Book review: International Tax Planning
by Barbara Hauser and Melissa Langa
published by Juris Publications Inc (as an e-book)
This book is designed to help practitioners who advise clients on cross border estate planning. Wherever there is more than one country’s law applicable to a person’s estate the matter becomes complex. Many clients do not even recognise that more than one set of laws could apply to their estate. It is primarily aimed at those whose cross border estate involves the USA.
The first part of this book is devoted to an extensive coverage of the law of the 50 states of the USA and the District of Columbia. There are 25 chapters in the first part of the book looking at Wills, Trusts, Marriage regimes, inheritance rights of children and other dependents, powers of attorney & health proxies, probate, family offices, international family governance, conflicts of law, US estate, gift and generation skipping transfer taxes, US reach of transfer taxes, expatriation, selected state transfer taxes, disclosure requirements, foreign grantor trusts, asset protection trusts, receipt of foreign gifts, foreign bank accounts, US requirements of global disclosure (FATCA), global efforts against tax havens, OECD common reporting standard, US sailing permits, Summary of US reporting requirements for foreign assets and transactions.
The second part of the book has been contributed by special experts on local law from the following countries:
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Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, France, Germany. Guernsey, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, UK and Venezuela.
Structure & Layout
The book is divided between the first part on the USA and the second part which has separate chapters on the range of countries included. There are also three appendices on International Tax Treaties, the Hague conventions, and USA Inland Revenue Service forms.
Some of the chapters are very short. For example, in chapter one, the authors advise that most estate planning law is made at state level not federal level so if the client dies intestate you have to know in which state in order to apply the correct intestacy law. However, there is a Uniform Probate Code which most states have applied. This constitutes less than one page.
Sadly, the format is not easy to search for what you want. There is an index at the front but no hyperlinks to click through to a different section. The search tool was not efficient. I entered ‘UK inheritance tax’ and was shown entries for inheritance tax which ran through the USA section and only highlighted when the words were used. An opportunity to make greater use of the fact the book is online seems to have been missed.
The book contains a variety of planning points, drafting examples and warnings all of which are of importance to the practitioner – however the layout for an online book does not make it easy to find these points without reading whole sections of the book.
The book contains a wide array of cross references and footnotes. It is helpful to have the appendices which means some important information is collated in one place for the practitioner.
Clarity & readability
It would have been beneficial to have had a larger font for reading on screen and more white space. The concepts, ideas and factual detail is readable and clear, it is the layout that lets the content down.
Relevance to practitioners
For those practitioners who have clients with a US connection this book will be invaluable in providing a useful set of tips and traps about the interaction of UK law and tax with US law & tax. It is also useful to have in one place a brief synopsis of the law from a variety of jurisdictions. The Appendices will also be helpful to the practitioner, saving looking for more than one treaty elsewhere.
(to obtain a copy of this book go to www.jurispub.com/Bookstore)
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