T.W. Lewis & Co., LLC is a New York law firm that offers legal advice and representation in the following areas:

355 LEXINGTON AVE., 20th Fl.
NEW YORK, NY 10017
(b/w 40th and 41st streets)

TEL: (212) 785 7600
Fax (212) 967 7633

INFO@TWLLAW.COM
MAP LOCATION

International Taxation

We regularly counsel individual and business clients concerning the nuances of the U.S. tax regime and the interrelation of the U.S. tax regime with the tax laws of other countries pursuant to tax treaties.

Inbound Taxation

Foreign individuals and businesses are increasingly mobile and their activities involve assets, employees and customers within the United States.  Specific matters that we handle include residency determinations for purposes of U.S. federal and state taxation of individuals; investment by foreign businesses and individuals in U.S. real property or entities with ownership of U.S. real property; performance of services on either a temporary or permanent basis.  In many cases, a foreign person will need have to obtain a U.S. taxpayer identification number (ITIN) or a U.S. employer identification number (EIN) which we routinely obtain for our clients.

A significant component of our inbound practice concerns how a foreign investor should structure the entities through which the business and its assets are owned, as well as the number any types of entities that actually perform the U.S. activities.  Depending on the availability of treaty benefits and the nature of the business and assets, it may be preferable for a business to operate as a branch of the foreign parent corporation, or for it to operate as a stand-alone U.S. or foreign entity specifically for U.S. activities.  Real estate ownership also has special requirements based on the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) as applied to foreign individuals and companies.  We prepare reduced withholding certificates and refund filings in connections with dispositions of U.S. real property interests when appropriate. We also prepare U.S. and state personal and business income tax returns for non-U.S. persons.

Outbound Taxation

The U.S. regime of taxing citizens and residents on their worldwide income, which includes foreign-source income, often provides for double taxation of income earned abroad and can conflict with the territorial tax regimes of other countries.  There are two principal mechanisms to address these conflicts–tax treaty planning and claiming foreign tax credits.  In addition, there are various anti-deferral regimes applicable to assets held outside the U.S. and income earned from those assets and business activities conducted outside the U.S.  We prepare

International Estate Planning

The estates of, and gifts by, U.S. citizens and domiciliaries are subject to U.S. estate and gift taxes, as modified by certain income and estate and gift tax treaties that are in effect.  State estate, inheritance and gift taxes may also apply, at far lower thresholds.  A special situation arises when assets are given or bequeathed to a non-US citizen spouse, which requires a Qualified Domestic Trust (QDOT) in most cases to accomplish estate tax deferral until the death of the surviving spouse.

Persons who are neither residents nor citizens of the U.S., referred to as non-resident aliens, are subject to an even less favorable U.S. estate and gift tax regime.  There is no gift tax exemption, and the estate tax exemption only covers the first $60,000 of U.S. situs (essentially, location for tax purposes) assets.  Fortunately, the situs of many types of assets is determined by the residence of the owner, so the principal assets subject to tax are real estate, securities in U.S. companies, and tangible personal property located in the U.S.

In addition, there are significant consequences when a U.S. person is the beneficiary of a foreign trust, and when a U.S. person has an interest in or signing power over a foreign bank account.  Many of our clients are taking advantage of “voluntary disclosure” programs offered by the IRS and some states to file past due filings with minimal exposure to penalties.

The U.S. also imposes a “departure tax” upon expatriation or relinquishment of  green card by certain individuals with a high net worth or income at the time of “departure”.  We assist clients to determine when and if they will be subject to this tax, and if so what can be done to minimize its impact upon their departure.

Sophisticated estate and tax planning is imperative for persons in any of the above situations, and should not be done by a general practitioner or even a trusts and estates practitioner without a strong tax background.  We handle the planning as well as administration, tax return preparation and compliance for estates and trusts with any international component.

Need to apply for an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) without surrendering possession of your passport in the process?  Learn more about our Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA) services: EasyITIN