If you paid or accrued foreign taxes to a foreign government on foreign source income that is still subject to U.S. tax, you may be able to take either a credit or itemized deduction for those taxes. The IRS allows the foreign tax credit so that you are not doubly taxed on the same income.
Taken as a deduction, the foreign income taxes reduce your U.S. taxable income. Taken as a credit, foreign income taxes reduce your tax liability. Most of the time, it is more advantageous to take foreign income taxes as a tax credit.
To claim the foreign tax credit, you need to fill out IRS Form 1116 unless the amount of credit you are claiming is $300 or less ($600 if married filing a joint return).
The laws regarding the foreign tax credit are complex and the application of the foreign tax credit can vary depending on various factors. For example, if you have foreign sourced qualified dividends or capital gains or capital losses that will affect the amount of foreign tax credit you can take.
Also, the U.S. has different tax treaties with other countries that may limit your foreign tax. The tax treaty with each country specifically addresses the type of income for which the tax credit is available and the rate limitation. For example, the tax treaty with the United Kingdom does not allow a tax credit for foreign taxes paid with respect to interest income. Also, the tax treaty with India caps the foreign taxes paid to 15%.
But in all cases, if the foreign income is not recognized on your U.S. tax return, you cannot claim as a foreign tax credit the taxes paid to the foreign county on said income.
Given the complexity of this area, one would be best served by seeking tax counsel to make sure that you are getting the maximum tax benefits. Contact the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. with locations in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California.
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