New Treasury Regulations Impose Conflicting Requirements on Foreign Persons with U.S. Interests

Jed M. Silversmith and Jeffrey M. Rosenfeld

Few Americans consider the United States to be a money laundering haven, but it is. Earlier this year, the European Parliament wrote:

“The USA is seen as an emerging leading tax and secrecy haven for rich foreigners, when in parallel it has reprimanded other countries for helping rich Americans hide their money offshore. It is difficult to estimate how much revenue the United States loses from tax avoidance and evasion, but some have suggested that the annual cost of offshore tax abuses may be around US $100 billion per year.”1

To combat U.S. money laundering by foreign citizens, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the U.S. Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) implemented new and strengthened existing reporting requirements for foreign individuals who have financial interests in the United States. Although these regulations are applied broadly, there has been very little discussion about their implementation in the United States. Presumably, there has been even less discussion abroad.

This article focuses on two new, wide-ranging regulatory requirements: 1) the requirement that foreign-owned entities, treated as “disregarded entities” for U.S. federal income tax purposes, file an IRS Form 5472, Information Return of a 25 Percent Foreign-Owned U.S. Corporation or a Foreign Corporation Engaged in a U.S. Trade or Business; and 2) the requirement that all entities report beneficial ownership when opening a bank account. Failure to comply with these requirements may subject foreign nationals and U.S. individuals who do business with them to civil and criminal sanctions. Continue reading “New Treasury Regulations Impose Conflicting Requirements on Foreign Persons with U.S. Interests”