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U.S. Tax & Legal Consequences for Foreign Investors and Potential Residents

Foreign investors and potential residents must understand that U.S. tax residency can occur, whether or not they have permanent residence for immigration purposes.

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Offshore Tax Amnesty Reopened Today

The Internal Revenue Service just announced the reopening of a special voluntary disclosure initiative designed to bring offshore money back into the U.S. tax system and help people with undisclosed income from hidden offshore accounts get current with their taxes.

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The Truth About 1031 Exchanges

A 1031 Exchange is a method by which a property owner “trades” one property (“relinquished property”) for another of equal or greater value (“replacement property”) without having to pay any taxes on the transaction. In an ordinary sale transaction, the property owner is taxed on any gain realized by the sale of the property.

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Green Card Holders May Not Yet Be Domiciled in the U.S. for Estate & Gift Tax Purposes

If you are considering moving to the United States, you need to consider your tax status for both U.S. income tax purposes and U.S. estate and gift tax purposes.[1] Even if you have already obtained lawful permanent residence status (your “Green Card”), you may not yet be subject to U.S. estate and gift tax as a U.S. “domiciliary”.

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So You Have Unreported Foreign Bank Accounts & Income, Now What?

With limited exceptions, every American citizen, permanent resident and even residents for tax purposes with direct or indirect ownership or control over a foreign financial account must report those accounts on Treasury Department form TD F 90-22.1, more commonly known as the FBAR [Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report].

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Life Insurance Proceeds can be Taxed up to 40% if not Structured Properly

Life Insurance is an excellent, asset-protected tool for estate planning. For example, if your estate will contain substantial “hard” assets, such as business interests or real estate, the cash proceeds of a life insurance policy can allow your heirs to pay your estate taxes without having to liquidate any assets. And your beneficiaries can receive the proceeds of your life insurance policy tax free.

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Reducing Taxation for Foreigners Investing in U.S. Real Property

Now is perhaps a better time than ever to invest in U.S. real estate for both income and long-term appreciation. However, as can be expected, the U.S. seeks to tax the appreciation on these properties when they are sold and tax their value when transferred by gift or upon death. This tax burden falls heavier on foreigners, because foreigners don’t enjoy certain credits and deductions reserved to U.S. persons.

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Your Second to Last Will: The Benefits of Using Living Trusts

As the saying goes, one should hope for the best but plan for the worst. Some of our clients come to us asking for a “simple will”, because they want to leave “everything to their spouse and then to their children equally” and they hope for the best. Our job is to plan for other possibilities and that means recognizing that death may not be the worst case scenario.

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I Just Need a Simple Will…

Friends, this just is not ever the case. We love simple and elegant solutions to complex problems as much as anyone, but the cold, hard truth is that no mere Last Will & Testament can provide for all the legal and financial challenges our loved ones will face upon our death or incapacity.

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Major Points to Consider in a Commercial Lease: Landlord’s Perspective

From the landlord’s perspective, a tightly drafted lease can mean the difference between breaking even on a problem tenant or being forced to throw good money after bad just to force the tenant to vacate the premises and start from scratch. Lease provisions can be carefully crafted to avoid this situation and put the landlord in a superior position without being so unreasonable as to be unenforceable.

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