Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Finance/banking/taxation
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 26.08.2012, 10:28
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Encinitas
Posts: 6
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Diego92024 has no particular reputation at present
2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Hi,

After having returned to U.S. I am filing my U.S. taxes retroactively (having never filed previously).

I am filing last 8 years and need some advice on how to treat the 2nd pillar.

Should I add my yearly contributions to my income or report net? I have records on all my contributions since the beginning, but don't have any records on employer contributions (they don't show up the Lohnausweis and I didn't retain salary slips/pension fund statements), so I don't even know how much those contributions were.

My CPA is suggesting that I report net for last 8 years and pay U.S. income tax on full distribution amount.

Can anybody give me some advice?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 27.08.2012, 16:06
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Aargau
Posts: 105
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 130 Times in 48 Posts
Dual US/Swiss Citizen has no particular reputation at present
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

I would take this advice with a lot of skepticism.
The employer normally sends you a statement once a year where it is written the amount of the employee/employer contribution and the growth.
If you are able to cover your US tax exposure through the FEEI and the foreign tax credit, then it would make more sense to declare it for each of the individual tax years. This is the 'correct' way and if would avoid you having to needlessly fork over a portion of the total distribution amount. If you don't know the amount, you could retroactively ask your former employer to give you a summary overview broken down per year. If you can't get the info from your employer, you could try to back calculate the amounts per year although this could cause some small errors on a per year basis even if correct when looking at the entire 8 year period.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 27.08.2012, 16:29
JBZ86's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Zurich and various mountains
Posts: 3,899
Groaned at 522 Times in 331 Posts
Thanked 4,048 Times in 1,863 Posts
JBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Request from your employer (ex) the yearly contributions they made. They should be able to provide you with this.

Here is some guidance that should help:

1. If you are reporting your gross salary on line 7, which you should be, then you do not report your contributions additionally, as they are paid from your gross salary. Thus, they are taxed as part of your gross salary and included in basis.

2. In practice, when an employers contribution is not known and/or proving difficult to obtain, a matching contribution is often assumed. I believe all employers match at the very least. Report as income and again, include a basis tracker to the return, and for your files, so you can monitor your basis in the plan i.e. the amount you have already / going to pay tax on.

3. The Pillar 2 employer contributions are non-qualifying income for Foreign Earned Income Exclusion purposes i.e. the FEIE can not offset this income.

4. The Pillar 2 pension contributions include a risk element, both the Employers and your own. The Risk element can be excluded with the FEIE, however, the Risk element does not constitute basis in the plan, as it is never paid out. The risk is an insurance if you will, i.e. a taxable benefit to insure the plan should anything happens to you.

5. It would be preferable in my opinion to get yearly breakdown of contributions, along with yearly growth, so you can report the growth as interest income yearly too. If you are able to report all contributions less risk, plus growth, then your only US tax exposure at distribution is any differential prior to the 8 years you are catching up that has not been reported, if applicable, again assuming you maintain any growth reporting going forwards. Have you already received the distribution or set to receive it shortly by virtue of you returning to the US?

On a side note, are you catching up via the offshore voluntary disclosure program? Or are you doing whats called a "silent disclosure" and just back filing 8 years? Or are you kind of doing a silent disclosure, but with a reasonable cause argument?

Please also note, you if you have not done so, you will need to file your 90-22.1 also, the Foreign Bank Account Report form, or if you have been filing them each year, but not reporting all of your accounts, you need to file amended versions with your returns.

If you are not going through the offshore disclosure program, without wanting to sound to scare mongering, I would hope you have sought out some very sound professional advice. The penalties can be a lot higher outside of the program initiatives. Likewise, in the case of Foreign Bank Account Reports, should this be applicable, you will want an experienced professional to handle the negotiation of penalty application. If you are making a reasonable cause argument, there are set protocols to follow, and likewise and application of Wilful vs Non-Wilful penalties, which are determined by various account balance thresholds and certain arguments that can be made to determine wilful or non-wilfulness.

