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Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Experts' Take on the France/US FATCA IGA

Back in November I wrote up a short summary of the France/US FATCA IGA.  This was a layperson's take on it - I am not a lawyer or an international tax expert.  Just someone who has been swimming in the FATCA-infested waters for a few years now.

Luckily for you (and for me) there are people with that kind of knowledge and talent out there sharing their expertise and trying to help people make sense of it all.  Professor Allison Christians of McGill University is one ( Tax, Society and Culture).  Phil Hodgen is another (Phil Hodgen's Blog) .

To that distinguished list I would like to add John Fredenberger and Tim Ramier - two American attorneys who practice here in France.  John, apparently, has been practicing law here in the Hexagon for over 40 years.  Impressed?  Me, too.

Earlier this month these two held a seminar here in Paris on FATCA and Inheritance in France.  From what I hear this is an annual AARO event.  I went and I can tell you that it was well worth the time.  It was not just the talks but the Q & A that made it so valuable.  If you live in the Paris area, I'd strong encourage you to attend next year.

AARO has very kindly put the videos of the seminar up on their website.  The first is John talking about FATCA and the French IGA -  F.A.T.C.A.:  French-American Treaty Calms Americans or French-American Treaty Causes Alarm?  The second is Tim talking about Surviving Death in France as a US Citizen and how it works when you have two countries  keenly interested in your estate.

Here is the link:  FATCA Update and French Inheritance Law

John Fredenberger and Tim Ramier are members of the board of AARO (the Association of Americans Resident Overseas).  Full disclosure here - so am I.  I joined very recently and it has been a learning experience - not just the scope of issues facing American abroad today but also the collective knowledge this organization possesses going back 40 years.  If you have a question about Americans abroad and the issues we've faced in the past and the present, chances are excellent that someone in AARO has the answer.


Sauve said...

We were up in your neck of the woods yesterday. We signed the final papers for our new home and received the keys. I would apologize for not dropping in but we were on a tight schedule. My husband had made reservations at a fabulous restaurant near Vierville-sur-mer. All this to say it doesn't matter what you write about as long as you want to convey some information. If I want to read anything with a specific focus then I will begin at TED or Wiki. I read your blog because I find you to be an interesting person. You don't bore me with lectures and sermons. I thank you for all those dimensions you are willing to share.

I hope you have a warm and loving holiday season. May your coming year be all that you could ever wish for.

Tim said...

Thanks Victoria,

I might take one issue with the first video. FATCA withholding applies to what is known as Fixed Determinable, Annual, or Periodic income based from US sources. US source income additionally is typically defined as actually originating from US incorporated company. My sense is the definitions are sometimes clouded by non Americans who tend to believe FATCA withholding applies to a much broader set of income sources that it actually does.

I will also add that FATCA withholding is still a tax on income not an excise tax on payment the later which many people seem to think it is.

Anonymous said...

@Tim: I will also add that FATCA withholding is still a tax on income not an excise tax on payment ...

I think the confusion stems from the fact that FATCA withholding is applied to interest and dividend income and also to gross sale proceeds. The last of these means that if you buy a money market fund for $10k on Monday and sell it on Tuesday for the same amount you get $7k back and the IRS keeps $3k. So FATCA withholding may not be an excise tax under the strict definition, but in a lot of cases it will behave just like one.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@Sauve, Good to hear that your house purchase is progressing. Next time, feel free to stop by the Flophouse if you have time.

Anonymous said...

Have a Blessed Christmas Victoria.

Reading all your updates including AARO's there is something about inheritance on the AARO site that doesn't jive with what is being said by (very) reliable French sources. If one inherits from the US but has resided in France for at least 6 years then it's French law that is applied. And that means an obscene 60% which can apply even to inheritance from relatives who are not direct line (but related nonetheless). This means that if one of your parents had some common property with a brother or sister, a big chunk of whatever you inherit from that person gets eaten up by a country that has nothing to do with it. Somebody high up in the US government whom I suspect had been drinking signed the damned thing without reading down to the end.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@anonymous, a darn good question. Let me see if I can get an answer to that. I have one myself and that i how the new EU rules about cross-border inheritance are going to change things. I understand that these new rules would allow one to choose the country under which one wishes the succession to be applied. How would that impact forced heirship or, as Tim called it Blood Poker.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas.. I see you're not resting much today ! About the new inheritance choice, if that is the case, I think it would apply only to EU inheritance and not EU - USA. In other words, each country could still do what it pleases and decide that US inheritances are taxed according to the EU country's particular law, especially when more favorable that the low inheritance taxes in many US states (like New York). Sorry to sound like Scrooge here.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Merry Christmas to you as well, anonymous. Cooking and reading and writing - the best way to spend the holidays. :-)

Let me look further into the new EU rules. I suspect that you are right, though. It would be too simple...:-)