On August 24th, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) issued a guidance that requires private banks, credit unions and trust companies to identify the beneficial owners of legal entities and the people who control these entities. The step is taken to track down people who are hiding company ownership to avoid taxes and other government rules.
As the readers may recall, the rules announced in May 2016 covered federally regulated banks.
It is believed that the FinCen will also soon announce that certain other banks and financial institutions will also be covered under these rules. Banks authorized by law in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to provide banking and other services to nonresident aliens can also be included.
The IRS said this list isn’t exclusive and could be expanded at some point.
In one feature likely to attract attention, FinCEN didn’t propose changing the ownership percentage that triggers reporting from the 25% required in the final rule in May.
Some called for the agency to lower it, asserting that 25% was too high and wouldn’t catch numerous taxpayers trying to hide from the IRS. Others said it was too low and would create big hassles for banks.
FinCEN said it considered increasing the ownership percentage to 50%, but finally concluded that 25% is “appropriate to maximize the benefits of the requirement while minimizing the burden.”
The beneficial ownership rules would require banks to enhance customer identification programs and anti-money laundering initiatives.
IRS recently announced that the Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) will need to be renewed every 3 years. The new release states that the ITIN is temporary and cannot be permanently used. In order to renew the ITIN, non-residents will need to file a new application on Form W-7 after 3 years, otherwise their tax returns will be rejected.
The IRS announced changes which require certain taxpayers to renew their ITINs. The renewal of ITINs requirement does not apply to ITIN holders who do not need to file their tax returns in 2017.
The following taxpayers require renewal of ITINs:
- Taxpayers with ITINs not used on federal tax returns for at least once in last 3 years i.e. 2013, 2014 and 2015. Such unused ITINs will require renewal and will not be valid for filing tax returns in 2017.
- Taxpayers who were issued ITINs prior to 2013. Their ITINs will begin expiring this year and the taxpayer must renew them to prevent rejection of their tax returns.
IRS further states that Taxpayers will need to renew their ITINs on a rolling basis which means that the first ITINs that will expire are the ones with middle digits of 78 or 79 and the ones that are not used for one of the 3 prior years. These ITINs will need to be renewed with the period beginning October 1, 2016.
The taxpayer who has an expired ITIN and who does not renew it before filing the tax returns in 2017, may have a delay in refund and may be ineligible for certain tax credit like American Opportunity tax credit and child tax credit till the time new ITIN is not received.
Taxpayers should check their ITINs as soon as possible. Taxpayers with an ITIN with middle digits of 78 or 79 can apply for ITINs for the entire family at the same time. Family members include taxpayer, spouse and dependents claimed on their tax returns.
Other important changes for dependents of taxpayers:
Following are the new requirements for dependents whose passport do not have the date of entry in the U.S.:
- The IRS will not accept passport as stand-alone identity document if the passport does not have the date of entry in the US for dependents from countries other than Canada and Mexico or dependents of military members overseas.
- All such applicants who do not have a date of entry in the US on their passports will now be required to submit medical records for dependents under the age of 6 or U.S. school records for dependent under the age of 18 along with the passport.
All dependents aged 18 years or above can submit the rental or bank statement or utility bill having full name of the applicant and US address along with the passport.
CPA Global Tax & Accounting is an IRS approved Certifying Acceptance Agent. Generally, taxpayers are required to send their original passports and/ or other original documents, however, we can certify these documents, ensure that the Form W-7 is correctly prepared and submit them to IRS.