Without meaning to sound disrespectful, I would certainly probe your US CPA on how many of these kind of cases they have handled, as my experience is many of the domestic CPAs do not have such a handle on these foreign issues for US expats. At the end of the day, it is your compliance costs and liabilities, penalties and interest at stake and you will want to explore the most cost effective method with experienced professionals in this area.
__________________
Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary, Blaise Pascal

Last edited by JBZ86; 27.08.2012 at 16:39.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank JBZ86 for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 27.08.2012, 17:40
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Encinitas
Posts: 6
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Diego92024 has no particular reputation at present
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

1. If you are reporting your gross salary on line 7, which you should be, then you do not report your contributions additionally, as they are paid from your gross salary. Thus, they are taxed as part of your gross salary and included in basis.

Yes I am doing that, but we changed it to net since I am playing catch up and intend to go through the OVDI program.

2. In practice, when an employers contribution is not known and/or proving difficult to obtain, a matching contribution is often assumed. I believe all employers match at the very least. Report as income and again, include a basis tracker to the return, and for your files, so you can monitor your basis in the plan i.e. the amount you have already / going to pay tax on.

My problem is that I was contributing for over 20 years (multiple employers) and didn't keep the annual statements, so I figure your suggestion makes sense, so I would change everything to gross again and then subtract the match.

Out of curiosity, why is the employer contribution not taxable? (was it taxed already?)

4. The Pillar 2 pension contributions include a risk element, both the Employers and your own. The Risk element can be excluded with the FEIE, however, the Risk element does not constitute basis in the plan, as it is never paid out. The risk is an insurance if you will, i.e. a taxable benefit to insure the plan should anything happens to you.

I guess I can't figure anything here since I don't have the data

5. It would be preferable in my opinion to get yearly breakdown of contributions, along with yearly growth, so you can report the growth as interest income yearly too. If you are able to report all contributions less risk, plus growth, then your only US tax exposure at distribution is any differential prior to the 8 years you are catching up that has not been reported, if applicable, again assuming you maintain any growth reporting going forwards. Have you already received the distribution or set to receive it shortly by virtue of you returning to the US?

All I have is my own contribution reported on the Lohnausweis. Unfortunately, I received the distribution into my bank account in the U.S. since my employer doesn't have a 401K. I could have left it in the vested benefits account but needed the money

I intend to go through OVDI as I never filed in all my working years in Switzerland and believe full disclosure is the only way to go, even if it might be the most expensive.

Please also note, you if you have not done so, you will need to file your 90-22.1 also, the Foreign Bank Account Report form, or if you have been filing them each year, but not reporting all of your accounts, you need to file amended versions with your returns.

I prepared both, but do I have to add the 2nd pillar to the 90-22.1 for all of those years, as like I said I don't have the annual statements any more?

The CPA has never done anything like it unfortunately, but I got duped into working with them through my likewise inexperienced tax attorney, and have already forked out too much money to switch. Add to that the looming deadline which could get very expensive indeed.

Thanks for your advice, much appreciated
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 27.08.2012, 17:46
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Encinitas
Posts: 6
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Diego92024 has no particular reputation at present
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Thank you for the advice. Unfortunately the clock is ticking and I have been contributing over 20 years in all and don't have any records other than my own contributions (arrrghhh!) Only got myself to blame.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 27.08.2012, 18:08
JBZ86's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Zurich and various mountains
Posts: 3,899
Groaned at 522 Times in 331 Posts
Thanked 4,048 Times in 1,863 Posts
JBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post
1. If you are reporting your gross salary on line 7, which you should be, then you do not report your contributions additionally, as they are paid from your gross salary. Thus, they are taxed as part of your gross salary and included in basis.

Yes I am doing that, but we changed it to net since I am playing catch up and intend to go through the OVDI program.

Ah, ok, I think I understand what you mean now. You were going to report Gross salary, less your own contribution, not report the employers, thus the full distribution be taxable.

Ok, well, I would atleast report your salary at gross as you should do, thus covering your half of pension contributions, which is easily trackable with your Lohnausweis. You could always assume a matching amount on Employer to cover majority of basis as mentioned.

