As a global economy, it’s common for individuals and businesses to have income or investments from foreign sources. While it can be an exciting opportunity to diversify one’s portfolio or earn extra income, it can also lead to confusion around taxes. To avoid double taxation, most countries have a foreign tax credit (FTC) system in place.
What is the Foreign Tax Credit?
The Foreign Tax Credit (FTC) is a tax credit that can be claimed by taxpayers who have paid income tax to a foreign government. The credit is designed to offset the double taxation that can occur when a taxpayer’s income is taxed both in their home country and in the foreign country where the income was earned. In essence, the FTC ensures that taxpayers aren’t taxed twice on the same income.
How does the Foreign Tax Credit Work?
When a taxpayer earns income from a foreign source, they are required to report that income on their tax return. If they have paid income tax to the foreign government on that income, they can claim a credit for the amount of tax paid on their home country’s tax return. The amount of the credit is limited to the lesser of the amount of foreign tax paid or the amount of tax that would be due on the same income in the taxpayer’s home country.
What are the Limitations of the Foreign Tax Credit?
While the foreign tax credit is a valuable tool for avoiding double taxation, there are some limitations to keep in mind:
- The credit is limited to the amount of foreign tax paid. If the taxpayer’s foreign tax liability is less than their home country tax liability, they can only claim a credit for the amount of foreign tax paid.
- The credit cannot exceed the taxpayer’s home country tax liability on the same income. If the taxpayer’s foreign tax liability is greater than their home country tax liability, they can only claim a credit for the amount of home country tax due on that income.
- The foreign tax credit can only be claimed for income that is subject to both foreign tax and home country tax. If the income is exempt from tax in the home country or subject to a lower tax rate than the foreign country, the credit cannot be claimed.
- The credit is not available for taxes that are not considered income taxes, such as property taxes or value-added taxes.
In addition to these limitations, it’s important to keep in mind that the rules governing the foreign tax credit can be complex and may vary depending on the taxpayer’s home country and the foreign country where the income was earned. It’s always a good idea to consult with a tax professional to ensure that the foreign tax credit is being claimed correctly.
MKS&H can Help You Navigate International Taxes
The Foreign Tax Credit is an important tool for avoiding double taxation on foreign income. By claiming the credit, taxpayers can offset the tax they paid in a foreign country against their home country tax liability. While there are limitations to the credit, it can be a valuable way to reduce the overall tax burden on foreign income. An accountant at MKS&H can help you navigate the tax process for your international business. Contact us today to learn more!
About MKS&H: McLean, Koehler, Sparks & Hammond (MKS&H) is a professional service firm with offices in Hunt Valley and Frederick. MKS&H helps owners and organizational leaders become more successful by putting complex financial data into truly meaningful context. But deeper than dollars and data, our focus is on developing an understanding of you, your culture and your business goals. This approach enables our clients to achieve their greatest potential.
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