How Foreigners Can Become S Corp Shareholders
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act brings some excellent news to nonresident aliens who want to (indirectly) own S corp shares.
Apart from the above, a nonresident alien is not a U.S. taxpayer although a resident alien can become a nonresident alien if her status changes.
Up until January 1st, 2018, a nonresident alien was not allowed to be a (potential) current beneficiary of an electing small business trust (ESBT).
|Electing Small Business Trust [ESBT]|
This has changed, and now a nonresident alien can invest (indirectly) in an S corporation without terminating its ESBT and S corporation status.
The ESBT is treated as an S corporation shareholder for purposes of the consent requirement. Each potential current beneficiary is treated as a shareholder in terms of the 100-shareholder maximum prescribed in Section 136(b)(1)(A).
|Potential Current Beneficiary|
ESBT taxation is differentiated by three trust types or portions
|S Portion||NON-S Portion||Grantor Portion|
|Holds the S corporation stocks||Holds all trust assets except S corporation stock||When a trust is NOT treated as a grantor trust, it is treated as a combination S portion and non-S portion trust|
|Treated as a separate trust – tax attributes of which may not be comingled with the non-S portion trust and takes account of:||Taxed on all the non-S portion income taking into account:||Trust income is taxed to the deemed owner of the trust, the grantor, on his/her own individual income tax return|
|In the view of the treasury, this causes tax leakage in the event of a nonresident alien who is a grantor of a portion of an ESBT because some of the income that flows through to the nonresident alien would escape US taxation. Proposed regulations are underway to stem this.|
By relaxing the rules set out above, a planning opportunity is created for nonresident aliens who want to invest in S corporations and for S corporations seeking non-US capital without terminating the S corporation election.
The flowthrough income tax treatment of S corporation, along with the relaxation of the rules causes a proliferation of S corporations as the most popular US entity.
S corporations are here to stay, and ongoing pressure to change S corporation requirements and permissible shareholders and classes of stock will bring about even more flexibility.
Readers should note that this article is only intended to convey general information on these issues and that FAS CPA & Consultants (FAS) in no way intends for the contents of this article to be construed as accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article cannot serve as a substitute for such professional services or advice. Any decision or action that may affect the reader’s business should not rely solely on the contents of this article, but should rather be consulted on with a qualified professional adviser. FAS shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this presentation. This article is subject to change at any time and for any reason.
We look forward to helping you get the most benefit from these tax law changes. Please contact us for more information, in FAS CPA & Consultants are ready to assist you with all of your offshore tax matters. You can call us or email at firstname.lastname@example.org and request a free consultation that will answer your most pressing tax questions.
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