2. In practice, when an employers contribution is not known and/or proving difficult to obtain, a matching contribution is often assumed. I believe all employers match at the very least. Report as income and again, include a basis tracker to the return, and for your files, so you can monitor your basis in the plan i.e. the amount you have already / going to pay tax on.

My problem is that I was contributing for over 20 years (multiple employers) and didn't keep the annual statements, so I figure your suggestion makes sense, so I would change everything to gross again and then subtract the match.

Out of curiosity, why is the employer contribution not taxable? (was it taxed already?)

No no, I am not sure you have understood this bit.

The employer contribution IS taxable.

Your contribution is taxed by virtue of reporting your gross salary.

Your employers contribution needs to be added in. As you don't know how much they put in, I would report the same as your contribution for your employer contribution also. This will cover the large majority of the distribution I would imagine for the 8 year period you are playing catch up. But of course, as you have clarfied, theres a good 20 years worth there, so a fair amount will be taxable anyway.

Thus I can understand your accountants approach as its less work for them to treat the whole distriubtion as taxable and not include it in the 8 year catch up / give you any basis. The issue with this is you will likely be at the top rate of tax with the level of income of this distribution (20 years worth).

Possibly you will be in the highest bracket every year anyway even if broken down yearly, it is hard to say with the information to hand, but that is what I would be concerned about. i.e. is the accountant taking a quick reporting method, but exposing the whole distribution to highest rate of tax in doing so. Result, quick prep, good fee, high tax bill.

4. The Pillar 2 pension contributions include a risk element, both the Employers and your own. The Risk element can be excluded with the FEIE, however, the Risk element does not constitute basis in the plan, as it is never paid out. The risk is an insurance if you will, i.e. a taxable benefit to insure the plan should anything happens to you.

I guess I can't figure anything here since I don't have the data

Not if you do not have and can not obtain the info. The concern here therefore is if you report your gross salary and assume a matching employer contribution for Pillar 2, you will overstate your basis somewhat. But I am sure you are not the only who has done that

5. It would be preferable in my opinion to get yearly breakdown of contributions, along with yearly growth, so you can report the growth as interest income yearly too. If you are able to report all contributions less risk, plus growth, then your only US tax exposure at distribution is any differential prior to the 8 years you are catching up that has not been reported, if applicable, again assuming you maintain any growth reporting going forwards. Have you already received the distribution or set to receive it shortly by virtue of you returning to the US?

All I have is my own contribution reported on the Lohnausweis. Unfortunately, I received the distribution into my bank account in the U.S. since my employer doesn't have a 401K. I could have left it in the vested benefits account but needed the money

I intend to go through OVDI as I never filed in all my working years in Switzerland and believe full disclosure is the only way to go, even if it might be the most expensive.

It is not necessarily the most expensive, but it is certainly the least risk approach. No doubt you will hear of people who just sent the returns in and everything was fine no issues. I am sure this is the case, but it is not full proof and the OVDI gives you some protection to full expsure to penalties etc in this regard.

Please also note, you if you have not done so, you will need to file your 90-22.1 also, the Foreign Bank Account Report form, or if you have been filing them each year, but not reporting all of your accounts, you need to file amended versions with your returns.

I prepared both, but do I have to add the 2nd pillar to the 90-22.1 for all of those years, as like I said I don't have the annual statements any more?

This is a grey area, and it is certainly an account I would include prior to 2011, with the 8938 the more sensible reporting form going forwards. A call for your CPA / Attorney to make I guess.

The CPA has never done anything like it unfortunately, but I got duped into working with them through my likewise inexperienced tax attorney, and have already forked out too much money to switch. Add to that the looming deadline which could get very expensive indeed.

Thats a shame. It would benefit you, if you have not done so already to be proactive in this compliance approach. Read the OVDI guidelines, read the FAQs on the IRS website. Look into FBAR penalties i.e. Wilful vs Non-Wilful, ensure you are presenting all these things to your CPA to they are utilizing all resources.

Lastly, ensure they do not bill you for time you spend highlighting things to them, assuming they are not aware of them of course.

