Multinational families are increasingly turning to high-end estate and tax planners to reduce tax bills when they shift money to children living in the U.S., whether or not their kids are U.S. citizens.
Globalization has been an incredible force in the economy for years. Many individuals and families are, first and foremost, citizens of the world before they are citizens of any given country. As a recent Bloomberg article points out, this is a growing concern in any given tax authority. For many families hoping to pass on wealth, the solution is a careful system of offshore and U.S. based trusts or entities. As far as wealth transfer and taxation laws are concerned, there are two junctures. The first is the point at which wealth leaves one individual. The second is the point at which the wealth is accepted by another individual. Interestingly, at each of these points, taxation is triggered under the same set of laws.
In the U.S., this means the transferor gets a gift tax or an inheritance tax on whatever falls under U.S. jurisdiction, and the transferee may get hit with anything from income to capital gains to real estate taxes, and even their own estate taxes down the line once they bequeath the assets.
Being a citizen of the world often means that a failure to plan will subject you and yours to any number of taxes, perhaps in multiple jurisdictions. However, careful planning can yield some serious advantages.
Ultimately, as is usually the case, it really boils down to your unique situation and the various borders you, your family, and your assets cross. If you are not careful, those borders (and their taxing authorities) can come back to bite you.
Be sure to read the original article for additional information and ideas.
Reference: Bloomberg (March 5, 2012) “Tax Pushes Global Rich to Offshore Trusts for U.S. Children”