Several years ago we created our own team of ‘dualhandlers’ with the necessary technical expertise to deal with both UK and US tax filings. Led by two partners, the team has flourished and has a strong presence in the Firm’s overall private client offering, representing our clients with both HMRC (as agents) and the IRS (as enrolled agents). We now deal with many clients with UK and US, or just US, tax exposure. While many of them are US citizens or Green Card holders living in the UK, we also deal with US individuals living in third countries, US based individuals with international assets and non-US individuals who have a US tax footprint because they have US situated property or receive US income.
Getting the tax filing correct in both countries is the first step. If we are dealing with a US individual who is resident in the UK, the priority is to ensure that the tax payable across the two jurisdictions is not higher than it needs to be. This requires our team to have an enhanced understanding of the remittance basis of taxation where the client is not domiciled in the UK, and full familiarity with the operation of the UK/US Double Tax Treaty. Another crucial point is to ensure that available tax credits are created at the right time, utilised in the right direction and not wasted. We can also deal with other US tax reporting, including Foreign Bank Account Reporting and the reporting of trust interests.
But the compliance work is really just the tip of the iceberg. Pre-planning is highly recommended since there are so many mismatches of tax treatment in areas such as investment products and vehicles, charitable donations and the timing of income and gain recognition (to name but a few) which can increase the global tax burden for such clients, unless care is taken. We can also advise on UK and US anti-avoidance provisions, the interaction between US Estate and Gift Tax and UK Inheritance Tax, the treatment of trust interests in both jurisdictions, the tax treatment of pensions and the classification of business entities to list just a few of the areas of expertise which we have.