Thanks for your advice, much appreciated

Comments above in bold

Last edited by JBZ86; 27.08.2012 at 18:19.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 27.08.2012, 21:14
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: la cote
Posts: 2,446
Groaned at 9 Times in 8 Posts
Thanked 1,731 Times in 1,007 Posts
runningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond repute
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Are you really sure you want to go through OVDI?, it really is like financial suicide.

Sounds like your professionals doing this for you are way over their heads.

I really suggest you read up on a few things at Isaacbrocksociety.ca and Jack Townsends blog http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.ch/ before going the OVDI route.

IRS recently intiated a new programme to help overseas non-compliant taxpayers, ie. for the small fish that do not belong in OVDI. Have a good look at it here http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/...256772,00.html
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank runningdeer for this useful post:
  #8  
Old 27.08.2012, 21:34
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Encinitas
Posts: 6
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Diego92024 has no particular reputation at present
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post
Comments above in bold
Thanks for your kind advice Jordan.

I will try to summarize what I have learnt:

1. I have to report gross including my contributions and matching employer contributions, which will effectively increase taxes owed

2. What, if any, contributions can be deducted (I have mine but not my employers)? Where would they be deducted? (which form/line item). If I can deduct, I will only be able to do for the 8 years right?

In view of my CPA's inexperience with this, I am being proactive and really appreciate experts like yourselves taking your time to help out.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 27.08.2012, 21:39
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Encinitas
Posts: 6
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Diego92024 has no particular reputation at present
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post
Are you really sure you want to go through OVDI?, it really is like financial suicide.

Sounds like your professionals doing this for you are way over their heads.

I really suggest you read up on a few things at Isaacbrocksociety.ca and Jack Townsends blog http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.ch/ before going the OVDI route.

IRS recently intiated a new programme to help overseas non-compliant taxpayers, ie. for the small fish that do not belong in OVDI. Have a good look at it here http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/...256772,00.html
I missed that one, that is great input and food for thought! It's a minefield out there for slackers like me, I guess there are a few of us out there too! Thanks
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 27.08.2012, 22:27
JBZ86's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Zurich and various mountains
Posts: 3,899
Groaned at 522 Times in 331 Posts
Thanked 4,048 Times in 1,863 Posts
JBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post
Are you really sure you want to go through OVDI?, it really is like financial suicide.

Sounds like your professionals doing this for you are way over their heads.

I really suggest you read up on a few things at Isaacbrocksociety.ca and Jack Townsends blog http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.ch/ before going the OVDI route.

IRS recently intiated a new programme to help overseas non-compliant taxpayers, ie. for the small fish that do not belong in OVDI. Have a good look at it here http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/...256772,00.html
The OVDI is often the safest route, even if costly still. But then taking the plunge is going to be costly for most people who have had a fairly decent career in Switzerland.

You have to be very low risk with minimal to no liability to meet these more relaxed terms and there is still no guarantee they won't ask you to file more returns if they see reasonable liabilities.

Although the OP has not fully disclosed his AGI, one assumes with no filing at all and a Swiss salary and pension pot over last twenty years we're looking at some liability here.

That said, as I mentioned, you really want sound legal/professional advice on your disclosure route from a proper analysis of your personal situation, as each individuals circumstances are different. The most recent OVDI however does have reduced penalties when you have US source income below a certain threshold for example, a small concession for the expats.
__________________
Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary, Blaise Pascal
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 27.08.2012, 23:48
JBZ86's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Zurich and various mountains
Posts: 3,899
Groaned at 522 Times in 331 Posts
Thanked 4,048 Times in 1,863 Posts
JBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post
Thanks for your kind advice Jordan.

I will try to summarize what I have learnt:

1. I have to report gross including my contributions and matching employer contributions, which will effectively increase taxes owed

2. What, if any, contributions can be deducted (I have mine but not my employers)? Where would they be deducted? (which form/line item). If I can deduct, I will only be able to do for the 8 years right?

In view of my CPA's inexperience with this, I am being proactive and really appreciate experts like yourselves taking your time to help out.
1. Well Gross being Line 9 of the Lohnausweis "Bruttolohn Total". Do not add Pillar 2 Line 10.1 on top, as that is your contribution that comes from Line 9. Add line 10.1 on top should you want to assume an equal match from the employer for the years of disclosure.

