicable IGA should check the appropriate box for its chapter 4 status. 

Requirement to Provide a GIIN

If the entity is in the process of registering with the IRS as a participating FFI, registered deemed-compliant FFI, reporting Model 1 FFI, reporting Model 2 FFI, direct reporting NFFE, or sponsored direct reporting NFFE, but has not received a GIIN, it may complete this line by writing “applied for.” However, the person requesting this form must receive and verify the GIIN within 90 days.

For payments made prior to January 1, 2015, a Form W-8BEN-E provided by a reporting Model 1 FFI need not contain a GIIN. For payments made prior to January 1, 2016, a sponsored direct reporting NFFE or sponsored FFI that has not obtained a GIIN must provide the GIIN of its sponsoring entity in line 16. 

501(c) Organization

Only foreign entities that are tax-exempt under section 501 should check the 501(c) organization “Tax-exempt organization” box. Such organizations should use Form W-8BEN-E only if they are claiming a reduced rate of withholding under an income tax treaty or a code exception other than section 501. If claiming an exemption from withholding under code section 501, then it must submit Form W-8EXP to document the exemption and chapter 4 status. 

Non-Profit Organizations Covered by an IGA

A non-profit entity that is established and maintained in a jurisdiction that is treated as having in effect a Model 1 IGA or Model 2 IGA, and that meets the definition of Active NFFE under Annex I of the applicable IGA, should not check a box for its status on line 5. 

Completion of Parts IV through XXVIII

An entity should complete only one part of Parts IV through XXVIII certifying to the chapter 4 status. But an entity that selects nonparticipating FFI, participating FFI, registered deemed-compliant FFI, reporting Model 1 FFI, reporting Model 2 FFI, or direct reporting NFFE (other than a sponsored direct reporting NFFE) is not required to complete any of the certifications in Parts IV through XXVIII.

Part IV Sponsored FFI
Part V Certified Deemed-Compliant Nonregistering Local Bank
Part VI Certified Deemed-Compliant FFI with Only Low-Value Accounts
Part VII Certified Deemed-Compliant Sponsored, Closely Held Investment Vehicle
Part VIII Certified Deemed-Compliant Limited Life Debt Investment Entity
Part IX Certified Deemed-Compliant Investment Advisors and Investment Managers
Part X Owner-Documented FFI
Part XI Restricted Distributor
Part XII Nonreporting IGA FFI
Part XIII Foreign Government, Government of a U.S. Possession, or Foreign Central Bank of Issue
Part XIV International Organization
Part XV Exempt Retirement Plans
Part XVI Entity Wholly Owned by Exempt Beneficial Owners
Part XVII Territory Financial Institution
Part XVIII Excepted Nonfinancial Group Entity
Part XIX Excepted Nonfinancial Start-Up Company
Part XX Excepted Nonfinancial Entity in Liquidation or Bankruptcy
Part XXI 501(c) Organization
Part XXII Non-Profit Organization
Part XXIII Publicly Traded NFFE or NFFE Affiliate of a Publicly Traded Corporation
Part XXIV Excepted Territory NFFE
Part XXV Active NFFE
Part XXVI Passive NFFE
Part XXVII Excepted Inter-Affiliate FFI
Part XXVIII Sponsored Direct Reporting NFFE
Part XXIX Substantial U.S. Owners of Passive NFFE
Part XXX Certification 

Part X – Owner-Documented FFI 

Line 24a. An owner-documented FFI must check the box to certify that it meets all of the requirements for this status and is providing this form to a U.S. financial institution, participating FFI, reporting Model 1 FFI, or reporting Model 2 FFI that agrees to act as a designated withholding agent with respect to the FFI identified on line 1. Then select either 24b or 24c. 

Line 24b. Check this box to certify that the documentation set forth in the certifications has been provided (or will be provided), including the owner reporting statement described in this line 24b, or 

Line 24c. Check this box to certify that the auditor’s letter has been provided (or will be provided).

Entities Providing Certifications Under an Applicable IGA

In lieu of the certifications contained in Parts IV through XXVIII of Form W-8BEN-E, a reporting Model 1 FFI or reporting Model 2 FFI in certain cases may request alternate certifications to document its account holders pursuant to an applicable IGA or it may otherwise provide an alternate certification to a withholding agent.

A withholding agent that is an FFI may provide a chapter 4 status certification other than as shown in Parts IX through XXVIII in order to satisfy its due diligence requirements under an applicable IGA. In such a case, attach that alternative certification to this Form W-8BEN-E in lieu of completing a certification otherwise required in Parts IV through XXVIII provided that:

1) the certification accurately reflects the chapter 4 status or under an applicable IGA; and

2) the withholding agent provides a written statement that it has provided the certification to meet its due diligence requirements as a participating FFI or registered deemed-compliant FFI under an applicable IGA.

An applicable IGA certification may be provided with the W-8BEN-E if determining chapter 4 status under the definitions provided in an applicable IGA and that certification identifies the jurisdiction that is treated as having an IGA in effect and describes the status as an NFFE or FFI in accordance with the applicable IGA.

However, if under an applicable IGA the entity’s status is determined to be an NFFE, it must still determine if it is an excepted NFFE under the FATCA Regulations. Additionally, the entity must comply with the conditions of its status under the law of the IGA jurisdiction.

For more indepth analysis than we can provide within this month’s article, along with 50 contributors, we analyzed the FATCA and the CRS compliance challenges.  Besides in-depth, practical analysis, we include examples, charts, time lines, links to source documents, and compliance protocols pursuant to IGAs and local regulations.  download my 118 page introductory analysis here

Posted in FATCA, W-8BEN-E | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Does the tax curriculum still make the grade?

Posted by William Byrnes on June 14, 2016


Universities must transform their tax curriculum and training to equip students with the skills needed for the job market of today and tomorrow.

By Giselle Weiss

At an EY event held last year in Zurich on the future of tax, one executive remarked that just 15 years ago the tax function was “a group of technical experts who knew the law.”

But the tax profession has evolved in the ensuing years, and universities that educate the pipeline of talent now face the challenge of transforming their tax curriculum and training to equip students with the required skills for the job market of today and tomorrow.

The central function of the tax office has evolved from strategy and planning into risk management, says William Byrnes, professor of law and associate dean at Texas A&M University.

Ey-tax-magazineTexas A&M University is among the pioneers of change in tax education. In 2013, the State of Texas not only established a new law school at the university but also gave it carte blanche to create a new education model.

A risk management approach to tax means that the new model will by definition be multidisciplinary.

Financial and managerial accounting– and law– will still be important, of course.

But students will also need new “hard” skills involving big data and communications technologies and “soft” skills geared to working in multicultural settings both at home and abroad.

Employers expect entry-level employees to arrive with these skills already developed. Says Byrnes, “You don’t want to have people who are living in the ‘Stone Age’ (pre-2015) trying to work in a 2016-onward world.”

read EY’s groundbreaking report

Posted in Education Theory, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Drivers & Impacts of Derisking

Posted by William Byrnes on June 12, 2016


The FCA is interested in the circumstances around banks closing customers’ accounts, or restricting access for new customers, over the last few years. It wishes to know more about FCA UKwhat is driving account closure and how many customers, of which type, are affected. The FCA is also concerned as to whether ‘wholesale’ derisking and financial exclusion from the withdrawal of banking services is occurring, and if due consideration is being given to the merits of individual cases before a decision is made to terminate an existing account or not to grant a new account.

The FCA wishes to understand which impacted customers have faced difficulties, delays and account closures. The FCA believes these to include Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), the FinTech and defence sectors, personal account holders (including minorities and vulnerable groups), and those who are discouraged from using the banking system.

Drivers of Derisking

Many banks told us that they needed to lower their overall risk profile, to realign their businesses and that they are paying closer attention to compliance since the global financial crisis. Further, we heard that derisking is partly a result of the higher costs of compliance and the increased amount of regulatory capital now required, and partly a response to criminal, civil and regulatory actions. These include regulatory settlements, including Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs), especially those reached in response to AML/CFT failings.

There is also no doubt that banks are trying to do what they believe is expected of them under the risk based approach (RBA) to AML/CFT, in reducing the extent to which their services are abused for financial crime purposes, by on occasion exiting relationships that present too high a perceived risk of such abuse, regardless of the costs of compliance. These perceptions of risk stem from their own judgments, in part reflecting the signals emitted (or judged to be emitted) from the range of regulators and prosecutors who are salient to their institutions, and also the global rankings from the commercial agencies involved in risk judgments.

Higher compliance costs may also be reducing incentives for larger banks to maintain many interbank relationships, which previously were seen as providing extra cover or transactional options: a majority of the small and medium-sized banks surveyed reported difficulties, which in some cases have led to them cutting services to customers and to other banks.

We assess that other factors have combined with regulatory actions, higher compliance costs and perceived pressure from correspondent banks, to create a ‘perfect storm’ of changes which have struck banks during this decade. These include much higher capital requirements; higher liquidity thresholds and ultimately a tougher environment in which to achieve profitable relationships.

For the majority of our bank interviewees, this has resulted in a strategic review of business and functions, often in parallel with an over-arching review of compliance risk processes. In turn this has sometimes resulted in slimming down of business, resulting in many exits being driven by the assessment that relationships are ‘non-core’. So we are describing a compound situation in which a range of factors may be involved in many of the exits. Ultimately, banks may feel themselves entitled to do business or notdo business with whomever they like, subject to legal (including regulatory) requirements.

Achieving the perception of legitimacy and fairness of the regulatory system requires consistency and transparency when dealing with each type of customer. Established risk-based approaches to financial crime identify the risk associated with various factors such as sector, occupation, types of business; geography and jurisdiction risk; political risk; distribution channels; and product or services that customer requires or uses. However, by contrast to some other banking risks like consumer credit loss and fraud risks, there is not yet a generally agreed quantitative assessment methodology for assessing financial crime risk and it is difficult to determine to what extent the data are sufficient for this purpose, other than to make a broad subjective assessment.

Banks vary in their ability to ‘score’ particular customers, depending on the bank’s size, resources, geographic coverage and other factors. Decisions on what financial crime residual risks fall within acceptable parameters for a particular bank may be taken through an expression of financial crime risk appetite and/or as an output from customer risk assessment tools, using the broad risk factor categories.

Risk appetite statements often contain broad definitions of acceptable risk, such as ‘minimal tolerance for residual Financial Crime risk’, but we have also found examples where particular sectors are specifically mentioned. If this amounted to a complete prohibition it could be classified as ‘wholesale derisking’, but we have found few examples relating solely to AML/CFT issues. Reputational risk, bribery and corruption concerns and strategic business reasons also factor in to some banks ruling out the banking of certain sectors, for example the defence industry.

Download Drivers-impacts-of-derisking

Money Laundering, Asset Forfeiture and Recovery, and Compliance- A Global Guide (LexisNexis Matthew Bender updated quarterly) is an eBook designed to provide the compliance officer, BSA counsel, and government agent with accurate analyses of the AML/CTF Financial and Legal Intelligence, law and practice in the nations of the world with the most current references and resources.  Special topic chapters will assist the compliance officer design and maintain effective risk management programs.  Over 100 country and topic experts from financial institutions, government agencies, law, audit and risk management firms have contributed analysis to develop this practical compliance guide

Posted in Financial Crimes, Money Laundering | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

EU & US Sign “Umbrella” agreement to protect personal data transferred by law-enforcement authorities for detecting criminal offences, like tax evasion, & terrorism

Posted by William Byrnes on June 9, 2016


The EU-U.S. Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs, hosted by the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union, took place in Amsterdam.  This meeting is EU Commission

Signing of the “Umbrella” agreement represented a major step forward in EU-U.S. relations.  The agreement sets high standards for the protection of personal data transferred by law-enforcement authorities.  It also strengthens legal certainty and enhances the rights of citizens which in turn will facilitate EU-U.S. cooperation to combat crime, including terrorism.  The EU and the U.S. are committed to work together in the implementation of this agreement to ensure that it benefits both citizens and law enforcement cooperation.  The next step will be to seek approval by the European Parliament.

During the ministerial meeting, the delegations focused on ways to address the migration crisis, on their respective visa policies, and on information sharing in the context of security, on counterterrorism policies and terrorist financing, on money laundering, data protection and on practical cooperation to tackle transnational organised crime.  The exchange of views covered issues including the protection of refugees, global resettlement efforts, effective border management and dismantling organised criminal migrant smuggling networks.

