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US Citizens Living Abroad are Required to File a US Estate Tax Form

US Citizens Living Abroad are Required to File a US Estate Tax Form

American citizens are subject to U.S. estate taxation with respect to their worldwide assets. An estate tax return, Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping) Tax Return, Estate of a citizen or resident of the United States, is required for a deceased American citizen, if the fair market value at death of the decedent's worldwide assets exceeds the "unified credit exemption" amount in effect on the date of death. However, if the U.S. citizen made substantial lifetime gifts, and used the applicable “unified credit exemption” amount to eliminate or reduce any gift tax on the lifetime gifts, a U.S. estate tax return may still be required even if the value of the decedent’s worldwide assets is less than the “unified credit exemption” amount at the date of death (due to the decrease in the “unified credit exemption” for the lifetime gifts). To determine the “unified credit exemption” amount for American citizens for any particular year, refer to the Instructions to Form 706 or to Publication 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators.

The Internal Revenue Service may collect any unpaid estate tax from any person receiving a distribution of the decedent’s property under transferee liability provisions of the tax code.

U.S. citizens and long-term residents who relinquished their U.S. citizenship or ceased to be U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders) on or after June 17, 2008, and who meet specific average tax or net worth thresholds on the day prior to their expatriation are considered “covered expatriates” – subject to IRC section 877A. See Expatriation Tax for more information on covered expatriates.


U.S. citizens and residents who receive gifts or bequests from covered expatriates under IRC 877A may be subject to tax under new IRC section 2801, which imposes a transfer tax on U.S. persons who receive gifts or bequests on or after June 17, 2008, from such former U.S. citizens or former U.S. lawful permanent residents.

In addition, covered expatriates under IRC 877A are not considered U.S. expatriates for purposes of Form 706NA, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping) Tax Return, Estate of a nonresident not a citizen of the United States.

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Robert S. Blumenfeld  - 
 Estate Tax Counsel

Mr. Blumenfeld concentrates his practice in the areas of International Tax and Estate Planning, Probate Law, and Representation of Resident and Non-Resident Aliens before the IRS.

Prior to joining Marini & Associates, P.A., he spent 32 years as the Senior Attorney with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Office of Deputy Commissioner, International.

While with the IRS, he examined approximately 2,000 Estate Tax Returns and litigated various international and tax issues associated with these returns.As a result of his experience, he has extensive knowledge of the issues associated with and the preparation of U.S. Estate Tax Returns for Resident and Non-Resident Aliens, Gift Tax Returns, Form 706QDT and Qualified Domestic Trusts.

Read more at: Tax Times blog

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