Yes it will increase taxes owed, but it will reduce the amount of the distribution that in all likelihood will be taxed at the highest rate. However, if you are hitting the highest rate of tax each year anyway, then, maybe it wont make much difference to tax the full distribution in year of receipt, except maybe a cash flow issue. But your accountant should be making an analysis of this.


2. They cant be deducted unfortunately. The reason they are treated as income is because the Pillar 2 pension plan is deemed a non-qualifying pension plan under US tax law and thus is taxed at contribution as opposed to an IRA for example, that is taxed at distribution. Very few foreign pension plans qualify.

Do read these FAQs and try to ascertain whether the OVDI is the best route for you, I have attached the link below in case you havent seen these:

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/...256774,00.html
__________________
Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary, Blaise Pascal
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 28.08.2012, 08:52
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Luzern
Posts: 101
Groaned at 5 Times in 2 Posts
Thanked 21 Times in 7 Posts
mzigah has no particular reputation at present
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Can i add another question unto this topic?
Its our first year in Switzerland and since we lived in the USA 5 months of this year,can we still file for a tax return this coming year or do you have to live in the USA for a number of months in order to still file for a return? Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 28.08.2012, 09:02
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: la cote
Posts: 2,446
Groaned at 9 Times in 8 Posts
Thanked 1,731 Times in 1,007 Posts
runningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond repute
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post
Can i add another question unto this topic?
Its our first year in Switzerland and since we lived in the USA 5 months of this year,can we still file for a tax return this coming year or do you have to live in the USA for a number of months in order to still file for a return? Thanks!
As a US person you are required to file tax returns each year for the rest of your life, irregardless where you live (assuming you meet the minimum filing threshold). It is a requirement, and likely you will owe taxes in CH and US. You can thank the wonderful world of citizen-based taxation in which only the US applies.

Last edited by runningdeer; 28.08.2012 at 09:15.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank runningdeer for this useful post:
  #14  
Old 28.08.2012, 09:13
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: la cote
Posts: 2,446
Groaned at 9 Times in 8 Posts
Thanked 1,731 Times in 1,007 Posts
runningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond repute
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post
The OVDI is often the safest route, even if costly still. .
Safer for who? and more profitable for who? The OVDI has been nearly a complete sham for all honest law-abiding citizens who honestly did not know they owed US taxes. Finally the IRS created something for 'minnows' and not just for the 'whales'. If he cashed out his retirement to pay bills, he definitely is a minnow and not a whale.

Quote:
View Post
Although the OP has not fully disclosed his AGI, one assumes with no filing at all and a Swiss salary and pension pot over last twenty years we're looking at some liability here.
Indeed he likely will have liabilities but was it willful tax evasion, in most cases no.

Quote:
View Post
That said, as I mentioned, you really want sound legal/professional advice on your disclosure route from a proper analysis of your personal situation, as each individuals circumstances are different.
For the OP, please educate yourself first on this subject matter before you go throwing money at "so-called" professionals. Please read extensively at the two sites mentioned above in my earlier post.

As has been demonstrated here and on other blogs most US based so-called professionals rarely have a clue on how to deal with average expats that happen to trigger every complicated IRS tax rule.

Then once you have understood the basics, search for a professional that aligns with your thoughts and ideas. There are some decent ones out there, but a lot of crooks as well. What is clear, the only ones liking these horrible laws and getting rich off OVDI, FATCA, etc.. are the tax accounting and legal services industry.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 28.08.2012, 09:52
JBZ86's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Zurich and various mountains
Posts: 3,899
Groaned at 522 Times in 331 Posts
Thanked 4,048 Times in 1,863 Posts
JBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post
Safer for who? and more profitable for who? The OVDI has been nearly a complete sham for all honest law-abiding citizens who honestly did not know they owed US taxes. Finally the IRS created something for 'minnows' and not just for the 'whales'. If he cashed out his retirement to pay bills, he definitely is a minnow and not a whale.



