The tax drag and unsatisfactory options to deal with accumulated income often result in moving an offshore trust to the United States and giving up the tax deferral. However, there is an alternative method, suitable for very long-term trusts, that takes an almost diametrically opposite approach. Rather than restricting the US beneficiaries to the value of the original trust capital and virtually giving up on future tax deferral, this method sacrifices the original trust capital to a final payment of taxes and interest (or a gift to charity) and tries to maximise the duration of the deferral.
US beneficiaries of foreign trusts are subject to a throwback tax regime and an interest charge when they receive distributions of accumulated income from the trust. To avoid these punitive payments, families often choose to convert or decant the trust to a US domestic trust. However, the easy answer may not be the best answer, as a trust that tries to rebound from an ill-considered move to the United States may face a tax on the way out – a toll charge that precludes returning offshore.
Over the past decade, matriarchs and patriarchs of successful families have increasingly been concluding that their children are sufficiently provided for and have thus shifted the focus of their family's largess to a broader group of individuals by creating so-called 'family banks'. Such banks provide capital to that broader group of individuals for business ventures, public-spirited projects and knowledge in a way that fosters personal commitment, accountability and multi-generational mentoring.
It is important for trustees of foreign trusts not to miss US tax filing deadlines or, if unable to file by the due date, to submit a request for an extension to file. Careful attention should be paid to where and how to submit the request, as procedures are not necessarily the same for all returns. This article sets out the various requirements that must be met by trustees of foreign trusts.
Trusts classified as foreign for US tax purposes, whether established under the law of a US state or of an offshore jurisdiction, must review whether they have any US tax or information reporting filings to make in 2019 with regard to income earned and distributions made in 2018. This article provides trust officers and family advisers with a summary checklist.