The EU and the U.S. first discussed ways to address global migration by developing safe, regular and orderly migration processes whilst ensuring international protection for those who need it.  The discussion focused on opportunities to mutually reinforce and coordinate their actions in this respect while also establishing high security standards.  They agreed that the current migration and refugee challenges require global solutions through increased international cooperation and regional action.  In this respect they reaffirmed their commitment to work together in the lead-up to the upcoming United Nations General Assembly high level meeting addressing large movements of refugees and migrants and to the U.S. hosted Leader-Level Refugee Summit, to be held in September 2016 in New York.

The EU and U.S. exchanged views on visa issues and the respective legal frameworks.  They agreed to maintain their constructive dialogue at all levels to achieve mutually beneficial solutions.

The EU and the U.S. discussed initiatives to improve counterterrorism efforts, including border security, screening of travellers and information sharing, as well as cooperation to better identify terrorist and foreign fighter travel.  They also agreed to reinforce their dialogue on chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear material and on its possible use by terrorist networks.  They discussed legislative initiatives to improve information sharing, and to streamline efforts to combat terrorist financing and money laundering.

They also discussed a five year review of the 2010 EU-U.S. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, a key mechanism for transatlantic criminal justice cooperation.  The EU and the U.S. confirmed that the treaty is working effectively and identified areas for further practical improvement.  The U.S. and the EU committed to implementing those recommendations.  These recommendations include enhancing training and specialisation of practitioners, improving the way joint investigation teams work together, using technology to avoid delays, and making it easier to track criminal proceeds by identifying bank accounts.  Facilitating access to electronic evidence is a particular concern of the review, and the participants committed to improving their practices through which they obtain such evidence.

Following up to the commitment made at the EU–U.S. Summit in March 2014, the EU and the U.S. reiterated their desire to tackle jointly the issue of transnational child sex offenders, acknowledging the operational conclusions of an EU–U.S. expert meeting held in September 2015.  The EU and the U.S. recognized the importance of improving operational cooperation to protect children from transnational sex offenders.

Concluding the discussions, Europol and the U.S. jointly presented the results of a successful EU–U.S. operation that brought together law enforcement authorities from across Europe and the US to dismantle an important drug trafficking network and seize the proceeds of their crimes.

The EU and the U.S. committed to continuing their regular dialogue and to hold another ministerial meeting in the second half of 2016.

Posted in Financial Crimes, information exchange | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

More than 1,700 entities disclosed on the Panama Papers leak have also registered with the IRS that they comply with FATCA

Posted by William Byrnes on May 10, 2016


FATCA, IGAs, AEI/CRS, DAC, CDOT & 871(m)

Following yesterday’s Panama Papers Leak it can be seen that at least 1,700 legal entities on that list are also on the IRS list that “includes all foreign financial institutions and branches with approved FATCA registration at the time the list is compiled”.

This is how it breaks down by jurisdiction:

Jurisdiction Number
ANGUILLA 15
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA 3
ARGENTINA 1
AUSTRALIA 14
AUSTRIA 1
BAHAMAS 34
BARBADOS 4
BELIZE 7
BERMUDA 34
BRAZIL 3
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM 2
BULGARIA 1
CANADA 12
CAYMAN ISLANDS 143
CHILE 1
CHINA 1
COLOMBIA 2
COOK ISLANDS 13
COSTA RICA 1
CURACAO 4
CYPRUS 31
FINLAND 1
France 5
GERMANY 6
GIBRALTAR 108
GUERNSEY 145
HONG KONG 63
INDIA 1
IRELAND 8
ISLE OF MAN 63
ISRAEL 2
JAMAICA 1
JAPAN 1
JERSEY 138
LEBANON 2
LIBERIA 7
LIECHTENSTEIN 41
LUXEMBOURG 29
MACAO 1
MALAYSIA 5
MALTA 16
MARSHALL ISLANDS 1
MAURITIUS 48
MONACO

View original post 117 more words

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Panama Papers Leading to 30 Country Interlinked Beneficial Ownership Registry for Company and Trusts

Posted by William Byrnes on April 25, 2016


Over 20 countries have joined the UK-led pilot to automatically share ownership information for companies. As such their tax and law enforcement agencies will now exchange data on company beneficial ownership registers and new registers of trusts enabling more effective investigation of financial wrongdoing and tax-dodging.  [See free SSRN download of Lexisnexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance 2016]

Statement by: UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Finland, Croatia, Belgium, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Slovenia, Denmark, Malta, Cyprus, EU CommissionGibraltar, Isle of Man, Montserrat, Bulgaria, Estonia, Portugal, Greece, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Austria and Hungary

As recent events have shown we need to take firm collective action on increasing beneficial ownership transparency, building on our actions to date. Criminals continue to find ways to exploit the cracks in the current system, setting up complex structures in various and often multiple locations to hide their activities, be it money laundering, tax evasion or illicit finance. As with tax evasion, this requires a global response.

On beneficial ownership, it is essential to apply enhanced standards of transparency at European and international level. In this spirit, we have committed to establishing as soon as possible registers or other mechanisms requiring that beneficial owners of companies, trusts, foundations, shell companies and other relevant entities and arrangements are identified and available for tax administration and law enforcement authorities. We call on all other Member States, countries and jurisdictions to do so.

We also commit to the new pilot initiative for automatic exchange of information on beneficial ownership launched by the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.  This will give our tax and other relevant authorities full knowledge on vast amounts of information and help them track the complex offshore trails used by criminals. The intention is that this will mirror the ground-breaking steps we have taken on tax evasion under the CRS. In this regard we also call on all jurisdictions to implement the CRS to the agreed timetable and for those not yet committed to do so rapidly.

Automatic exchange of beneficial ownership information will, as with the CRS, be subject to the usual data and confidentiality protections and to any appropriate exceptions. We will look to ensure that this information is in a fully searchable format and that it also contains information on entities and arrangements closed during the relevant year. To be effective this should be a global system and we call for the rapid establishment of a global standard.

We also call for the development of a system of interlinked registries containing full beneficial ownership information and for common international standards for these registries and their interlinking. We intend to start this project as soon as is practicable. In our view, this new initiative will take a significant step forward in improving the transparency of beneficial ownership information and in removing the veil of secrecy under which criminals operate.

[See free SSRN download of Lexisnexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance 2016]

Posted in FATCA, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

Posted by William Byrnes on April 11, 2016


See Paul Caron’s TaxProf Blog for the top 5 downloaded tax papers

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/04/the-top-5.html

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Panama Papers Leak: Mossack Fonseca’s 14,000 client files expose 214,000 offshore companies assets & owners, politicians, FIFA officials, and hidden wealth

Posted by William Byrnes on April 4, 2016


A leak of searchable 11.5 million files, that’s 2.6 terabytes of data, from the embattled offshore services provider Mossack Journalists logoFonseca.  2.6 terabytes of data, 11.5 million files, is a lot of files and scanned documents to comb through, so this leak is potentially, and probably, more significant than the 2014 ICIJ reported on leak or even the HSBC and UBS‘ leaks.

214,000 company details of 14,000 clients, including national political leaders of Western and Asian nations, business figures, and high net wealth families.

The leaked data covers nearly 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015. It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world — providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues.

  • The law firm’s leaked internal files contain information on 214,488 offshore entities connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories. ICIJ will release the full list of companies and people linked to them in early May.
  • The data includes emails, financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records revealing the secret owners of bank accounts and companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions, from Nevada to Singapore to the British Virgin Islands.

The ICIJ investigative reporters have been searching, extracting, then compiling lists of names and hidden dollars, reported on the ICIJ website here.  When the list of 14,000 persons connecting them to hidden assets is published in May, expect a free for all

“When the complete list of 14,000 persons and each’s connections to offshore assets is published in early May by ICIJ, expect a free for all by the criminal investigative departments of the revenue authorities from the 200 countries uncovered in the files,” said Prof. William Byrnes of Texas A&M University’s School of Law.  “This is the fifth major, game-changing, leak of offshore records, including Portcullis Trust (Singapore), HSBC, UBS, and LuxLeaks.”

“When all the leaked data is combined with all the thousands of taxpayer and offshore advisor files gleaned from offshore voluntary compliance and non-prosecution programs, then crunched with AI (artificial intelligence, or neural network) programs that “connects the dots”, many additional politicians and business leaders are going to be exposed to criminal and civil tax and corruption investigations.” continued William Byrnes.  “I think many have been trying to run out the clock by suppressing this information.  For some countries that strategy may work, but others countries will experience televised perp walks and political backlash.”

Professor William Byrnes added, “I expect to see investigations and prosecutions of attorneys and staff of Mossack Fonseca, and eventual extradition.  Perhaps the firm will enter into nonprosecution agreements with governments, pay a fine, like the Swiss banks and several Big 4 accomplished, and turn over its remaining client files.  It may be an end to the firm, but when its partners and staff are faced with a choice of either US and other countries long term prison sentences or providing evidence against clients, the clients are going to be ‘thrown under the bus’.”

** download here for free Prof. William Byrnes 118 page in-depth analysis of tax information exchange, FATCA and CRS **  “In the field of international tax, Prof. William Byrnes is among LexisNexis’s best-selling authors and a leading authority in the fields of anti-money laundering and FATCA compliance.” Ray Camiscioli, Esq., Director, Product Strategy & Development for Tax, Accounting and Estates/Elder Law, LexisNexis, Inc.

Professor William Byrnes pivoted in the discussion, “The US has a highly successful international financial service industry that is important to the US economy, exemplified by, firstly, the international financial centres such as Miami and New York) of over a half trillion dollars of foreign deposits of high net wealth individuals whom many experts allege are not tax and exchange control compliant in their home countries; secondly, over 900,000 Delaware companies is the second to Hong Kong, and ahead of British Virgin Islands (BVI is actually third in the world);[1] and thirdly, the US territories’ offshore regimes, reducing the effective US corporate and income tax rates below 3.5 percent.[2]

“In 2011, 133,297 businesses incorporated in Delaware.  Delaware has more corporate entities than people — 945,326 to 897,934,” he continued. “These absentee corporate residents account for a quarter of Delaware’s total budget, roughly $860 million in taxes and fees in 2011.[3]  Moreover, the economic spill-over impact for Delaware includes substantial employment and professional fees to Delaware business participating in the incorporation and advisory industry. Delaware is just behind China’s Hong Kong in number of annual incorporations and overall incorporations, and well ahead of the UK’s Virgin Islands (British) both in terms of offshore business and the dollars earned from that offshore business.  Thus, I wonder how many of these Delaware companies, and Delaware corporate service providers, will be exposed once the data is disclosed by ICIJ in May?”

[1] “Storm Survivors”, Special Report: Offshore Finance, The Economist, 16 Feb 2013.

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EY Report: State of the Tax Industry and Tax Education

Posted by William Byrnes on March 21, 2016


“The central function of the tax office has evolved from strategy and planning into risk management”, says William Byrnes, professor of law and associate dean at Texas A&M University.  Read Full Report here E&Y tax industry report

E&Y reports that “According to a 2015 report by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), which launched a Competency Crisis website to deal with the talent gap in 2013, 90% of North American organizations cannot find the entry-level management accounting and finance talent they need.”

“The educational curriculum isn’t keeping up with the needs of business, and employers expect more advanced skills at entry level, according to the report.”

E&Y finds: “Texas A&M University is among the pioneers of change in tax education. …the State of Texas not only established a new law school at the university but also gave it carte blanche to create a new education model.”

 

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2016 Lexis Guide to FATCA Compliance SSRN download

Posted by William Byrnes on March 8, 2016


http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2742383

The LexisNexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance provides a framework for meaningful interactions among enterprise stakeholders, and between the FATCA Compliance Officer and theFATCA_rollFATCA advisors/vendors. Analysis of the complicated regulations, recognition of overlapping complex regime and intergovernmental agreement requirements (e.g. FATCA, Qualified Intermediary, source withholding, national and international information exchange, European Union tax information exchange, information confidentiality laws, money laundering prevention, risk management, and the application of an IGA) is balanced with substantive analysis and descriptive examples. The contributors hail from several countries and an offshore financial center and include attorneys, accountants, information technology engineers, and risk managers from large, medium and small firms and from large financial institutions. Thus, the challenges of the FATCA Compliance Officer are approached from several perspectives and contextual backgrounds.