Indeed he likely will have liabilities but was it willful tax evasion, in most cases no.



For the OP, please educate yourself first on this subject matter before you go throwing money at "so-called" professionals. Please read extensively at the two sites mentioned above in my earlier post.

As has been demonstrated here and on other blogs most US based so-called professionals rarely have a clue on how to deal with average expats that happen to trigger every complicated IRS tax rule.

Then once you have understood the basics, search for a professional that aligns with your thoughts and ideas. There are some decent ones out there, but a lot of crooks as well. What is clear, the only ones liking these horrible laws and getting rich off OVDI, FATCA, etc.. are the tax accounting and legal services industry.
Safer for the taxpayer in most cases, penalties and further audit, potential criminal prosecution are far worse outside the program for many people unless:

a) you have merely not filed FBARs but have reported the income from the account
b) you really are a minnow, i.e. you owe littles to no taxes anyway. By little, we are talking only a couple of thousand $'s

The IRS are already extensively following up on those who submitted silent submissions of amended TRs or originals, disclosing large increases income and balances due.

The issue is, they have not been honest and law obiding though have they? Personally, I find it bizarre how any American can not know they have to file taxes wherever they are. But I do recognise there are some accidental Americans who do not realise this. I have had several clients who fall into this category, i..e. parents were working in the US and they happened to be born there and left before they were one but continue to renew their passport. Other than the fact is says in the passport, I think they can be expected to be somewhat ignorant of their obligations. There should be concessions for these people. But I dont sympathise with Joe Bloggs who took that great career opportunity and said, "oh they'll never know, I have no intention of going back, Switzerland wont tell". well, whoopsie.

This may sound like I am pro American tax law, I really am not, but the reality of the situation is exactly as I have said. Of course, as tax professionals we will fight tooth and nail where an argument can be made, and we will push home the poor me sob story to minimise all risk, but of course we also know when you are telling us a load of bull and you knew full well what you were supposed to be doing. You see, when you are dealing with someones personal finances, life choices and facts, and you deal enough with this stuff, it becomes transparent a lot of the time. Everyone has a story and an excuse, some are justified, but if you make the decision to become compliant, then its going to be no bed of roses either way for most.

Whether it is wilful or not depends on his circumstances. He will need to assess that. There is not in the slightest bit enough information to make the determination here. All I can say is it is a hard argument to make a lot of the time. Particularly with non filing of returns. FBARs and/or under reporting are easier to make non-wilful arguments.

I agree he should be wise before throwing his money around, as well as doing his research which is why I provided him the FAQs to determine his viability to the recent program, but he did indicate he is somewhat tied in somehow. I have to say though, whilst those website are interesting and bring about some supposed real life examples, I do have to question the first blog I saw when I clicked on it last night. It spoke about a guy who has always been compliant with returns, reported all income, just never filed FBARs, and he got stung bad in compliancy fees, as well as penalties double his compliancy fees. Well this is just ludicrous, the IRS freely admit no penalty application for failure to file FBARs if all income has been reported from accounts and no need to go through OVDI. If he was led astray by rogue accountants, well thats a different matter all together. Plus, he still has the chance to challenge it in all likelihood and claim it back. So I do think some of the stories there are waffle.

As I mentioned in a prior post, I do agree with the US based comment. It is a common problem.

I do not agree with the last sentence. It is not a question of liking the laws, it is a question of understanding them and assisting those who wish to become complaint in doing so in the best way possible. What I would do if it were me in the situation may vastly differentiate from what I inform people of the risk and options, but I can only make people aware.
Some people choose to become compliant because they have to, they see no other way. What they need is someone who can assist them to do that in the correct manner.

