Save Taxes on Exporting

Let’s say you buy or manufacture stuff made in the old US of A and you sell it overseas to folks who will pay an arm and a leg for U.S. made stuff. If you took your plain old business and sold the stuff overseas, you’d pay taxes at your tax rate. If you’re an LLC, it would not only be taxable business income but also self-employment income taxable at a combine rate of 35% up to 50%. Well Uncle Sam wants to even out trade, and there is an entity known as an Interest Charge DISC. It sits between your business and your customer and gets a commission on sales equal to get this THE GREATER OF 4% of gross export sales or 50% of the net taxable export income. This is taxed at the qualified dividend rate of 20%. So, you save 4% to 15% on your taxes. What is even better is you can defer recognizing the income by merely paying interest on the taxes you would have paid at Treasury rates (currently about 1.5%). There are some limitations on these benefits, but for a small exporter, it might be worth the expense. But hold on before you go charging off to set one up there are expenses. Lawyers will have to draw up the documents needed to put the regime in place, that’s about $3,000-10,000 depending on business structures used and lawyers used. You’re going to need to hire accountants, because this is not something you want to try on your tax software. That will cost you as well. So assume that if you have export sales in the $200,000 and up range you will justify the costs of setting it up and the costs of compliance.

For a smaller business, this is a cheap way to save taxes on your export sales. Otherwise, you get into overseas corporations and non-domesticated income which doesn’t put money actually in your pocket and as a small or medium sized business, you want to put money actually into your pocket.

The Passing of the Dean of the Alexandria Tax Bar

My partner, John Braswell, passed away last week. He had been practicing tax, real estate and estate planning law in Alexandria for 30 years. His conservative tax strategies coupled with his creative abilities served his clients well. He was a great friend to me and a great sounding board when there was a particularly tough tax issue facing me. My prayers go out to his wife and daughter.

IRS Leaks Social Security Numbers

You may be at risk if you donated to a 527 Organization. For example a PAC which can make independent expenditures in Federal Elections. The most famous one was the Swift Boat Veterans. Another may be some Tea Party Groups. If you donated to a political organization (other than a candidates campaign or a National political party) you should check with the IRS to see if your social security number was leaked.

IRS puts Social Security Numbers On-Line

This is a potential budget buster. Those are deemed disclosures. According to the Code, there is a $1,000 fine that the Government has to pay to the Taxpayer for illegal disclosures. Tens of Thousands of Social Security Numbers disclosed at $1,000 per number equals about $100,000,000 per ten thousand. And if its proved that the disclosure was intentional the fine is $5,000. And if a taxpayer suffers an identity theft, the Government is liable for those damages. Now that would be a class action worth filing.


Wow, “in olden days a glimpse of stocking turned into something shocking now heaven knows, anything goes”.    I’m not sure even Cole Porter envisioned this.

The Supreme Court struck down DOMA.  This is one of those decisions that in terms of tax law is earth shattering.   Marriage pervades the Tax Code.  There are joint tax returns, there are marital deductions, there are Retirement Equity Act provisions.  In other words, lots of issues.  So where do we go from here.

(1)  Gay persons who are legally married under relevant state law have up to three years to amend prior Federal tax returns to go to joint return status or married filing separately.

(2)  The Government will presumably have the right to audit all legally married gay people who filed under “single” status and re-calculate their returns as married filing separately (don’t see them doing this because that would trigger a joint return and refund).  In this circumstance, they could go back three years.

(3)   This will complicate the budget negotiations in Congress, so look for increased rates.

(4)  For decedent’s dying in the last four years estate tax returns should be filed or amended if the decedent was legally married under state law.