Several new contributing authors joined the FATCA Expert Contributor team this fourth edition. This fourth edition has been expanded by 19 new chapters and from a total of 54 to 73 chapters, with over 500 new pages of regulatory and compliance analysis based upon industry feedback of internal challenges with systems implementation. The previous 54 chapters have been substantially updated and expanded, including many more practical examples to assist a compliance officer contextualize the regulations, IGA provisions, and national rules enacted pursuant to an IGA. The new chapters include by example an in-depth analysis of designing a FATCA internal policy that is compliant with the initial two year soft enforcement initiative, designing an equivalent form to the W-8, reporting accounts, reporting payments, operational specificity of the mechanisms of information capture, management and exchange by firms and between countries, insights as to the application of FATCA and the IGAs within new BRIC and European country chapters, and a project management schedule for the compliance officer.

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2742383

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New Generation of Tax Graduates – An Innovative Evolution

Posted by William Byrnes on March 7, 2016


Haven’t sat down with Kat in couple years (she’s the nation’s leading tax recruiter, all the big companies and Big 4 hiring partners know her), but she wrote this entertaining and highlyTax-connections-logodescriptive story yesterday to her 100,000 tax folks worldwide that leverage her tax recruitment site.

“… What I shall never forget was the experience that summer day in 2007 in an old dilapidated building. There I was sitting in a wobbly old chair to the right side of a scholarly, forward thinking tax law Professor sitting in front of a computer that looked like the very first “Lisa” computer that Steve Jobs built. Although it was probably not that one, it sure looked like it! The old computer had loose wires hooked up to another old computer with a video fixture added to the mix of wires and computer equipment. I sat there next to Professor Byrnes and experienced my very first distance course with students from Asia, South Africa, Brazil, Europe, U.S. and some other countries. It was fascinating to observe him teaching his tax students online from multiple countries. The experience in this old building with old computers hooked together with loose wires in what appeared to look like an old scientist experiment had me thinking privately… ”

https://www.taxconnections.com/taxblog/new-generation-of-tax-graduates-find-tax-jobs-an-innovative-evolution-by-taxconnections/

From when I started in 1994 until recently, technology and education had been totally disconnected, so much so that I had to build my own computers and servers from parts I scavenged from the computer lab discarded machines, like old Gateways and IBMs, because faculty administration would not budget for technology build out for a professor. Anyway – blast from the past that I thought may be interesting to anyone in tax education.

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Deciding Whether to Itemize Deductions or Use the Standard Deduction?

Posted by William Byrnes on February 17, 2016


Most people claim the standard deduction when they file their federal tax return, but you may be able to lower your tax bill if you itemize. You can find out which way saves you the most by figuring your taxes both ways. The IRS offers these six tips to help you choose:

 

Figure Your Itemized Deductions. Add up deductible expenses you paid during the year. These may include expenses such as:

  • Home mortgage interest
  • State and local income taxes or sales taxes (but not both)
  • Real estate and personal property taxes
  • Gifts to charities
  • Casualty or theft losses
  • Unreimbursed medical expenses
  • Unreimbursed employee business expenses

Special rules and limits apply to each type of itemized expense which may lead to less of a tax deduction than the actual expense.

Know Your Standard Deduction. If you don’t itemize, your basic standard deduction for 2015 depends on your filing status:

  • Single $6,300
  • Married Filing Jointly $12,600

If you’re 65 or older or blind, your standard deduction is higher than these amounts. If someone can claim you as a dependent, your deduction may be limited.

IRS YouTube Videos: Standard vs. Itemized DeductionsEnglish

Tax Facts Online is the premier practical, useful, actionable, and affordable reference on the taxation of insurance, employee benefits, investments, small tax-facts-online
business and individuals. This advisory service provides expert guidance on hundreds of the most frequently asked client questions concerning their most important tax issues.

Many ongoing, significant developments have affected tax law and, consequently, tax advice and strategies. Tax Facts Online is the only source that is reviewed daily and updated regularly by our expert editors.

In addition to completely current content not available anywhere else, Tax Facts Online gives you exclusive access to:

  • Robust search capabilities that enable you to locate detailed answers—fast
  • Time-saving calculators, tables and graphs
  • A copy/paste capability that speeds the production of presentations and enables you to easily incorporate Tax Facts content into your workPlus, the recent addition of current news, case studies, commentary and competitive intelligence serves our customers well as the only tax reference that a non-professional tax expert will ever need.

Tax Facts Online Core Content

Tax Facts on Insurance provides definitive answers to your clients’ most important tax-related insurance questions, while offering insightful analysis and illustrative examples. Numerous planning points direct you to the most recent and important insurance solutions.

Tax Facts on Employee Benefits provides current in-depth coverage of important client-related employee benefits questions. Employee benefits affect most everyone2015_tf_triple_combo_cover-m, and your clients must know how to deal with often complex issues and problems. Tax Facts on Employee Benefits provides the answers in a direct, concise, and practical manner.

Tax Facts on Investments provides clear, detailed answers to your difficult tax questions concerning investments. You must know what investments best suit your clients from a tax standpoint. You will discover questions that directly provide insightful answers, comparison of investment choices, as well as how investments have changed in recent years.

Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business focuses exclusively on what individuals and small buisnesses need to know to maximize opportunities under today’s often complex tax rules.  It is the essential tax reference for financial advisors, & planners; insurance professionals; CPAs; attorneys; and other practitioners advising small businesses and individuals.

  • Charles Calello Enterprise/Group Inquiries 201-526-1259 Email Me
  • Customer Service 800-543-0874 8am – 6pm ET Monday – Thursday 8am – 5pm ET Friday Email Customer Service

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Tax Facts about Taxable and Non-Taxable Income

Posted by William Byrnes on February 16, 2016


All income is taxable unless a law specifically says it isn’t. Here are some basic rules you should know to help you file the 2015 – 1040 tax return due April 15, 2016.

  • Taxable income.  Taxable income includes money you earn, like wages and tips. It also includes bartering, an exchange of property or services. The fair market value of property or services received is normally taxable.

Some types of income are not taxable except under certain conditions, including:

  • Life insurance.  Proceeds paid to you upon the death of an insured person are usually not taxable. However, if you redeem a life insurance policy for cash, any amount you get that is more than the cost of the policy is taxable.
  • Qualified scholarship.  In most cases, income from a scholarship is not taxable. This includes amounts used for certain costs, such as tuition and required books. On the other hand, amounts you use for room and board are taxable.
  • Other income tax refunds.  State or local income tax refunds may be taxable. You should receive a Form 1099-G from the agency that paid you. They may have sent the form by mail or electronically. Contact them to find out how to get the form. Report any taxable refund you got even if you did not receive Form 1099-G.

Here are some items that are usually not taxable:

  • Gifts and inheritances
  • Child support payments
  • Welfare benefits
  • Damage awards for physical injury or sickness
  • Cash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer for an item you buy
  • Reimbursements for qualified adoption expenses

Tax Facts Online is the premier practical, useful, actionable, and affordable reference on the taxation of insurance, employee benefits, investments, small tax-facts-online
business and individuals. This advisory service provides expert guidance on hundreds of the most frequently asked client questions concerning their most important tax issues.

Many ongoing, significant developments have affected tax law and, consequently, tax advice and strategies. Tax Facts Online is the only source that is reviewed daily and updated regularly by our expert editors.

In addition to completely current content not available anywhere else, Tax Facts Online gives you exclusive access to:

  • Robust search capabilities that enable you to locate detailed answers—fast
  • Time-saving calculators, tables and graphs
  • A copy/paste capability that speeds the production of presentations and enables you to easily incorporate Tax Facts content into your workPlus, the recent addition of current news, case studies, commentary and competitive intelligence serves our customers well as the only tax reference that a non-professional tax expert will ever need.

Tax Facts Online Core Content

Tax Facts on Insurance provides definitive answers to your clients’ most important tax-related insurance questions, while offering insightful analysis and illustrative examples. Numerous planning points direct you to the most recent and important insurance solutions.

Tax Facts on Employee Benefits provides current in-depth coverage of important client-related employee benefits questions. Employee benefits affect most everyone2015_tf_triple_combo_cover-m, and your clients must know how to deal with often complex issues and problems. Tax Facts on Employee Benefits provides the answers in a direct, concise, and practical manner.

Tax Facts on Investments provides clear, detailed answers to your difficult tax questions concerning investments. You must know what investments best suit your clients from a tax standpoint. You will discover questions that directly provide insightful answers, comparison of investment choices, as well as how investments have changed in recent years.

Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business focuses exclusively on what individuals and small buisnesses need to know to maximize opportunities under today’s often complex tax rules.  It is the essential tax reference for financial advisors, & planners; insurance professionals; CPAs; attorneys; and other practitioners advising small businesses and individuals.

  • Charles Calello Enterprise/Group Inquiries 201-526-1259 Email Me
  • Customer Service 800-543-0874 8am – 6pm ET Monday – Thursday 8am – 5pm ET Friday Email Customer Service

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Can Employers Obtain Tax Advantages Complying with Obama Care?

Posted by William Byrnes on February 15, 2016


It has been several years since President Obama pushed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the “ACA”), which is a health care overhaul aimed at providing millions of American with health insurance, through Congress. Read the article here.

According to the White House, the goal of the ACA is to improve health security by: (1) creating comprehensive health insurance reform that provides more ways to hold insurance companies accountable, (2) lowering health care costs, (3) guaranteeing more health care options, and (4) enhancing the overall quality of the American health care system.

As many American, corporations and small businesses are aware, the gateway to an improved healthcare system commenced October 1, 2013 with the implementation of the exchange system. However, some may not be aware of the potential tax benefits awaiting employers. This highlight will specifically address the tax incentives that are available to both large and small businesses.

Read the Mertens Highlight here.

Posted in Tax Policy, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

OECD Common Reporting Self Certification Tax Forms Now Available

Posted by William Byrnes on February 10, 2016


hat tip: Prof. Haydon Perryman: OECD Self-certification forms

The Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) has drafted the following self-certification forms –  

Financial institutions should consult their advisers to ensure their CRS-related operations, including the self-certification forms collected from accountholders, comply with all applicable national laws. 

Guide to FATCA Compliance (New 2016 Edition includes) over 1,500 pages of analysis of the FATCA and CRS compliance challenges,  73 chapters by FATCA and CRS contributingOECDexperts from over 30 countries.  Besides in-depth, practical analysis, the 2016 edition includes examples, charts, time lines, links to source documents, and compliance analysis pursuant to the IGA and local regulations for many U.S. trading partners and financial centers.   The Lexis Guide to FATCA Compliance, designed from interviews with over 100 financial institutions and professional firms, is a primary reference source for financial institutions and service providers, advisors and government departments.  The 19 newest chapters include by example an in-depth analysis of designing a FATCA internal policy that is compliant with the initial two-year soft enforcement initiative, designing an equivalent form to the W-8, reporting accounts, reporting payments, operational specificity of the mechanisms of information capture, management and exchange by firms and between countries, insights as to the application of FATCA, CRS, and the IGAs within BRIC, SEA and European country chapters.

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New Tax Strategy Articles

Posted by William Byrnes on January 26, 2016


Exploring the Extent of the Like-Kind Nonrecognition Treatment (and its Potential Demise) | Mertens – Law of Federal Income Tax – Developments & Highlights

May a Proposed Expansion of Master Limited Partnerships’ (MLP) Tax Benefits for “Renewable” Energy Lead to America’s Energy Independence?| Mertens – Law of Federal Income Tax – Developments & Highlights

Tax Considerations of Foreign Individual Investors in U.S. Real Estate Investment |
Mertens – Law of Federal Income Tax – Developments & Highlights

Has the Individual Retirement Account Lost its Luster? Recent Scrutiny of Rollovers and Non-Spousal Inheritance Rights May Dull the Ira for Retirement and Estate Planning | Mertens – Law of Federal Income Tax – Developments & Highlights

Can Employers Obtain Tax Advantages Complying with the Affordable Care Act? |
Mertens – Law of Federal Income Taxation – Development & Highlights

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Texas A&M Law Seeks to Recruit 2 Additional Law Librarians

Posted by William Byrnes on January 22, 2016


Texas A&M University School of Law seeks to expand our team of law library faculty by recruiting two dynamic and innovative law librarians who can successfully advance library TAMU-Law-lockup-stack-SQUAREinitiatives in one of two specialties.  Faculty rank and salary are commensurate with qualifications and experience; each position may be hired as either long-term contract or tenure-track.  Excellent benefits include a health plan and paid life insurance; several retirement plans including TIAA-CREF; paid holidays and vacation; no state or local income tax. Funding is available for professional travel and development activities.

Texas A&M University, founded in 1876, is one of only 17 triple federally designations “Land, Sea, and Space grant” research universities, and is one of only 62 US and Canadian lead research universities of the Association of American Universities.  Texas A&M University is the sixth largest university in the nation.  The signature Aggie Spirit captures and embodies the university’s traditions and core values: Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect, and Selfless Service.  The university has an enrollment of more than 55,000 students and 2,800 instructional faculty, and over 6,000 foreign students and scholars.  Based on Vision 2020, Texas A&M’s goal is to be ranked among the top 10 public universities.

