Social Security benefits form a bedrock of retirement income for tens of millions of Americans. And yet, many would agree that the program is mired with unnecessary complexity which makes claiming benefits confusing. My intent is to use this blog post to help demystify some of the confusing elements of the Social Security retirement benefit
As is a regular feature, Andrea, Head of Advanced Planning, featured in the American in Britain discussing how to give effectively as an American living in the UK. For the full article, please click here.
Recently, President Trump unilaterally decided that the US is going to institute tariffs on both steel and aluminium. Tariffs have been used in the past by previous administrations and, indeed, other countries around the world. Tariffs, or customs duties, are taxes on imported products, usually in an ad valorem form, levied as a percentage increase on the price of the imported product. Tariffs are one of the oldest and most pervasive forms of protection and barriers to trade.
Tax Overhaul or Economic Recklessness?
As the Trump Administration celebrates its legislative victory of “sweeping tax reform” (most notably the reduction of corporate tax rates), there is reason to be wary of the economics underpinning the new tax plan. The assumptions as set forth by the administration’s economic advisors, such as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, depend in part on corporate growth projections and the belief that the tax breaks at the top will trickle down to middle class wage earners.
It is not uncommon for individuals to hold a position in company stock within their 401k plans. These shares are often held alongside broader fund investments usually until an individual either leaves employment with the company or retires.
After much anticipation, last week Republicans released their roadmap for revamping the US tax code. Passage of large scale tax reform will almost certainly be met with resistance and this is only the first step in the process but it provides some important insight into the intended direction of the upcoming debate that will take place over the next few months.
We are now firmly post summer holidays and autumn is getting into full swing. With year end fast approaching, it can be a good time to begin thinking about year end planning strategies to help minimise tax.
Since the American Civil War onwards, and without interruption from 1913 up until the present day, Americans have been taxed on their worldwide income and gains regardless of where they live or where the income or gain arises. This is called Citizen Based Taxation (CBT) and the United States is one of only two countries that tax in this manner, the other being Eritrea. The original intention of this system was to catch out individuals who dodged the draft by moving away and did not contribute to the Treasury and thus the Union. In 2017 approximately 9 million Americans live overseas and they clamour for a “normal” Residency Based Taxation (RBT) that is familiar to the rest of the world. Such a transition in the US tax system would not be overly complex to implement but is there a political will and can the US actually afford to adopt RBT?
Historically UK pensions have been a good way to achieve UK tax relief and it is also an opportunity for US persons living in the UK to efficiently use their excess foreign tax credits on their US tax returns. However, with the introduction of the tapered allowance for new pension contributions from tax year 2016/17, high earners are now restricted in their ability to make sizeable contributions and have fewer opportunities to seek tax relief.
There are many different considerations that come into play regarding trusts, depending on the type of trust you own and the tax status of the individuals who settle the trust and retain an ongoing benefit from the trust. As such, it is often important to review some of the basic rules associated with what makes a trust a US trust as opposed to a non-US ‘foreign’ trust.