It can be expensive, bother the compliance and the liabilities, but that is because it involves a great deal of work. Its much cheaper if you just remain compliant each year. I do know why many people almost feel people like me are getting some sort of kickback or commission from the IRS for these matters. Plus, when it gets very real for people, and the IRS are demanding $1million, and we cut that down to $250,000, they appreciate the work we do.
__________________
Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary, Blaise Pascal

Last edited by JBZ86; 28.08.2012 at 10:04.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 28.08.2012, 10:26
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Luzern
Posts: 101
Groaned at 5 Times in 2 Posts
Thanked 21 Times in 7 Posts
mzigah has no particular reputation at present
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Runningdear: what is the minimum filing threashold?
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 28.08.2012, 10:42
JBZ86's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Zurich and various mountains
Posts: 3,899
Groaned at 522 Times in 331 Posts
Thanked 4,048 Times in 1,863 Posts
JBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond reputeJBZ86 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post
Can i add another question unto this topic?
Its our first year in Switzerland and since we lived in the USA 5 months of this year,can we still file for a tax return this coming year or do you have to live in the USA for a number of months in order to still file for a return? Thanks!
Your post is not clear.

Are you American? Are you saying, you lived in the USA for 5 months in 2012 and then relocated to Switzerland?
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 28.08.2012, 10:55
anowheels's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Not Zurich
Posts: 1,057
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 643 Times in 384 Posts
anowheels has an excellent reputationanowheels has an excellent reputationanowheels has an excellent reputationanowheels has an excellent reputation
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post
Your post is not clear.

Are you American? Are you saying, you lived in the USA for 5 months in 2012 and then relocated to Switzerland?
From her profile, I think she's American.

Here are the filing thresholds from 2011 - I'm sure 2012 will be similar. http://www.irs.gov/publications/p501/ar01.html. Note that this filing threshold is not just for income earned in the US - it includes income earned in Switzerland.

(so, yes, you'll probably need to file for 2012 and years going forward, assuming you are married filing jointly and made more than $19,000 in 2012)

Last edited by anowheels; 28.08.2012 at 11:13. Reason: added conclusion sentence
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 09.01.2013, 13:46
kiwiguy08's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Horgen
Posts: 1,161
Groaned at 26 Times in 19 Posts
Thanked 650 Times in 329 Posts
kiwiguy08 has earned the respect of manykiwiguy08 has earned the respect of manykiwiguy08 has earned the respect of many
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post

3. The Pillar 2 employer contributions are non-qualifying income for Foreign Earned Income Exclusion purposes i.e. the FEIE can not offset this income.
Really? Is this documented anywhere in a publication? Seems illogical to me. I filed last year incorrectly in that case. Shouldn't make a difference in the end I guess because I was still under my personal deduction...so I shouldn't get in trouble.

Is there a list of other foreign income that is considered non qualifying?
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 09.01.2013, 14:05
diamondscan's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Zürich
Posts: 277
Groaned at 3 Times in 1 Post
Thanked 78 Times in 45 Posts
diamondscan has become a little unpopular
Re: 2nd pillar U.S. taxation question

Quote:
View Post
Really? Is this documented anywhere in a publication? Seems illogical to me. I filed last year incorrectly in that case. Shouldn't make a difference in the end I guess because I was still under my personal deduction...so I shouldn't get in trouble.

Is there a list of other foreign income that is considered non qualifying?
Yeah, I kind of thought any kind of money we earn outside the US when we meet the abroad requirements qualified for FEIE. How the balls are we supposed to know what kind of earnings we are allowed to include?

Is it just me... or does it not make any sense that you should pay taxes for your employer's contributions? You don't get to see any of that 2nd pillar money until you retire, so why should you have to pay taxes on it until you receive it?

I thought we were only double taxed on 3rd pillar savings. (First time by the US and second time by Swiss when you take it out.) Under my understanding, there wasn't a problem with 2nd pillar income. Am I wrong??
Reply With Quote
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
3rd pillar - taxation at source - how to get refund? chiarina Finance/banking/taxation 18 21.11.2012 09:58
New form 8938: how to report 2nd pillar / 3a pillar accounts?? rog Finance/banking/taxation 8 30.06.2012 18:37
Pay into 2nd pillar whilst drawing on 3rd pillar jaudi Finance/banking/taxation 19 12.07.2011 08:05
2nd pillar question fudge Finance/banking/taxation 13 08.02.2011 23:18
2nd Pillar and Tax Salgou4 Finance/banking/taxation 2 25.07.2007 11:19


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 16:17.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0