International Law Reference: Provides expertise in international law research and augments the Public Services Department’s ability to provide increased research and reference services to faculty and students. This position also aids collection development by identifying appropriate international materials to acquire in both paper and electronic formats.

Electronic Services: Leads not only the marketing of the faculty’s scholarship but also advertises the library’s electronic databases and instructs in using these databases. Also participates in reference services to the law school community. This position is the point person for overseeing the law school’s institutional repository of scholarship and its components.

Applications:  Applications received by February 23, 2016 will be given first consideration. The letter of application should identify the position for which you are applying and address the responsibilities, qualifications, and experiences listed for the position. Please submit application letter, vita, and the names, email addresses and telephone numbers of three professional references.  References will not be contacted without contacting the candidate first and verifying permission.  Send nominations and applications via email to Professor Joan Stringfellow, Chair of the Law Library Search Committee at libappointments@law.tamu.edu

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Tax Facts for Choosing the Right Tax Filing Status

Posted by William Byrnes on December 14, 2015


Using the correct filing status is very important when filing a tax return. The right status affects how much is owed in taxes. It may even affect whether a tax return must be filed.

When choosing a filing status, keep in mind that marital status on Dec. 31 is the status for the entire year.  If more than one filing status applies, choose the one that will result in the lowest tax.

Note for same-sex married couples that new rules apply if legally married in a state or foreign country that recognizes same-sex marriage.  The same sex spouses generally must use a married filing status on the 2015 federal tax return and forward.  This is true even if the same sex spouses now live in a state or foreign country that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

Here is a list of the five filing statuses to help you choose:

1. Single.  This status normally applies if you aren’t married or are divorced or legally separated under state law.

2. Married Filing Jointly.  A married couple can file one tax return together. If your spouse died in 2013, you usually can still file a joint return for that year.

3. Married Filing Separately.  A married couple can choose to file two separate tax returns instead of one joint return. This status may be to your benefit if it results in less tax. You can also use it if you want to be responsible only for your own tax.

4. Head of Household.  This status normally applies if you are not married. You also must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and a qualifying person. Some people choose this status by mistake. Be sure to check all the rules before you file.

5. Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child.  If your spouse died during 2014 or 2015 and you have a dependent child, this status may apply. Certain other conditions also apply.

Tax Facts Online is the premier practical, useful, actionable, and affordable reference on the taxation of insurance, employee benefits, investments, small tax-facts-online
business and individuals. This advisory service provides expert guidance on hundreds of the most frequently asked client questions concerning their most important tax issues.

Many ongoing, significant developments have affected tax law and, consequently, tax advice and strategies. Tax Facts Online is the only source that is reviewed daily and updated regularly by our expert editors.

In addition to completely current content not available anywhere else, Tax Facts Online gives you exclusive access to:

  • Robust search capabilities that enable you to locate detailed answers—fast
  • Time-saving calculators, tables and graphs
  • A copy/paste capability that speeds the production of presentations and enables you to easily incorporate Tax Facts content into your workPlus, the recent addition of current news, case studies, commentary and competitive intelligence serves our customers well as the only tax reference that a non-professional tax expert will ever need.

Tax Facts Online Core Content

Tax Facts on Insurance provides definitive answers to your clients’ most important tax-related insurance questions, while offering insightful analysis and illustrative examples. Numerous planning points direct you to the most recent and important insurance solutions.

Tax Facts on Employee Benefits provides current in-depth coverage of important client-related employee benefits questions. Employee benefits affect most2015_tf_triple_combo_cover-meveryone, and your clients must know how to deal with often complex issues and problems. Tax Facts on Employee Benefits provides the answers in a direct, concise, and practical manner.

Tax Facts on Investments provides clear, detailed answers to your difficult tax questions concerning investments. You must know what investments best suit your clients from a tax standpoint. You will discover questions that directly provide insightful answers, comparison of investment choices, as well as how investments have changed in recent years.

Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business focuses exclusively on what individuals and small buisnesses need to know to maximize opportunities under today’s often complex tax rules.  It is the essential tax reference for financial advisors, & planners; insurance professionals; CPAs; attorneys; and other practitioners advising small businesses and individuals.

  • Charles Calello Enterprise/Group Inquiries 201-526-1259 Email Me
  • Customer Service 800-543-0874 8am – 6pm ET Monday – Thursday 8am – 5pm ET Friday Email Customer Service

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Deducting Moving Expenses

Posted by William Byrnes on December 9, 2015


If you move because of your job, you may be able to deduct the cost of the move on your tax return. You may be able to deduct your costs if you move to start a new job or to work at the same job in a new location. The IRS offers the following tips about moving expenses and your tax return.

In order to deduct moving expenses, your move must meet three requirements:

1. The move must closely relate to the start of work.  Generally, you can consider moving expenses within one year of the date you start work at a new job location. Additional rules apply to this requirement.

2. Your move must meet the distance test.  Your new main job location must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your previous job location. For example, if your old job was three miles from your old home, your new job must be at least 53 miles from your old home.

3. You must meet the time test.  After the move, you must work full-time at your new job for at least 39 weeks the first year. If you’re self-employed, you must meet this test and work full-time for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first two years at the new job site. If your income tax return is due before you’ve met this test, you can still deduct moving expenses if you expect to meet it.

If you can claim this deduction, here are a few more tips from the IRS:

  • Travel.  You can deduct transportation and lodging expenses for yourself and household members while moving from your old home to your new home.  BUT you cannot deduct your travel meal costs.
  • Household goods and utilities.  You can deduct the cost of packing, crating and shipping your things. You may be able to include the cost of storing and insuring these items while in transit. You can deduct the cost of connecting or disconnecting utilities.
  • Nondeductible expenses.  You cannot deduct as moving expenses any part of the purchase price of your new home, the cost of selling a home or the cost of entering into or breaking a lease. See Publication 521 for a complete list.
  • Reimbursed expenses.  If your employer later pays you for the cost of a move that you deducted on your tax return, you may need to include the payment as income. You report any taxable amount on your tax return in the year you get the payment.
  • Address Change.  When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Post Office. To notify the IRS file Form 8822, Change of Address.

Tax Facts Online is the premier practical, useful, actionable, and affordable reference on the taxation of insurance, employee benefits, investments, small tax-facts-online
business and individuals. This advisory service provides expert guidance on hundreds of the most frequently asked client questions concerning their most important tax issues.

Many ongoing, significant developments have affected tax law and, consequently, tax advice and strategies. Tax Facts Online is the only source that is reviewed daily and updated regularly by our expert editors.

In addition to completely current content not available anywhere else, Tax Facts Online gives you exclusive access to:

  • Robust search capabilities that enable you to locate detailed answers—fast
  • Time-saving calculators, tables and graphs
  • A copy/paste capability that speeds the production of presentations and enables you to easily incorporate Tax Facts content into your workPlus, the recent addition of current news, case studies, commentary and competitive intelligence serves our customers well as the only tax reference that a non-professional tax expert will ever need.

Tax Facts Online Core Content

Tax Facts on Insurance provides definitive answers to your clients’ most important tax-related insurance questions, while offering insightful analysis and illustrative examples. Numerous planning points direct you to the most recent and important insurance solutions.

Tax Facts on Employee Benefits provides current in-depth coverage of important client-related employee benefits questions. Employee benefits affect most2015_tf_triple_combo_cover-meveryone, and your clients must know how to deal with often complex issues and problems. Tax Facts on Employee Benefits provides the answers in a direct, concise, and practical manner.

Tax Facts on Investments provides clear, detailed answers to your difficult tax questions concerning investments. You must know what investments best suit your clients from a tax standpoint. You will discover questions that directly provide insightful answers, comparison of investment choices, as well as how investments have changed in recent years.

Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business focuses exclusively on what individuals and small buisnesses need to know to maximize opportunities under today’s often complex tax rules.  It is the essential tax reference for financial advisors, & planners; insurance professionals; CPAs; attorneys; and other practitioners advising small businesses and individuals.

  • Charles Calello Enterprise/Group Inquiries 201-526-1259 Email Me
  • Customer Service 800-543-0874 8am – 6pm ET Monday – Thursday 8am – 5pm ET Friday Email Customer Service

Posted in Taxation, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Texas A&M University Law School Lowers Tuition 15%, Boosts Scholarship Budget by 65%, Improves Student to Faculty ratio of 11:1

Posted by William Byrnes on December 9, 2015


Texas A&M University has announced it will lower its full-time resident tuition and fees for the School of Law by more than 15 percent, beginning with the fall 2016 semester.

In embracing its public mission Texas A&M regularly reviews its tuition and fees to ensure affordability and quality. With the acquisition of the Texas A&M University School of TAMU-Law-lockup-stack-SQUARE (1)Law (TAMU Law) in 2013, recent evaluation of the tuition and fees has resulted in an announcement to lower full-time resident tuition and fees by 15.39% percent from $33,092 to $28,000, effective academic year 2016-2017.

“This is an important part of our transition of the law school from the private to public institution model,” Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young said. “By lowering tuition, we are working to ensure our students have much broader opportunities for serving the public at all levels once they graduate. This is an important part of our land-grant mission that benefits not just our students as individuals, but each of us across society.”

This adjustment will also benefit currently enrolled students. Beginning with the fall 2016 semester, Texas A&M Law will guarantee a locked tuition rate for entering and continuing law students. This annual tuition rate will be locked in for four academic years from the first date of enrollment. After the expiration of four academic years, students will pay the current year’s rates each term until completion; this is consistent with Texas A&M University’s approach and commitment to students enrolled in other academic programs including all undergraduate and select graduate degrees.

“Texas A&M University School of Law is transforming legal education in Texas while effectively managing resources entrusted by students and the state,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. “This decision is further evidence of how Texas A&M seeks to deliver the best education at the best value to parents, students and taxpayers.”

The move is the latest in a series of transitions demonstrating Texas A&M’s commitment to enhancing legal education for Texas.

“As the newest public law school in Texas, our focus is on adding value for our students and preparing them to lead. We embrace our University commitment to transforming the destinies of Texans by connecting with first-generation law students across the state, particularly from underserved communities,” Dean Andrew P. Morrisssaid. “This approach helps our state by building a legal profession that will make Texas even better.”

The school has boosted the overall scholarship budget by 65% and launched new programs. These include five clinics (Trademarks, Patents, Entrepreneurship, Wills & Estates, andInnocence), as well as a Professionalism & Leadership Program building on the Aggie Core Values of Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect, and Selfless Service. TAMU Law has also reduced its entering class size and added 12 new faculty resulting in a dramatically improved student to faculty ratio of 11.1:1.

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Starbucks’ Transfer Pricing & The EU Commission Decision

Posted by William Byrnes on December 7, 2015


Starbucks Manufacturing BV (SMBV), based in the Netherlands, is the only coffee roasting company in the Starbucks group in Europe. It sells and distributes roasted coffee and coffee-related products (e.g. cups, packaged food, pastries) to Starbucks outlets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The EU Commission’s decision challenges the outcome of the Advanced Pricing Agreement (APA) between the Netherlands Tax Authority (Tax Authority) and SMBV. The Tax Authority respondedEU Commission that within the Dutch tax system profit is taxed where value is created. The Tax Authority concluded an Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) with SMBV which includes an arm’s length business remuneration for the roasting of coffee beans.  The Tax Authority collects taxes on profit made by SMBV for roasting coffee beans. Because the intellectual property rights of Starbucks are not located in The Netherlands, the royalties for the use of these cannot be taxed in The Netherlands.

The Tax Authority, acting in accordance with the international OECD framework for transfer pricing, agreed with Starbucks that it may apply the Transactional Net Margin Method (TNMM) to determine an arm’s length result to attach to its Netherlands based activities. The TNMM requires that members of multinational enterprises be treated as independently operating national enterprises: profits are taxed wherever value is created, attaching to the specific enterprise of the activity creating the value.

In its decision, the Commission establishes a unique interpretation the OECD guidelines concerning the choice and application of the globally accepted transfer pricing methods.  Based upon its interpretation, the Commission’s alleges that Starbucks should have applied the Comparable Uncontrolled Price (CUP) method to each activity of each enterprise instead of the TNMM. However, the Netherlands Tax Authority does not agree that the CUP method should have been applied in the Starbucks case in this fashion because of the absence of suitably similar, comparable data to the situation of Starbucks’ operations and value creating activities and assets. Starbucks graph

After its misapplication of CUP to Starbucks’ operations, the Commission then creates a new criterion for profit calculation.  While the methodologies and underlying criteria of application are not a closed universe for determining an arm’s length price, the Commission’s new criterion is incompatible with domestic regulations and the OECD framework. The Tax Authority will contend that the Commission does not adequately understand the nature and context of the value add of Starbucks’ myriad of activities.

The Commission states in its Starbucks decision that the arm’s length principle it has applied is not the same as the arm’s length principle stemming from Section 9 of the OECD treaty. The Commission’s application of a variant will cause confusion and uncertainty among tax authority of member states, among trade partners’ tax authorities, and the underlying enterprises subject to their audit authority.  For a tax authority, such uncertainty relates to the question of what rules are to be applied and in which fashion. And for enterprises, such uncertainly relates to the proper application of rules in rulings. So as to obtain more clarity and jurisprudence in this matter, the Dutch Cabinet has appealed the Commission’s Starbucks decision.

The Commission alleges that the methodological choices in the transfer pricing report provided by the tax adviser for Starbucks to the Netherlands Tax Authority, and agreed to in the APA between Starbucks and the Tax Authority, are not a reliable approach to a market result and thereby do not fulfil the arm’s length principle. The Commission alleges that the transactional net margin method (TNMM) is not the most appropriate method to forecast a taxable profit because the OECD guidelines and the Transfer Pricing Decree show a preference for the Comparable Uncontrolled Price Method (CUP).  The Commission determined that if the CUP had been applied to Starbucks’ coffee roasting of SMBV, the taxable profit would be substantially higher.

Most Appropriate Method?

The OECD adopted in 2010 a “most appropriate method” concept, similar to the U.S. “best method rule”. The most appropriate method concept replaced the previous OECD rule that transactional profit methods, profit split and TNMM were only to be leveraged as methods of last resort (with TNMM being in last spot). Regarding the “most appropriate method” the 2010 Guidelines states:

[T]he selection process should take account of the respective strengths and weaknesses of the OECD recognised methods; the appropriateness of the method considered in view of the nature of the controlled transaction, determined in particular through a functional analysis; the availability of reliable information (in particular on uncontrolled comparables) needed to apply the selected method and/or other methods; and the degree of comparability between controlled and uncontrolled transactions, including the reliability of comparability adjustments that may be needed to eliminate material differences between them. No one method is suitable in every possible situation, nor is it necessary to prove that a particular method is not suitable under the circumstances.

However, in spite of the foregoing, the 2010 Guidelines indicate a preference for traditional methods in applying the most appropriate method rule:

[W]here, taking account of the criteria described at paragraph 2.2, a traditional transaction method and a transactional profit method can be applied in an equally reliable manner, the traditional transaction method is preferable to the transactional profit method.

Comparability Analysis?

The 2010 OECD Guidelines for comparability analysis contains nine, non-linear, steps.

Step 1: Determination of years to be covered.

Step 2: Broad-based analysis of the taxpayer’s circumstances.

Step 3: Understanding the controlled transaction(s) under examination, based in particular on a functional analysis, in order to choose the tested party (where needed), the most appropriate transfer pricing method to the circumstances of the case, the financial indicator that will be tested (in the case of a transactional profit method), and to identify the significant comparability factors that should be taken into account.

Step 4: Review of existing internal comparables, if any.

Step 5: Determination of available sources of information on external comparables where such external comparables are needed taking into account their relative reliability.

Step 6: Selection of the most appropriate transfer pricing method and, depending on the method, determination of the relevant financial indicator (e.g. determination of the relevant net profit indicator in case of a transactional net margin method).

Step 7: Identification of potential comparables: determining the key characteristics to be met by any uncontrolled transaction in order to be regarded as potentially comparable, based on the relevant factors identified in Step 3 and in accordance with the comparability factors ….

Step 8: Determination of and making comparability adjustments where appropriate.

Step 9: Interpretation and use of data collected, determination of the arm’s length remuneration.

What Is the Value of Starbucks Roasting “Know How”?

The Commission alleges that the payment of royalties by SMBV to the Starbucks UK subsidiary (Alki) owning the “know-how” intellectual property rights does not provide a correct representation of the value of the intellectual property rights and therefore cannot be deemed to be arm’s length. This incorrect representation led Starbucks to exaggerate the value attaching to its coffee bean roasting “know-how”, in turn leading to an excessive royalty payment.

The royalty payment is based upon an “adjustment variable”, the level of which is determined by the accounting profits of SMBV subtracting the compensation agreed in the APA in the form of a fixed mark-up on the operational costs of SMBV.  The APA does contain a fixed method of being able to assess the arm’s length nature of the level of the royalties.

The Commission alleges that, on the basis of its application of an arm’s length transaction price via a CUP test, SMBV would not have been willing to pay any royalty for know-how.  The Commission’s allegation is based upon a comparison of Starbuck’s agreements for roasting coffee with other coffee roasters worldwide. Thus, Alki should not have been paid any royalties. Moreover, the Commission contends that the royalties, paid over for many years, cannot be arm’s length because SMBV does not appear to gain any business advantage from the use of the intellectual property in the area of roasting coffee.  An independent company, argues the Commission, will not pay for a license if it is unable to earn back the royalties paid.

Additionally, the Commission contends that payment for royalties does not represent a payment for Alki taking upon itself the risks of SMBV. The Commission dismissed the Tax Authority argument that Alki bore the economic risk of SMBV’s loss of stock (wastage).  The Commission points to Alki’s lack of  employees as justification that Alki’s capacity is too limited to actually bear such risk.  Finally, the Commission dismissed Alki’s payment for technology to Starbucks US as a justification of its royalty payment from SMBV.

What Is the Value of Starbucks Sourcing of Green Beans?

The Commission alleges that SMBV overpays Starbucks coffee sourcing operation in Switzerland (SCTC) for acquisition of ‘green beans’, which are then roasted by SMBV and distributed to Starbucks’ various national operations.  The purchase price of green beans paid by SMBV to SCTC is abnormally high and therefore does not comply with the arm’s-length principle.

The Commission alleges that Starbucks did not investigate an arm’s length relationship for which the transactions between SCTC and SMBV, being the purchase and delivery of green coffee beans.  Secondly, the Commission did not accept Starbucks’ underlying grounds for the justification of the significant increase from 2011 of the mark-up in the costs for the green beans supplied by SCTC.  Starbucks’ contends that SCTC’s activities became increasingly important from 2011 partly due to the evolving “C.A.F.E. Practices” program (e.g. ‘fair-trade’).  Comparing the costs of similar fair-trade programs, the figures provided by Starbucks in connection with its C.A.F.E. Practices program, argues the Commission, are problematic both in terms of consistency as well as the arm’s length nature. The Commission contends that the Tax Authorities should have rejected the additional deduction from the accounting profits. Moreover, the increased mark-up can be connected directly to the losses incurred by SMBV’s coffee roasting activities since 2010, which highlights the non arm’s length relationship of this mark-up.

Least complex function

The Commission posits a secondary argument that Starbucks misapplied the TNMM to its supply chain.  Firstly, the Commission alleges that Starbucks incorrectly categorized SMBV as the “least complex function” of the Starbucks’ value added supply chain, basically as a contract manufacturer, in comparison with Starbucks’ UK subsidiary that owns the manufacturing and processing “know how”.  This misapplication of the TNMM led Starbucks to incorrectly led Starbucks to select SMBV as the subsidiary to be the “tested party”.  Secondly, the Commission posits that when SMBV is compared to other market participants in the coffee trade sector, SMBV incorrectly applied two upward adjustments to its cost base.  Consequently, Starbucks inappropriately limited its Netherlands taxable basis.

Determining the least complex function takes place prior to the application of the TNMM as transfer price method. In order to determine the entity with the least complex function, a function comparison must be made. The outcome of the function comparison indicates an entity, to which the transfer price method can be applied in the most reliable manner and for which the most reliable comparison points can be found.

In its coffee roasting function, the Commission contends that SMBV does not only carry out routine activities. SMBV conducts market research reflected by its payments for market research.  Also, SMBV holds significant intellectual property reflected by the amortisation of intangible assets in its accounts.  Moreover, SMBV performs an important resale function. A routine producer is not involved in such activities. On the other hand, Alki activities are very limited. Alki does not have employees and it thus operates with limited capacity.  The Commission contends that the financial capacity of Alki is not the total financial capacity of the worldwide Starbucks Group.

StarbStarbucks_Coffee_Logo.svgucks Reaction?

Starbucks released a statement: “The dispute between the European Commission and the Netherlands as to which OECD rules we and others should follow will require us to pay about €20m to €30m on top of the $3 billion in global taxes we have already paid over the seven years in question (2008-2014).  Starbucks complies with all OECD rules, guidelines and laws and supports its tax reform process. Starbucks has paid an average global effective tax rate of roughly 33 percent, well above the 18.5 percent average rate paid by other large US companies.

Netherlands Government Reaction?

In October the European Commission has decided that the Netherlands provided State aid to Starbucks Manufacturing. The Commission decision is placed in the context of the fight against tax avoidance by multinationals.  The Dutch government greatly values its practice of offering certainty in advance. The Dutch practice is lawful and compliant with the international system of the OECD. However the European Commission’s verdict in the Starbucks case deviates from national law and the OECD’s system. In the end this will cause a lot of uncertainty about how to enforce regulations.

In order to get certainty and case law on the application of certainty in advance by way of rulings, the government appeals the Commission decision in the Starbucks case. The government is of the opinion that the Commission does not convincingly demonstrate that the Tax Authority deviated from the statutory provisions. It follows that there is no State aid involved.

AmCham Reaction?

OECD rules for setting internal transfer prices constitute an international standard whereby double taxation is prevented. These rules require that each transaction is assessed on the basis of the most appropriate transfer pricing method. The TNMM method can be used to establish an at arm’s length remuneration for production activities, such as those of the Dutch coffee roaster Starbucks Manufacturing BV, and is widely used internationally.

“This decision is a staggering,” says Arjan van der Linde, Chairman of AmCham’s Tax Committee and fiscal spokesman for AmCham. “By disregarding OECD rules, the European Commission is creating considerable uncertainty about the tax implications for foreign investment in the Netherlands. This has a direct effect on new investments and future employment. Uncertainty about such a fundamental component of an investment is unacceptable for many companies,” predicts Van der Linde.

He also highlights the expertise of the Dutch tax authorities, “The Dutch tax authorities have years of experience with the application of OECD rules and work thorough and carefully in considering transfer pricing requests.  A separate APA practice exists.  In addition, the Dutch tax authorities are consistent in their approach, with all sorts of coordination groups looking over the shoulder of the inspector. This thorough approach cannot simply be cast aside.”

 

Professor William Byrnes’ Reaction?

Starbucks represents the first salvo by the EU Commission to establish that it has the authority, under a State Aid premise, to step into the shoes of the national revenue authority and re-allocate profits of an enterprise according to the EU Commission’s interpretation and analysis of the arm’s length concept.  American attorneys will appreciate that this is a Marbury v Madison moment of Adam’s Federalists v. Jefferson’s Anti-Federalist.

The EU Commission’s finding of a range of two – three Euro million annual difference from its own assessment of the scenario versus the assessment of the Dutch revenue authority likely reflects its trepidation to venture into the area of interposing its own judgement call for that of a sovereign national revenue authority’s arm’s length determination, especially one memorialized in an advance pricing agreement (APA) with a taxpayer.  The trepidation probably results from several causes, including weaknesses of the EU Commission’s choice and implementation of an arm’s length methodology, justification thereof, and even more so, from the geopolitical ramifications of its decision.

The trepidation is exemplified by the very low adjustments the EU Commission found, after its nearly year of investigation.  The adjustments are enough to be noticed by the EU state authorities and the companies, but de minimis in the context of corporate annual profits, corporate profit accumulation over time (e.g. perpetual deferral), corporate tax reserves, and de minimis in the context of revenue collection for either The Netherlands or Luxembourg.

Starbucks’ potential 30 million Euro re-capture tax bill by The Netherlands (EU Commission required), dating back to accumulation from 2008, will, assuming the tax bill stands after Starbucks’ appeal and after Starbucks’ challenge the decision up through the EU Court Of Justice, be offset by a US tax credit of like amount.  Consequently, the low adjustment is a wash out, albeit could require a cash flow payment in the nearer future than the perpetual one under U.S. tax deferral accounting.  30 million Euro is too small to be noticeable to Starbucks shareholders or to the U.S. Treasury, especially when the tax credits are applied.  Viewed from an annual perspective though, the two to three million Euro per annum over 10-years finding against Starbucks annual three billion dollars paid in global taxes from a global effective tax rate of 33%, it is not even a rounding error.

Had the EU Commission found, as it alluded that it is able to, that the State Aid amounted to the hundreds of millions or even billions of Euro, the intensity of the EU Commission-National government conflict would have changed, and the EU Commission would have lost that battle with the stakes so high.  Fiat would have drawn Italy into the fray, to align with Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg.  As more advance pricing agreements are challenged, more national government would align against the EU Commission.  At some tipping point, the EU Commission would have to withdraw from the fight or face a bloodied nose.

Yet, more so a danger for the EU Commission, had the EU Commission’s decision been an exaggerated amount, then the U.S. Treasury would have been forced to act as if a trade war had broken out. Treasury beating up on Starbucks for transfer pricing out of the U.S. tax base is OK because Starbucks in a U.S. company, as far as the U.S. Treasury is concerned.  Starbucks represents potential U.S. deficit reduction tax dollars.

Had the EU Commission decided for a large amount well beyond any tax credit relief, thus which would have represented a significant subsidy from the U.S. to EU national budgets and/or a significant subsidy from US retirement system shareholders to EU budgets, one might imagine the joint-Republican Democratic Senate hearing called by Washington state’s two Democratic senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. That hearing would conclude a joint statement to Treasury demanding it report back how it intends to implement a tit-for-tat strategy against EU companies to extract an equal amount to that the EU Commission pulled from the bowels of Starbucks reserves.

Throw in enough U.S. multinationals with HQs in the various states such as New York, Illinois, California and Texas,  Congress may actually in rare bipartisan stature pass tit-for-tat legislation by year end requiring Treasury to act.  Perhaps a $5 billion Section 482 adjustment against each of the top 50 European companies measured by revenues.  The EU would respond, and the U.S. retort, to and fro, until the weight of taxation slowed cross border investment to a trickle.

But the EU Commission instead chose to bark very loudly and withhold its bite.  Probably it has avoided the worst case scenarios of political warfare presented above.  With such a small award, the various stakeholders will let the appeals and ECJ process run its course before acting.  The US Congress and US Treasury may not understand the Marbury v Madison moment of the EU Commission’s decision – that the “perpetual deferral” reserves of U.S. MNEs such as Starbucks, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc, may be put “up for grabs” by European revenue authorities to fill their bloated social spending expenditure gaps (instead of flowing into U.S. investment needs or back to U.S. institutional shareholders representing our collective national retirement savings).  [But Treasury has now released the below response to the EU Commission decision].

US Treasury Response

Treasury has followed the state aid cases closely for a number of reasons. First, we are concerned that the EU Commission appears to be disproportionately targeting U.S. companies.

Second, these actions potentially undermine our rights under our tax treaties. The United States has a network of income tax treaties with the member states and has no income tax treaty with the EU because income tax is a matter of member state competence under EU law.  While these cases are being billed as cases of illegal state subsidies under EU law (state aid), we are concerned that the EU Commission is in effect telling member states how they should have applied their own tax laws over a ten-year period.  Plainly, the assertion of such broad power with respect to an income tax matter calls into question the finality of U.S. taxpayers’ dealings with member states, as well as the U.S. Government’s treaties with member states in the area of income taxation.

Third, the EU Commission is taking a novel approach to the state aid issue; yet, they have chosen to apply this new approach retroactively rather than only prospectively. While in the Starbucks case, the sums were relatively modest (20 to 30 million Euros), they maybe substantially larger – perhaps in the billions – in other cases. The retroactive application of a novel interpretation of EU law calls into question the basic fairness of the proceedings. Fourth, while the IRS and Treasury have not yet analyzed the equally novel foreign tax credit issues raised by these cases, it is possible that the settlement payments ultimately could be determined to give rise to creditable foreign taxes. If so, U.S. taxpayers would wind up footing the bill for these state aid settlements when the affected U.S. taxpayers either repatriate amounts voluntarily or Congress requires a deemed repatriation as part of tax reform (and less U.S. taxes are paid on the repatriated amounts as a result of the higher creditable foreign income taxes).

Finally, and this relates to the EU’s apparent substantive position in these cases, we are greatly concerned that the EU Commission is reaching out to tax income that no member state had the right to tax under internationally accepted standards. Rather, from all appearances they are seeking to tax the income of U.S. multinational enterprises that, under current U.S. tax rules, is deferred until such time as the amounts are repatriated to the United States. The mere fact that the U.S. system has left these amounts untaxed until repatriated does not provide under international tax standards a right for another jurisdiction to tax those amounts. We will continue to monitor these cases closely.

Book CoverProfessor William Byrnes is the primary author of Practical Guide to U.S. Transfer Pricing that is used extensively by multinationals to cope with the U.S. transfer pricing rules and procedures, taking into account the international norms established by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Download Summary-of-the-decision-from-the-european-commission-concerning-the-starbucks-tax-ruling

Download Cabinet-response-to-the-european-commission-decision-on-starbucks-manufacturing-bv

EU State Aid – Starbucks Webpage

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Financial Law Professor Headlines

Posted by William Byrnes on December 2, 2015


 

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Which University May Be The 3rd (since 1986) to Default on Its Debts?

Posted by William Byrnes on November 17, 2015


University of Puerto Rico likely headed toward first credit default: S&P – Read the full story at Reuters.  Bankrupt

CNN reported that “The commonwealth paid a mere $628,000 toward a $58 million debt bill due in early August to creditors of its Public Finance Corporation.  This will hurt the island’s residents, not Wall Street. The debt is mostly owned by ordinary Puerto Ricans through credit unions.”

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Which University Paid Over $95 Million for Deceptive Practices & “Betrayal of Students’ Trust”?

Posted by William Byrnes on November 16, 2015


Argosy University includes Western State College of Law (at Argosy University).  Argosy’s parent EDMC has agreed to pay $95.5 million to resolve claims that it falsely obtained Justice logofederal and state education funds – making this the largest False Claims Act settlement with a for-profit educational institution in American history.  “EDMC’s actions were not only a betrayal of their students’ trust; they were a violation of federal law. ”

Excerpts from Attorney General’s Announcement this morning continue below:  

We have come together to discuss a historic step forward in our collective and ongoing fight against fraudulent and abusive practices in the for-profit education industry.  Today, we are announcing a landmark settlement with Education Management Corp., which became the second-largest for-profit education company in the United States.  Education Management Corp., also known as EDMC, operates chains of schools around the country under the brand names Argosy University, the Art Institutes, Brown-Mackie College and South University.  EDMC enrolls more than 100,000 students and approximately 90 percent of EDMC’s revenue comes from taxpayers in the form of federal education funding for EDMC students.

This case not only highlights the abuses in EDMC’s recruitment system; it also highlights the brave actions of EDMC employees who refused to go along with the institution’s deceptive practices.

Beginning in 2007, two EDMC employees blew the whistle on EDMC by alleging that it was running a high-pressure recruitment mill.  Essentially, the more students a recruiter induced to enroll, the more money that recruiter would receive.  These employees alleged that EDMC’s recruitment practices violated the Incentive Compensation Ban of Title IV of the Higher Education Act, which prohibits schools from basing recruiters’ pay on their success in securing new enrollees.  That ban is in place so that schools will account for the unique qualities and needs of potential students, rather than simply treating them as a vehicle for tapping into federal student aid funds.  Despite their alleged conduct, EDMC has certified its compliance with the ban to the Department of Education for over a decade.  Falsely claiming federal grant and loan money is a violation of the False Claims Act – and in 2011, the United States intervened in the case alongside five individual states: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota.  Since that time, we have aggressively pursued justice in this case on behalf of the students and taxpayers that the Incentive Compensation Ban is designed to protect.

Under the settlement we are announcing today, EDMC has agreed to pay $95.5 million to resolve claims that it falsely obtained federal and state education funds – making this the largest False Claims Act settlement with a for-profit educational institution in American history.  The unprecedented size of the payment – and the stringent compliance measures EDMC has accepted – reflect the fact that this kind of abuse hurts not only taxpayers, but also the students – many of them non-traditional learners like veterans, older individuals and working parents – who trusted EDMC to provide an education that would address their individual needs.  EDMC’s actions were not only a betrayal of their students’ trust; they were a violation of federal law.

This resolution exemplifies the Justice Department’s deep commitment to protecting precious public resources; to promoting compliance with the law; and to standing up for those who are vulnerable to exploitation.  It is an extraordinary accomplishment both for the men and women who fought to achieve it and for future EDMC students – and students at educational institutions across the country – who will no longer be victimized by unacceptable recruitment practices.  In the days ahead, we will continue working with our invaluable partners at the Department of Education – through initiatives like the inter-agency task force on for-profit education – to ensure that our nation’s aspiring learners are finding and gaining access to educational opportunities that are right for them and that will help them thrive and achieve for many years to come.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at Press Conference Announcing $95.5 Million Settlement with For-Profit College Company, Washington, DC Monday, November 16, 2015

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Judge grants FinCEN a “do over” for its FBME Bank determination, but will FinCEN release the evidence?

Posted by William Byrnes on November 10, 2015


Several of my blog readers have been following FinCEN’s first use (and abuse alleges the FBMEFinCEN-logo-shieldbank, defendant of this contentious matter) of the PATRIOT Act’s power allowing FinCEN to block a foreign financial institution from the US financial market.  Over the past year, FinCEN has published a couple press releases referring to its action against FMBE, and that its action is justified based on the nefarious behavior of some of FBME’s clients.  See FinCEN Cuts FBME Bank from Access to U.S. Financial System

But, there are generally two or more perspectives for any story.  FBME has fought back against FinCEN’s determination, and at least convinced a judge that there is more here going on than meet’s the eye.  See FBME Bank Obtains Preliminary Injunction Against FinCEN

On Friday, FinCEN agreed to a “do-over” of its determination with FBME, and to disclose ‘four’ items of the substantial evidence upon which it relied (but not the other evidence).  Of course this heightens the interest in the evidence that FinCEN will not disclose.

At the core of this case for FBME is whether FinCEN must disclose to FBME all the evidence that it relied upon to make a determination to ban FBME from the US financial system.  Who is to determine if such evidence is protected by national security interests?  FinCEN itself, or the judiciary?  Should a defendant have to defend against non-reviewed evidence?  What if the evidence is hearsay, by example – newspaper accounts?

So, now I am curious if the doctrine of due process has been afforded FBME bank?  And if the rules of evidence have been followed?

Some respondents will point out that a civil action, such as FinCEN, does not require the heightened protections of the doctrine of due process and the rules of evidence that apply to an individual’s criminal investigation.  “The government giveth the license to carry on commerce, and the government taketh away that license.”  Though I disagree with that bifurcation from a political philosophy and from a rule of law perspective, the Courts lean in the respondents’ favor.

In FBME’s situation, this FinCEN determination impacts FBME maintaining a correspondent banking relationship in the US, and also implies to other regulators that they should evaluate FBME’s activities in light of FinCEN’s determination.  It is the equivalent of a banking death sentence.

Given the public nature of FinCEN’s allegations, not sure how FBME can obtain a correspondent U.S. banking relationship in the future.  But BNP pled guilty to funding genocidal regimes and Iran, was given a setence of five year probabtion and nearly $10 billion in fines.  No BNP employees went to prison, or even paid a fine.  And BNP is operating in the US.  (see BNP Paribas Criminally Sentenced for Financing Sudan, Iran and Cuba)  A search of this blog will find numerous like situations of criminal activity at banks, a non-prosecution agreement, and the bank continues on.

Why is FBME being treated differently?  Should it be?  Questions that we cannot provide an opinion upon because we have limited information.

In consideration of the many other banks that have been fined for AML and/or OFAC transgressions, the FBME case stands out because of the severity of the sanction and the lack of background information about FinCEN’s action.

FBME states in its press releases that it has been cooperating with FinCEN over the course of FinCEN’s investigation.  However, alleges FBME, FinCEN has not been cooperating with FBME because FinCEN will not present the evidence at the heart of the matter upon which FinCEN bases it allegations against FBME upon.  FBME argues that it cannot defend against “secret” evidence.  FinCEN retorts that the evidence is required to remain secret as a matter of national security.  Sounds reminiscent of a Star Chamber.  I thought we don’t like Star Chambers in America?  

If this is national security protected evidence, should at least the FISA tribunal be presented with it and agree?  It’s not the correct forum, but better than a single executive branch serving as its own prosecutor, judge, and executioner.

Read the court documents and excerpts from the Judgement – Is FinCEN Becoming a Star Chamber? The Curious FBME case

Posted in Financial Crimes | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

FATCA, CDOT, and CRS milestones represented on one page

Posted by William Byrnes on November 9, 2015


Prof. Haydon P. Perryman, CGMA

Source: Home

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Will the USA Follow the EU Commission and Create Tax Haven Black Lists? Ways & Means Ponders This Question.

Posted by William Byrnes on November 3, 2015


http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/intfinlaw/2015/11/will-the-usa-follow-the-eu-commission-and-create-tax-haven-black-lists-ways-means-ponders-this-quest.html

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OECD’s Exchange of Information Statement of Outcomes of October 29-30 Annual Meeting

Posted by William Byrnes on November 3, 2015


http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/intfinlaw/2015/11/oecds-exchange-of-information-statement-of-outcomes-of-october-29-30-annual-meeting-.html

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Starbucks and Fiat – EU Commission finds Transfer Pricing State Aid, Rules Must Pay Back Since 2008

Posted by William Byrnes on October 22, 2015


Both these cases (replicated below) represent the first salvo by the EU Commission to establish that it has the authority, under a State Aid premise, to step into the shoes of the national revenue authority and re-allocate profits of an enterprise according to the EU Commission’s interpretation and analysis of the arm’s length concept.  

But importantly, these cases also, I think, exhibit the trepidation  of the EU Commission because of several weaknesses in its arguments, and even more so, in the geopolitical ramifications.   The trepidation is illustrated by the very low adjustments the EU Commission made – enough to be noticed but de minimis in the context of corporate annual profits, corporate profit accumulation over time (e.g. perpetual deferral), and corporate tax reserves.  

Starbucks potential EU alleged 30 million Euro re-capture tax bill, dating back to accumulation from 2008, will  – if Starbucks did not challenge the decision up through the EU Court Of Justice which is highly unlikely – be offset by a tax credit of like amount and thus a wash out.  To small to be noticeable to Starbucks shareholders or to the US Treasury.

Had the EU Commission found, as it alluded that it is able to, that the State Aid amounted to the hundreds of millions or even a couple billion, the intensity of the EU Commission-National government conflict would have changed, and the EU Commission would have lost that battle with the stakes so high.  

More so a danger, the US Treasury would have been forced to act as if a trade war had broken out. Treasury beating up on Starbucks for transfer pricing out of the US tax base is OK because Starbucks in a US company, as far as the US Treasury is concerned.  Starbucks represents potential US deficit reduction tax dollars.  

Had the EU Commission decided for a large amount, which would have represented a significant subsidy from the US to EU national budgets and/or a significant subsidy from US retirement system shareholders to EU budgets, one might imagine the joint-Republican Democratic Senate hearing called by Washington state’s two Democratic senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. That hearing would conclude a joint statement to Treasury demanding it report back how it intends to implement a tit-for-tat strategy against EU companies to extract an equally amount pulled from the bowels of Starbucks reserves.   Throw in enough US multinationals with HQs in the various states such as New York, Illinois, California and Texas,  Congress may actually in rare bipartisan stature pass tit-for-tat legislation by year end. 

But the EU Commission instead chose to bark loudly but withhold its bite.  Probably it has avoided the worst case scenarios of political warfare presented above.  With such a small award, the various stakeholders will let the inevitable ECJ process run its course.  Or maybe, the US Congress and US Treasury will understand that true ramifications of today’s EU Commission decisions, and even for one US dollar at stake, will go to the mat on behalf of Starbucks, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc 

___________

Today the European Commission decided that Luxembourg and the Netherlands have grantedEU Commissionselective tax advantages to Fiat Finance and Trade and Starbucks, respectively. These are illegal under EU state aid rules.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, stated: “Tax rulings that artificially reduce a company’s tax burden are not in line with EU state aid rules. They are illegal. I hope that, with today’s decisions, this message will be heard by Member State governments and companies alike. All companies, big or small, multinational or not, should pay their fair share of tax.”

Following in-depth investigations, which were launched in June 2014, the Commission has concluded that Luxembourg has granted selective tax advantages to Fiat’s financing company and the Netherlands to Starbucks’ coffee roasting company. In each case, a tax ruling issued by the respective national tax authority artificially lowered the tax paid by the company.

Tax rulings as such are perfectly legal. They are comfort letters issued by tax authorities to give a company clarity on how its corporate tax will be calculated or on the use of special tax provisions. However, the two tax rulings under investigation endorsed artificial and complex methods to establish taxable profits for the companies. They do not reflect economic reality. This is done, in particular, by setting prices for goods and services sold between companies of the Fiat and Starbucks groups (so-called “transfer prices”) that do not correspond to market conditions. As a result, most of the profits of Starbucks’ coffee roasting company are shifted abroad, where they are also not taxed, and Fiat’s financing company only paid taxes on underestimated profits.

This is illegal under EU state aid rules: Tax rulings cannot use methodologies, no matter how complex, to establish transfer prices with no economic justification and which unduly shift profits to reduce the taxes paid by the company. It would give that company an unfair competitive advantage over other companies (typically SMEs) that are taxed on their actual profits because they pay market prices for the goods and services they use.

Therefore, the Commission has ordered Luxembourg and the Netherlands to recover the unpaid tax from Fiat and Starbucks, respectively, in order to remove the unfair competitive advantage they have enjoyed and to restore equal treatment with other companies in similar situations. The amounts to recover are €20 – €30 million for each company. It also means that the companies can no longer continue to benefit from the advantageous tax treatment granted by these tax rulings.

Furthermore, the Commission continues to pursue its inquiry into tax rulings practices in all EU Member States. It cannot prejudge the opening of additional formal investigations into tax rulings if it has indications that EU state aid rules are not being complied with. Its existing formal investigations into tax rulings in Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg are ongoing. Each of the cases is assessed on its merits and today’s decisions do not prejudge the outcome of the Commission’s ongoing probes.

Fiat

Fiat Finance and Trade, based in Luxembourg, provides financial services, such as intra-group loans, to other Fiat group car companies. It engages in many different transactions with Fiat group companies in Europe.

The Commission’s investigation showed that a tax ruling issued by the Luxembourg authorities in 2012 gave a selective advantage to Fiat Finance and Trade, which has unduly reduced its tax burden since 2012 by €20 – €30 million.

Given that Fiat Finance and Trade’s activities are comparable to those of a bank, the taxable profits for Fiat Finance and Trade can be determined in a similar way as for a bank, as a calculation of return on capital deployed by the company for its financing activities. However, the tax ruling endorses an artificial and extremely complex methodology that is not appropriate for the calculation of taxable profits reflecting market conditions. In particular, it artificially lowers taxes paid by Fiat Finance and Trade in two ways:

  • Due to a number of economically unjustifiable assumptions and down-ward adjustments, the capital base approximated by the tax ruling is much lower thanthe company’s actual capital.
  • The estimated remuneration applied to this already much lower capital for tax purposes is also much lower compared to market rates.

As a result, Fiat Finance and Trade has only paid taxes on a small portion of its actual accounting capital at a very low remuneration. As a matter of principle, if the taxable profits are calculated based on capital, the level of capitalisation in the company has to be adequate compared to financial industry standards. Additionally, the remuneration applied has to correspond to market conditions. The Commission’s assessment showed that in the case of Fiat Finance and Trade, if the estimations of capital and remuneration applied had corresponded to market conditions, the taxable profits declared in Luxembourg would have been 20 times higher.

Fiat graph

Starbucks

Starbucks Manufacturing EMEA BV (“Starbucks Manufacturing”), based in the Netherlands, is the only coffee roasting company in the Starbucks group in Europe. It sells and distributes roasted coffee and coffee-related products (e.g. cups, packaged food, pastries) to Starbucks outlets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The Commission’s investigation showed that a tax ruling issued by the Dutch authorities in 2008 gave a selective advantage to Starbucks Manufacturing, which has unduly reduced Starbucks Manufacturing’s tax burden since 2008 by €20 – €30 million. In particular, the ruling artificially lowered taxes paid by Starbucks Manufacturing in two ways:

  • Starbucks Manufacturing pays a very substantial royalty to Alki (a UK-based company in the Starbucks group) for coffee-roasting know-how.
  • It also pays an inflated price for green coffee beans to Switzerland-based Starbucks Coffee Trading SARL.

The Commission’s investigation established that the royalty paid by Starbucks Manufacturing to Alki cannot be justified as it does not adequately reflect market value. In fact, only Starbucks Manufacturing is required to pay for using this know-how – no other Starbucks group company nor independent roasters to which roasting is outsourced are required to pay a royalty for using the same know-how in essentially the same situation. In the case of Starbucks Manufacturing, however, the existence and level of the royalty means that a large part of its taxable profits are unduly shifted to Alki, which is neither liable to pay corporate tax in the UK, nor in the Netherlands.

Furthermore, the investigation revealed that Starbucks Manufacturing’s tax base is also unduly reduced by the highly inflated price it pays for green coffee beans to a Swiss company, Starbucks Coffee Trading SARL. In fact, the margin on the beans has more than tripled since 2011. Due to this high key cost factor in coffee roasting, Starbucks Manufacturing’s coffee roasting activities alone would not actually generate sufficient profits to pay the royalty for coffee-roasting know-how to Alki. The royalty therefore mainly shifts to Alki profits generated from sales of other products sold to the Starbucks outlets, such as tea, pastries and cups, which represent most of the turnover of Starbucks Manufacturing.

Starbucks graph

Recovery

As a matter of principle, EU state aid rules require that incompatible state aid is recovered in order to reduce the distortion of competition created by the aid. In its two decisions the Commission has set out the methodology to calculate the value of the undue competitive advantage enjoyed by Fiat and Starbucks, i.e. the difference between what the company paid and what it would have paid without the tax ruling. This amount is €20 – €30 million for each of Fiat and Starbucks but the precise amounts of tax to be recovered must now be determined by the Luxembourg and Dutch tax authorities on the basis of the methodology established in the Commission decisions.

New investigative tools

In the two investigations the Commission has for the first time used information request tools under a Council decision by Member States of July 2013 (Regulation 734/2013). Using these powers the Commission can, if the information provided by the Member State subject to the state aid investigation is not sufficient, ask that any other Member State as well as companies (including the company benefitting from the aid measure or its competitors) provide directly to the Commission all market information necessary to enable it to complete its state aid assessment. These new tools form part of the State Aid Modernisation initiative launched by the Commission in 2012 to allow it to concentrate its enforcement efforts on aid that is most liable to distort competition.

Further background

Since June 2013, the Commission has been investigating the tax ruling practices of Member States. It extended this information inquiry to all Member States in December 2014. The Commission also has three ongoing in-depth investigations where it raised concerns that tax rulings may give rise to state aid issues, concerning Apple in IrelandAmazon in Luxembourg, and a Belgian tax scheme.

The fight against tax evasion and tax fraud is one of the top priorities of this Commission. In June 2015, the Commission unveiled a series of initiatives to tackle tax avoidance, secure sustainable tax revenues and strengthen the Single Market for businesses. The proposed measures, part of theCommission’s Action Plan for fair and effective taxation, aim to significantly improve the corporate tax environment in the EU, making it fairer, more efficient and more growth-friendly. Key actions included a framework to ensure effective taxation where profits are generated and a strategy to re-launch the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) for which a fresh proposal is expected in the course of 2016. The Tax Transparency Package presented by the Commission in March also had its first success in October 2015 when Member States reached a political agreement on an automatic exchange of information on tax rulings following only seven months of negotiations. This legislation will contribute to bringing about a much greater degree of transparency and will act as a deterrent from using tax rulings as an instrument for tax abuse – good news for businesses and for consumers who will continue to benefit from this very useful tax practice but under very strict scrutiny in order to ensure a framework for fair tax competition.

The non-confidential version of the decisions will be made available under the case numbers SA.38375 (Fiat) and SA.38374 (Starbucks) in the State aid register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. The State Aid Weekly e-News lists new publications of State aid decisions on the internet and in the EU Official Journal.

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New Lexis Advance® Tax Platform Now Available to Law School Faculty & Students; Cutting-Edge International Tax Titles

Posted by William Byrnes on October 22, 2015


On June 1, LexisNexis launched its new online tax research platform called Lexis Advance® Tax.

Already available to America’s law school faculty and students, it includes a rich, comprehensive package of nearly 1,400 sources, including tax news, primary law, journals and nearly 300 treatises, practice guides and forms products for both tax and estates lawyers.

Along with news, another strong area for L.A. Tax is its subpage devoted to International Tax. There, users will find a selection01701_11_1_cover of titles examining hot, cutting-edge issues like: Lexis Guide to FATCA Compliance, the Lexis global guide to anti-money laundering laws around the world, and the recently-revised Foreign Tax & Trade Briefs, 2nd Ed, which provides summaries of each country’s tax system and laws.

All of these titles are produced by a team of tax experts led by Professor William H. Byrnes, Associate Dean, International Financial Law, at Texas A&M University Law School, in Fort Worth, the newest law school in Texas. See https://law.tamu.edu/

Looking for Lexis Advance Tax?
Sign in to www.lexisadvance.com, look for the pull-down menu called “Lexis Advance Research” in the upper-left corner. Click the down arrow and select Lexis Advance Tax.

If you have questions or would like to schedule a short training, please contact your LexisNexis® Account Executive.

– See more at: http://www.lexisnexis.com/lextalk/legal-content-insider/f/21/t/2525.aspx?utm_content=2015-10-20+15:00:04#sthash.szct2yk6.dpuf

Posted in BEPS, FATCA, Financial Crimes, Money Laundering, Taxation, Transfer Pricing | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Offshore Compliance Peetering Out

Posted by William Byrnes on October 20, 2015


read the analysis at International Financial Law Prof Blog

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Medicare Premiums to Surge in 2016 for Some Seniors, But No Cost of Living Adjustments for Social Security

Posted by William Byrnes on October 19, 2015


Old age and survivors, disabled workers and SSI recipients — will not see a COLA increase in benefits next year for the third time since 2009.

But Social Security beneficiaries with higher incomes will see increases in their premiums for Medicare Part B, which pays for physicians’ bills, outpatient care, durable medical devices and other goods and services.

James J. Green explains the impact of the Medicare Part B premium cost increases for Seniors on ThinkAdvisor and the lack of increase of social security benefits.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

International Tax News Headlines

Posted by William Byrnes on October 19, 2015


No Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment, 3rd Time Since 2009, But Medicare Premiums Surging for Some

James Green, Group Editorial Director, Investment Advisor Group analyzes the 2016 coming tragedy for a large segment of retirees – Medicare premiums will surge but the Social Security payment to pay it will not increase one cent. Read his analysis…

New OECD CRS web portal for automatic exchange of information opens

The OECD launched its new portal on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI). It provides a comprehensive overview of the work of the OECD and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in the area of…

EU Commission Updates Black Listed Countries by Member States

EU Commission Updates Black Listed Countries by Member StatesPosted: 16 Oct 2015 01:26 AM PDT

Another UBS Banker Avoids Jail

Bloomberg reported that the former UBS Swiss banker Hansruedi Schumacher who plead guilty to assisting US clients evade taxes will not go to jail. Instead, he will pay a $150,000 fine and be sentenced to probation in reward for testifying…

OECD BEPS Video & PPT

Senior members from the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA) commented on the final outputs of the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Project Shifting Project, including the next steps and the involvement of developing countries. See yesterday’s post with…

OECD Releases All Final BEPS Reports – Links Herein

The OECD presented today the final package of measures for a comprehensive, coherent and co- ordinated reform of the international tax rules to be discussed by G20 Finance Ministers at their meeting on 8 October, in Lima, Peru. The OECD/G20…

U.S. Begins Reciprocal Automatic Exchange of FATCA Information With Foreign Governments

The Internal Revenue Service today announced the exchange of financial account information with certain foreign tax administrations, meeting a key Sept. 30 milestone related to FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. To achieve this, the IRS successfully and timely…OECD launches report on greater co-operation and information sharing between government agencies to counter financial crimes

Vast amounts are lost to illicit financial flows, including tax evasion, money laundering, bribery and corruption. These crimes threaten the strategic, political and economic interests of both developed and developing countries. In a world of limited resources and increasing complexity,…

FATCA Deadlines Postponed Again – Notice 2015-66 Released

Extension of FATCA Transitional Rules for Gross Proceeds, Foreign Passthru Payments, Limited Branches and Limited FFIs, and Sponsored Entities; Reporting of 2014 Information under a Model 1 IGA; and Modification to Grandfathered Obligation Rule with Respect to Collateral Notice 2015-66…

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Higher Education 3.0 – Business Education Worldwide – Boom or Bust

Posted by William Byrnes on October 16, 2015


Dr. George Mentz writes: “After a review of the top 200 schools in the USA and an analysis of the top business schools and law schools, top educational institutions will either need to innovate or die. …” read his analysis on LinkedIn’s Blog

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Texas A&M University Law is seeking to hire two new admission department team members

Posted by William Byrnes on October 16, 2015


The two new positions and application procedures are:

1. https://jobpath.tamu.edu/postings/89638

2. https://jobpath.tamu.edu/postings/88388

Please pass on these positions to potential interested persons.

Posted in Courses | Leave a Comment »

New Lexis Advance® Tax Platform Now Available to Law School Faculty & Students; Highlights Include Cutting-Edge International Tax Titles

Posted by William Byrnes on October 15, 2015


On June 1, LexisNexis launched its new online tax research platform called Lexis Advance® Tax.

Already available to America’s law school faculty and students, it includes a rich, comprehensive package of nearly 1,400 sources, including tax news, primary law, journals and nearly 300 treatises, practice guides and forms products for both tax and estates lawyers.

Along with news, another strong area for L.A. Tax is its subpage devoted to International Tax. There, users will find a selection01701_11_1_cover of titles examining hot, cutting-edge issues like: Lexis Guide to FATCA Compliance, the Lexis global guide to anti-money laundering laws around the world, and the recently-revised Foreign Tax & Trade Briefs, 2nd Ed, which provides summaries of each country’s tax system and laws.

All of these titles are produced by a team of tax experts led by Professor William H. Byrnes, Associate Dean, International Financial Law, at Texas A&M University Law School, in Fort Worth, the newest law school in Texas. See https://law.tamu.edu/

Looking for Lexis Advance Tax?
Sign in to www.lexisadvance.com, look for the pull-down menu called “Lexis Advance Research” in the upper-left corner. Click the down arrow and select Lexis Advance Tax.

If you have questions or would like to schedule a short training, please contact your LexisNexis® Account Executive.

– See more at: http://www.lexisnexis.com/lextalk/legal-content-insider/f/21/t/2525.aspx?utm_content=2015-10-20+15:00:04#sthash.szct2yk6.dpuf

Posted in BEPS, book, FATCA, Money Laundering | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

IRS Implementing FATCA Compliance, TIGTA Audit Concludes

Posted by William Byrnes on October 14, 2015


A TIGTA audit was initiated to assess the IRS’s progress in implementing the FATCA.  TIGTA found that the IRS has taken steps to provide information to affected stakeholders thatTigtalogo explains the FATCA requirements and expectations.

However, TIGTA identified improvements that are required to ensure compliance and to measure performance for foreign financial institutions.  TIGTA also identified some limitations with the processing of paper Forms 8938.  Specifically:

  • Transcribed data are not validated to ensure accuracy.
  • Data on Form 8938 continuation statements (used to report additional foreign accounts or other foreign assets) are not transcribed.
  • Losses reported by taxpayers cannot be input as negative amounts.

If these issues are not properly addressed, it could limit management’s ability to make informed decisions and achieve the IRS’s compliance objectives related to the FATCA.

TIGTA recommended that the IRS:

  1. update the compliance activities in the FATCA Compliance Roadmap for identifying noncompliance by foreign financial institutions;
  2. initiate a periodic quality review process for the processing of paper Forms 8938 to ensure the accuracy of the data being transcribed; and
  3. ensure that the transcription issues identified in this report are addressed.

The IRS agreed with the first two recommendations but disagreed with some programming changes related to the third recommendation due to budgetary constraints, limited resources, and competing priorities.  The accuracy of the data obtained from Forms 8938 is a critical component for the success of the IRS’s compliance activities with implementing the FATCA.  As such, TIGTA believes that the IRS should make these programming changes a priority.

Lexis Guide to FATCA Compliance – 2015 Edition 

1,200 pages of analysis of the compliance challenges, over 54 chapters by 70 FATCA contributing experts from over 30 countries.  Besides in-depth, practical analysis, the 2015 edition includes examples, charts, time lines, links to source documents, and compliance analysis pursuant to the IGA and local regulations for many U.S. trading partners and financial centers.   The Lexis Guide to FATCA Compliance, designed from interviews with over 100 financial institutions and professional firms, is a primary reference source for financial institutions and service providers, advisors and government departments.  No filler of forms and regs – it’s all beef !  See Lexis’ order site – http://www.lexisnexis.com/store/catalog/booktemplate/productdetail.jsp?pageName=relatedProducts&prodId=prod19190327

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Dr. Chris Odionu joins Texas A&M Law

Posted by William Byrnes on October 13, 2015


Texas A&M University School of Law announces the hiring of Dr. Chris Odionu as the Director of Odionu
Distance Education Programs and adjunct professor teaching project management. His prior positions include director of the System-Wide Center for Distributed Learning at California State University, chief information officer and associate professor of technology at Alabama A&M University. He also served as chief information officer at a number of institutions including University of Detroit Mercy, St John’s University in Jamaica – Queens, New York, and the Minnesota Community College System at Normandale Community College.

“Chris’ multi-disciplinary reach of engineering, IT, project management and a doctorate in education is going to propel Texas A&M Law’s pedagogical approach to the frontier for career based law programs, said William Byrnes, Executive Professor and Associate Dean. “By example, Texas A&M’s Business Law focus is to mentor the Aggie to add value and generate revenue.  The process requires the Aggie to learn a business by studying its language, its industry, and commonalities among all business such as supply chain and project management.  Dr. Chris Odionu is a distinguishing hire by a law school because he brings these perspectives to the table.”

“I am excited joining the TAMU School of Law and working with Professor Byrnes to establish world-class graduate law programs,” replied Dr. Odionu. “It is interesting to see law schools finally using the strengths offered by technology to deliver courses and degree programs online.”

Chris is a fellow of the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM), and certified in the governance of enterprise information technology, and in risk and information systems control (CRISC). He received his bachelor’s degree in technology, MBA, and doctorate in educational technology and administration from the University of Houston. He served as an administrative fellow in a year-long academic program at Harvard University where he earned a certificate in administration.

“Chris’ hands-on understanding of big data and data warehouse techniques combined with his background as an associate professor of information systems is going to distinguish Texas A&M’s curriculum, particularly in tax and business,” added Andrew P. Morriss, Dean and Anthony G. Buzbee Dean’s Endowed Chair.  “His background will also immediately translate into a project management course for law students and lawyers, which is fast becoming a crucial skill for lawyers.  And he will be providing a unique exposure for our students to the best practices in tax risk management.”

Chris has two children – Janelle, a student at Cornell University, and Christian, Jr., who plays high school basketball.

Posted in Education Theory | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

EU Agrees on the Automatic Exchange of Tax Rulings – Transfer Pricing Audits Expected

Posted by William Byrnes on October 8, 2015


European Union (EU) Ministers for Economy and Finance met in Luxembourg EU Commissionfor an ECOFIN Council chaired by the Luxembourg Minister for Finance Pierre Gramegna. The Ministers expressed their political agreement on a proposed Directive on the automatic exchange of information (AEI) on tax rulings.

On the basis of a compromise agreement brokered by the Luxembourg Presidency, the Council expressed its political agreement on a proposed Directive designed to improve transparency in the context of advance cross-border tax rulings, by making their automatic exchange between tax administrations compulsory.

The proposed Directive [Download EU AEOI TP] is part of a series of measures presented in March 2015 which aim to prevent tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning by companies. It aims to modify Directive 2011/16/EU on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation, which defines the practical terms and conditions for exchanging information in order to include advance tax rulings.  The Directive requires Member States to proceed with AIE in the field of advance cross-border tax rulings, as well as advance pricing agreements. The Commission will implement a secure central directory, accessible to all Member States and the Commission, where the information exchanged will be stored.

Posted in BEPS, Transfer Pricing | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The Best U.S. News Voter Swag: Texas A&M

Posted by William Byrnes on October 7, 2015


TaxProf Blog provides news, information and resources for tax professors.

Source: TaxProf Blog

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

OECD BEPS Explanatory Video & PPT (90 minutes)

Posted by William Byrnes on October 6, 2015


Senior members from the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA) commented on the final outputs of the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Project Shifting Project, including the next steps and the involvement of developing countries.  See yesterday’s post with the download link for each BEP report: OECD Releases All Final BEPS Reports – Links Herein

—> Download PPT “Beps-webcast-8-launch-2015-final-reports”.

Posted in BEPS, OECD | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

 
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